Day 4 – Oh, Vienna

Maria Ellend to Vienna, 32Km

Hotel Royal

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

The Maria Ellend Maypole
The nature reserve along the Danube – note the evil wild boar warning
Jakobsweg not hanging around either
Cruiser on the Blue Danube
The main gates to the Central Cemetery
The band in the top photo was playing ABBA’s greatest hits, not Mozart

12 comments on “Day 4 – Oh, Vienna

  1. Brilliant story telling Tim and I loved the reference to Uktravox

    • I hope you’re not feeling too bad with the Covid – perhaps you should listen to Ultravox

  2. If you have time Tim a visit to the The Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaners is a must see.

    • Hi Dave, thanks for the suggestion. It’s sold out but I’ve been before

  3. Roger Clarkson

    Still wearing masks uh! Down to about ten percent of people here in London now. Looks to be very flat walking so far, I bet you cannot wait to get up in the mountains?

    • Hi Roger, I’d forgotten all about masks but I packed one. The terrain changes tomorrow. Up to now I’ve been walking along the Danube but it’s hills and mountains from now on

  4. Thoroughly enjoying your latest adventure Tim – the Third Man is my favourite film of all time and I’m glad that someone else I know obviously appreciates it, especially that closing scene.
    The power of ABBA to replace Mozart – what’s the world come to?

    • Yes and when you consider the film was mostly made in Vienna at that most difficult of times, it’s even more the masterpiece. I can’t wait to see it again

  5. Peter Mastenko

    Yes I think I’ll also watch ‘ The Third Man ‘ again soon, such an atmospheric film. I was on a family holiday in Puglia southern Italy last month, and even 5 ply masks didn’t save us from getting Omicron.

    • Hi Peter, good to hear from you again and sorry to hear that. It must have been a big disruption catching covid while away on holiday. I hope you have fully recovered

      • Peter Mastenko

        Thanks, Tim. Luckily I Didn’t start any symptoms until during the flight home. My mother had had a booster just before the holiday, so was soon better, and just catarrh afterwards. Julie didn’t test positive but had similar mild symptoms. I had mild symptoms but tested positive for 9 days. Felt tired for a few weeks, but hoping to be fit for a long cycling trip in Italy in the Alps and lakes region later in June.

      • Hi Peter, it’s not to be underestimated. Took me 3 weeks to fully recover. Glad you’re all recovered

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