Maria Ellend to Vienna, 32Km
I had a jolly decent meal last night in Maria Ellend. There was a beer garden just around the corner and I went along in search of dinner. The owner recommended the fresh fish which he had just prepared for himself. He said the chef wasn’t due for another hour but soon I was eating his dinner, washed down by a litre of the local brew.
This morning I was ready for the opening of the Spar store at 7am. Everyone was shouting at me in German because I wasn’t wearing a face mask so I quickly put it on, bought a croissant and sat outside to eat it. The maypole stood by the store and I wondered how long it remains there. It’s a German and Austrian thing but I remember a small maypole in the grounds of my infant convent school and the girls dancing around it on May Day.
Today’s walk was a fast and lonely walk along the Danube, much of the way through a nature reserve and wild boar sanctuary so I didn’t stop for many photos. A police helicopter kept me company for awhile. I emerged in Schwechat in time for lunch and then abandoned the Jakobsweg in favour of the main boulevard into the city, possibly the same route taken by Hitler in 1938 following the referendum in which 99.7% of Austrians voted in favour of annexation to the Third Reich. How they cheered the Fuhrer!
In Vienna it’s the aftermath of the war which is fascinating and dreadful. The city was lawless and divided into four occupied zones (Russia, America, Britain and France). And so it remained until Austria kicked us all out in 1955. It’s now fine to peruse the multilingual menu in the cafe Mozart as if nothing had happened. But out of that era came one of the tiniest novels and most brilliant films ever, The Third Man. Who can ever forget that tinny theme tune and the stunning closing scene?
As you might imagine, there’s a Third Man walking tour every day in German and English so I’ll be joining that tomorrow and I’ll probably spend the rest of the day in the central cemetery where that closing scene was shot in 1948. It will be a chance to catch up with Beethoven and many others.
My hotel is within touching distance of St Stephen’s Cathedral and although it’s rather expensive the bill has been paid by hotels.com in recognition of the loyalty points I accrued last year in Scotland and, in particular, Orkney where that humble little hotel was even more expensive than central Vienna. This means nothing to me – Oh, Vienna