Wienerwald hiking – Rodaun to Kaltenleutgeben

My hubby and I decided that we needed some more training for our vacations where we will be hiking in the mountains. Therefore this weeks hiking trip was planned with some more changes in altitude.

We had set our alarm as we wanted to start early in the morning but we were woken to the sound of heavy raining. I was totally frustrated as the weather forecast had been talking about clouds and sun the days before. We decided to not give up easily and got ready with a relaxing and slow breakfast. After about an hour the rain had stopped completely and we picked up our gear and headed out.

We started of in Rodaun – one of 8 parts of the 23rd district of Vienna that is right next to the huge woodland Wienerwald. It’s really nice there as you can drop around any corner and start hiking. However it’s uphill all the time and hell, was I huffing and puffing! I guess I need to find mountains that are very very small for our vacation 😛

First stop was at the nature reserve of the European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) in the “Perchtoldsdorfer Heide”. The core part is secured heavily in order not to disturb this endangered species by hikers and their dogs. I was looking forward to seeing them because I had spent a lot of time studying a different population during my studies of biology and just love those little fur babies. But sadly they were late sticking their noses out of their lair. So we just enjoyed the great view and visited the sheep population that they let graze there.

Afterwards it was up, up, up again – but this time through the woods. After some time we reached the Franz Ferdinand Schutzhaus which was not open yet due to a recent fire. So any break was postponed until later. We tried to reach the “Teufelsklippenstollen” though that’s situated next to it and is supposed to be a small, probably man-made cave that nobody knows anything about any more. The path was too steep and too slippery though, so we decided that looking at it from above was as much as it would get. I am very afraid of heights and am not very trusting when it comes to steep pathways as when I was little I once almost fell of a cliff while hiking with my father.

After climbing back to the main track we followed the signposts to the Kammersteinerhütte and the “Josefswarte”. It has a nice area to sit outside so we decided to take a break and got ourselves a drink. I also decided that I wanted to climb up the stairs to the top platform and even though I am afraid of heights that was really easy to do. And it was so worth the effort! The view is so great up there that you could spend hours just watching. We als met a couple from Styria there on top that was trying to shoot a selfie with a great view. As it was really looking awfully uncomfortable, I decided to step in and offered them to take the picture for them. We then started to chat a little bit and had a great laugh trying to figure out what we actually see from up there.

Afterwards it was mostly downhills – just as my mother always used to say: if you climb up, you’ll need to climb down eventually. We stumbled over a nice little spring on our way before we started a very steep descent throught the “Eisgraben”. Before our trip I read about the historic meaning of the “Eisgrabenhöhle” – an about 5 x 2 m big cave – during World War II and seeing it in person gave me the shivers. If you want to read the experience report of a young girl from this time, you can do it here (German only).

At the end of the “Eisgraben” we reached the small town Kaltenleutgeben. We could have taken the bus from there home but even though our feet were already a little bit tired, we wanted to stick with it until the end. We followed the main road until we were able to take a path into the woods again. For the last time on this trip it was a short hike uphill to pass by the “Eichkogel” – the biggest hill of the 23rd district. From there we followed part of the City hiking path 6 in the wrong direction back towards Rodaun. At that moment we were unsure if we are looking forward to tackling that hiking path as in the right direction it will be uphill for quite some time :).

When we reached the bus station we just missed our bus by an inch. We were so frustrated! And due to the fact that we had started later than planned, we now where also not able to reach the restaurant we had planned on eating at before they closed down for the day. So we decided to just take the next bus home and order something online. An hour later we sat munching burgers happily and feeling great – except for our feet that were heavily complaining about the longest trip they have taken since quite some time.

Want to hike it too? The tour and GPX data can be found here at my komoot account: https://www.komoot.de/tour/240384130

City Hiking Path #9 – Prater

The city hiking path #9 starts close to one of the major hubs of Vienna – Praterstern (train station, subway U1 or U2). Don’t let yourself be led astray by the amusement park. This time it’s all about being off into the greens and not having fun on a rollercoaster ride.

You do not follow the main avenue for long and steer to the right on to less traveled paths with a lot less runners and cyclists. It’s still a lot like hiking through a park in the beginning though until you reach the “Lusthaus”. Designed and build as a hunting lodge, it is now used as a coffee shop and restaurant. However we rather grabbed something to drink at the Gösser Bierinsel next to it as this is were you get your stamp. And you already know: if you don’t have a stamp, there’s nothing to prove that you hiked here 🙂

After the Lusthaus you are getting farther into the “wilds” – less park style, more trees, small ponds and less trotted pathways. We even stumbled over a small church right in the middle of nowhere which – as it was Sunday – was visited well (sadly from a lot of people ignoring the current corona safety rules). I didn’t even know that Maria Grün existed or that it is actually a pilgrimage church founded in 1924. I find it surprising how much I can still learn from a city that I have been living in for 25 years.

This was not the only unexpected treasure on this trail – you can also find some amazing urban art on the walls of an underpass. I am quite a fan of urban graffiti as long as it’s not only writing (which I can never read) and this one you really have to see for yourself! So much detail, the concept is Viennese transport system related and it tells a great story painted on a huge area. I would not even be able to do it on a piece of paper …

Soon after this piece of art you are coming to the end of the hiking path. But before you rush off to your well deserved rest (and some nice food on the Prater Hauptallee), be careful when crossing the railway tracks. The Liliputbahn is a miniature train that provides a full-fletched railway experience for kids with a special station and 3,9 km of tracks with crossings and signals. There are 6 different miniature locomotives with two steam engines being my absolut favorites. Sadly those are only used on days with a lot of visitors and therefore are hard to see by chance. However here we were just in time to wait for the diesel engine D3 to pass by.

Last but not least I have to say that I was quite positively surprised by this 13 km hiking path. All the time I was amazed that we were actually hiking right in the middle of the city. It’s really a fast way to stick your nose into nature if you do not have time to travel far.

Want to hike it too? The tour and GPX data can be found here at my komoot account: https://www.komoot.de/tour/213108786

City Hiking Path #7 – Laaer Berg

Sundays are hiking days now if the weather is fine – which it was with sunny 31 degrees Celsius this weekend. A friend, my hubby and I have decided to hike all the Viennese city hiking paths to collect the hiking pin you can get for successfully following all those trails. We all love some bling-bling 😉 We have done the city hiking path #9 a couple of weeks ago (I will add a blog post on that later on) so this time we decided to hike trail #7 which runs close to were another friend of ours lives.

The path starts at a pretty ugly point of Vienna (my personal opinion) – the “Verteilerkreis Favoriten” which is a big distribution circuit in the 10th district. It’s best reached by subway U1 (station: Altes Landgut) or via bus 15a if you are heading there from were I live.

In the beginning the road snakes through less traveled side streets passing by the stadium of one of the two most famous Viennese football clubs, the FK Austria Wien. Don’t wear anything dark green when passing by as you might get accidentally mistaken to be fan of their enemy football club :P.

You finally enter the fun part of the trail when you reach the “Böhmische Prater” – a miniature version of the big Prater amusement park. It takes just a couple of minutes to walk through to give you a feeling how small it really is but it also has a Ferris wheel.

After that it’s hiking through a classic pannonian dry grasland which sometimes changes to small vinyards or fields of millet, vegetables and sunflowers. The area looks rather like being somewhere out in the countryside than in the biggest city of Austria. Halfway through, after about 2h hiking, we made a little break at the stamping point “Brückenwirt” to catch our breath, get a well deserved elder flower drink and the stamp to prove we have really been there.

Continuing onwards the look and feel changes dramatically as soon as you reach the small brook Liesing. I love the natural look of this part of the brook – it’s actually a nice place to relax with smaller kids as you can be assured that nothing seriously can happen in those shallow waters. We live close to the same brook in the 23rd district but there it is less de-regulated yet and therefore less nice to hop into to cool down a little bit.

When you start to hear the cars again, you know that you are coming to the end of the hiking path. Civilization sneaks in again more and more until you are back where you started.

Last but not least I have to say that even though it’s a nice hike, it’s not one I would probably do again. With 15 km it’s the longest of the city hiking paths and it’s probably also one of the hikes with the least change in altitude. Shade is scarce, so it should be planned for a day which is less sunny than it was last Sunday. Signs are well positioned and visible, so it can be easily followed without even the smallest chance of getting lost anywhere.

Want to hike it too? The tour and GPX data can be found here at my komoot account: https://www.komoot.de/tour/231685870

I am back

Well, it’s been quite some time since my last post. Life has been a little bit like a rollercoaster and the blog got a little bit too much to handle at that time. But now I am back and promise to fill you in with news now and again 🙂

It all started out when my husband and I decided to follow one of our oldest hobbies – standard and latin dancing – again in spring 2019. We had trained up to gold star level 20 years ago and lost the drive after due to not having a dancing class offered closer to where we lived at that time. Now we started again and we were having so much fun dancing at least 2 times a week and taking the exams for bronze and silver (which we never had the guts to do before) – until Corona forced us to stop. It took away a lot of our spare time though, so my other hobbies got a little bit time limited.

However that doesn’t mean that I was not busy crafting too. I just did not have much time posting. I did a lot of beading, crocheting and I even picked up brush and paints again for some miniature painting. I tried myself on micro macrame jewelry too and am quite happy about that first result.

Now with everything still quite restricted (no cinema yet, no going out with friends for a nice chat over some cocktails, …) and with a lot of home office and little to nothing daily activity, my hubby and I decided to pull out another of my long lost hobbies: Hiking. When I was a kid my father did a lot of hiking and we kids were forced to be part of it. I partly loved and hated it. I learned a lot from my father about plants and animals that way and how to navigate and survive in the “wild”. We even sneaked in those little visits to the local wine taverns now and again without my mother knowing – she would have disapproved heavily wasting money there but it was always our little secret. Maybe the reason why I picked up hiking again is also that my father passed away in December last year and I keep thinking a lot about him and the fun we had together. So be warned: starting from now you will also read quite a lot about hiking trips around Austria here 🙂