Am den schönen blauen Donau...
...is where we walked today. Well, along and over the whole set of river (new and old), canal and island.
The weather had returned to mild and after cloudy skies this New Year's Day morning, the sun came out around lunchtime and stayed for the afternoon, depicting something like a nice spring day in this part of the world.
So, at around 10am, we were out and this is how we walked. Yep, 18+ kilometres helped clean out the alcohol and gave us plenty of exploring opportunities.
We started off by venturing northwest along the Donau Kanal (Danube Canal) along an area were we hadn't been to before other than on a canal cruise back in 2006. Of course, along the canal is... sometimes street art, but mostly graffiti.
Ahh fond memories. Last time we saw this place it had a big screen and was showing a World Cup Football Match between Portugal and Nederlands in 2006. Then we sat with drinks and watched the game, today we walked on.
Yep, any available space becomes a canvas.
Some street art that we liked...
"Stay calm, be Buddha". Who would not like this guy?
And this viking(?) seemed highly appropriate given last night's New Year's Eve with all its drinking.
Interesting way of selling water taxi services. Note the sailing boat on the guy's head.
Hmm... There was a story behind this and we don't want to hear about it. "JKS" was clearly very upset. He should have referred to Buddah and stayed calm.
The path follows right on the edge of the canal, the whole way to the junction with the Danube River.
No, he is not a lumberjack...
We included this photo to show that not all Vienna bridges are beautiful. This monster was built in 1991 although it looked more like something from 1970s.
Looking north along the Danube canal.
Yes indeed, it was New Year's Eve last night. If all the explosions and bangs didn't convince you, all the leftovers in public spaces should.
Of course, the tiny bins were totally insufficient, if they were used at all and worked properly. Not this one.
Hmm... What can we make out of all this?
We read about Friedensreich Hundertwasser's Fernverkehr at the Hundertwasser Haus two day ago and there it was, along the Danube canal. Hundertwasser's design certainly gave the heating complex a more human look.
Then suddenly, as we walked along the Danube canal, we noticed along the adjacent road that we had left Vienna. Not sure what area we entered instead as we could see no sign to that effect, but there you go.
The sort of end of the line, where Danube canal meets the river. Yes, there are bridges that take you further west of course, but our plan was to walk to here and then east along the river.
The actual point with its sluice gate and lock was off limit to the public so we took this photo over the fence.
Next to the lock is something that we were pretty certain had to do with water...
Walking along the Danube River. It did not look blue on this cloudy morning but it did look clean. In the background is the "not so central" Vienna business district, across the river to the left.
Hans was doing his best Daniel from Karate Kid impersonation, but he will probably never get any further than this with martial art.
When you travel as far as these barges do, bring whatever you may need with you.
We crossed the Danube River on the Floridsdorfer Brücke and then started looking for a cafe or bakery for a midmorning, well it was almost noon, break. It took us a while to find something that was open this New Year's Day, but then we found this konditorei cafe Aida which got our business.
The pack that Hans is holding contained 2 small sandwiches that we bought for later lunch.
So we stepped inside and ordered coffee with pastries, all very nice and relaxing. The coffee was pretty good too.
We found out that Aida is a Viennese chain with some 30 outlets in and around Vienna and a couple more elsewhere. Now that you mention it, yes we have seen Aida around and we understand now why business is going well for them. Yummy.
Refueled, we turned around our wander to backtrack southeast and passed Floridsdorfer Wasserpark along the way. Yes, plenty of waterways and we particularly liked this bridge.
There were some areas closed for the season that you could just imagine buzzing with life during summer time. This was one of them, with paddleboats and a gasthaus.
In between two stretches of water was this very interesting looking Schluss.
We were soon again beside the river and found a bench in the sunshine to eat our small bread, share a mandarin and have some water. These little bread slices cost 1.20€ each and were great.
Hans voted the smoked salmon with egg and caviar a winner.
Walking further down river we found this water park, of course closed for the season, but the tube slide got our attention because it goes underground for a few metres then pops out here at the red triangle. Looked like fun.
Of course there were lots of signs about what was Verboten in the small splash landing area, but at the end was an aluminum overflow that we could see would be too tempting as a slippery slide into the river for kids in summer. Verboten - try telling excited kids that!
Not a good idea to swim now - the water was pretty icy despite Di's smile.
Into the start of an area we dubbed Party Central. From here on along the Danube River there are floating bars, beaches and attractions. The river commercial traffic is diverted to the other side of the island which splits the river here.
We could not figure out whether this bar was moored closer to shore in summer, whether some gangplank was provided or whether you waded/swim out to it. Either way would work for us.
For the next kilometer or so we passed pontoon after pontoon of restaurants, bars and bathing areas. The other end of Party Central had something, in this fenced area, we could not really understand - "the world's biggest swim trampoline"? Sounded fun.
An overview of the main section of Party Central on the river. Part of the "not so central" business district in the background.
This building was getting a bit of attention because it was architecturally interesting. Compared to so many "godless" straight line block buildings this was attractive.
We crossed the Danube River on this dedicated foot/bike bridge along Reichsbrücke. The river here is quite wide with the green strip being the island in the middle and the tall building same as above being on the far eastern side.
The Donabe Island has no housing and seems dedicated to public recreation and activities with lots of bike paths, open air stages, playgrounds and picnic tables.
Last time we were here in 2006 in summer we noticed nude old men too. Clearly no local resident could be offended, no one lives there but they do give you a bit of a surprise when they step out to the water as you are cycling by. None now we noticed. Thanks for that.
Vienna has so much walking and biking space for their residents and visitors - we just love it. A very liveable city.
From here we were able to walk an almost straight line home passing the edge of Prater Park and then along Praterstraße towards the old favourite, Schwedenplatz.
On the way we realised we had seen no open shops until we saw this general store which seemed to sell everything, including wine, which we needed (or wanted). Di popped in to buy a bottle of cheap red plonk, obviously for a few euros more than Aldi sells it but hey the shop was open.
Heading home around 3.30pm we were still a bit peckish and of course at Schwedenplatz they sell...wurst. Our favourite wurststand was not open this New Year's Day so we tried another and had a Burmwurst each. Not nearly as good but still OK.
By 4pm the sun is heading down so it was nice to step inside and be warm and rest for a while before another home cooked dinner. In Zurich, our next and last stop, we will have to eat at restaurants again but for now our own cooked food is beating Viennese restaurants every time (we think, we seem to only have wurst while outside).
Unfortunately, we opened the red wine and found it ND (not drinkable). What a shame. We can tolerate BD (barely drinkable) but this was a new low. Oh well.
Homemade Pasta Boscaiola by the Master Chef for dinner and mineral water to wash it down with.
All very good with enough leftover for one dinner tomorrow night, followed by a quiet night as we have been out the 2 previous nights. Over and out. Gute Nacht.