Tails From the Vienna Woods



Hiking and (Not) Schnitzeling. Genussmeile!



An alcoholic drink before midday, typically Sunday, at a heuriger, in the company of friends.

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Hiking and Schnitzeling. Perchtoldsdorfer Heide

Rarely is it our preference to remain entirely in Vienna on the weekends; this weekend, though, Tony was on call at the Emergency Response Center, meaning that we could travel no further than an hour from the U.N. Saturday’s weather looked the most promising of the two days, and so a close-in hike was the vote.

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Hiking and Schnitzeling. The Hapsburg’s Other Summer Residence

This weekend finds us staying local, but not for lack of trying to find us somewhere else.  (Weather, she is a cruel mistress.) We made the best of our First World Problem with a short and lovely outing on Saturday to the Hapsburg’s back up summer residence, Schloss Laxenburg.

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Hiking and Schnitzeling. The Weiner Hausberge.

The heat is on. Temperatures in the World’s Most Livable City have topped 30℃ for more than 10 days, and we willingly turned over the Inner Stadt to the capable hands of the tourists this weekend. Just a mere hour’s drive into the cooler climes of Niederösterreich is Schneeberg, the easternmost Alp at an elevation of 2.000 meters or more. 2.076 meters to be exact.

The temperature at noon atop our “local mountains” peaked at 18℃.Aaaaahhhhh.

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Genuss and Gemütlichkeit, Family Style

Jack was home for the months of May and June; and when we were not on one of our “official” adventures, whenever possible some combination of the four of us were up to something involving hiking or eating, and often both. Recently a Facebook friend even commented, “You all are having just too much fun.”

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Wandering the Waterfalls.

A couple of weeks ago this little jewel came across my radar, so of course we leashed the Foxhound and pointed the wagon into the Gutenstein Alps for a day outing.

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Like Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String…

…a day filled with faded Imperial palaces, a beautiful Christmas market, and a bonus drive through a gorge are just a few of my favorite things. So went our warm and sunshine-filled Sunday in the Rax region of Niederösterreich’s northern limestone alps.

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Not a "Boar"ing Time at All: Naturpark Sparbach


Tuesday’s activity du jour was an outing to Naturpark Sparbach, Austria’s first nature preserve, bequeathed to the empire in 1810 by the Liechtenstein Family.  The preserve contains Roman ruins, including a temple, and the remains of three 12th century castles. There are farm and wild animals, as well, including the star attraction, Wildschweine (boars).

Mayerling and Heiligenkreuz

On Saturday we were not in the mood for a long day trip; no, we were not feverish, we just have a summer holiday approaching that entails a fair amount of driving. Thankfully, there is always a castle or palace or stately villa nearby that is worthy of exploring, and in this case, it was the Jagdschloss Mayerling, the former hunting lodge of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne.  Except for that murder-suicide matter with his teenage mistress. And WWI, of course.
The Vienna Woods are gorgeous this time of year.
In less than an hour we arrived at the lodge, just ahead of four tour buses!  Sometime after the Crown Prince’s death, a chapel was added to the lodge, encompassing the bedroom where the incident occurred.
The Crown Prince led a troubled life. His parents were not particularly affectionate; and as a most eligible bachelor found himself caught up with ladies of ill repute, let’s just say. He even brought along one of his mistresses en route to Belgium to marry his wife, Duchess Sofie of Belgium, and convinced a different mistress to end her life with his. His story is rather tragic.


In the former bedroom now resides a statue of the Virgin Mary, with a “dagger of anguish” piercing her heart, along with a pictorial of the Emperor upon learning of the death of his son.

In the tea pavilion there is on exhibit several of the Crown Prince’s sketches, most of them ornithological in nature, as he was big into birds.  To think that if only the incident had not occurred, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand may have never found himself in Sarajevo on that fateful day in 1914…


Near to Mayerling is Heiligenkreuz, a small village home to the oldest continuously occupied monastery in the world.  Beautiful grounds to walk about for a little bit before lunch.







During lunch this delightful insect (?) amused us; and then, an easy drive home before the late afternoon rain showers arrived.

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