Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
Vienna – Vienna Woods
by Fritz Peterka
Fritz Peterka is a native son of Vienna, and in this information-packed pocket book (measuring about 16.5cm x 11.5cm) he describes 50 walks that can be taken in and around the Austrian capital.
He devotes most attention to the Vienna Woods (giving 30 walks altogether), a traditional stamping ground for hiking excursions, but covers also the rejuvenated Weinviertel area and areas north of the Danube, such as Wasserpark and the Donauinsel. Finally, he ends with a few walks in the city centre and in Greater Vienna, principally in the palace gardens at Schonbrunn and the Prater. Each walk includes a map and a photo or two, together with information about public transport, sights to see and restaurants and inns to visit along the way. There are estimates of how long each walk is likely to take, details of its steepness and ascent. Peterka also notes those walks where weather conditions might be crucial, for some trails are slippery or more strenuous when wet
An advantage of these walks is that they easily allow for variations and embellishments, and Peterka will himself sometimes suggest alternative routes. Since the hiking trails in Austria are so well sign-posted, you can hardly (or seldom, let’s say) get lost. One of my own modest suggestions would be to combine a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace (walk 47), where incidentally people can often be seen jogging through the gardens – a bit of a change of scenery from Salford Quays or Whitworth Park – with a tour around Hietzing, after stopping for refreshment at, say, the rather fine Cafe Dommayer. Sights to take in in Hietzing include Otto Wagner’s Hofpavillon, the church of Maria Geburt and the so-called ‘Lebkuchenhaus’ on Wattmanngasse. Wagner’s grave, along with Klimt’s, lies in the Hietzing cemetery.
This excellent book has something for everyone who is looking for hiking trips in and around Vienna. In particular, the walks now available in the Weinviertal area were a revelation to me. A book which I’ll certainly be making good use of this summer.
About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org