A very late start, early afternoon I took off to Lainzer Tiergarten for my third visit in as many years. The last time I hiked my way through it was raining, cold, and seriously windy atop Hubertuswarte, some 300 meters above Vienna and the highest point in the forest. Today was quite the opposite, sunny to the point of distracting, pleasantly warm, and full of the type of people for whom mucking about in crappy weather holds no charm.
It’s a curious place, walled in and full of wild animals – I encountered two groups of foraging boars, mothers with a clutch of tiny spot-striped bairns – heavily cropped, indeed despite the mass of mature trees it’s equally a forest of chainsawed stumps and it’s rare to find a stretch without it being framed by some manner of arboreal butchery, and quite limited for proper hiking possibilities as all the attractive looking trails with plenty of vertical variation have signs saying, “Bitte niche betreten”. Whether this is to protect idiot people from being gored by the many horn-bearing beasts, or them from us is unclear, the result however is that almost all wandering is circumscribed to basically narrow dirt access trails.
Still, from Nikolaitor to Hubertuswarte is an enjoyable upward trek broken twice by stretches of downwardness, and both times then followed by more upwardness to regain what was just lost. Some people run it. They tended to be middle-aged or older and, like the 70-ish year old granny who nearly overtook me with her trekking poles, made me feel pathetic.
I made it as far as Hubertuswarte and sat on the top eating and reading Iain Banks. I could have stayed there all day, but it was as busy as a once-daily rural bus stop, so having aired and dried my feet, I retraced my steps. Originally I planned from there to continue a loop, coming back along the east side to arrive at Wiener Blick (a nice uphill stretch to there, having bled off all that altitude down to Hermesville), but having not worn my boots for a long while I could feel blisters would start appearing if there was much more walking up hills.
The way back, once I’d reached Nikolaitor was a most excellent, hilariously fast and smooth bike ride along the Wienfluß Radweg, getting spat out at Hietzing and deciding to go along whatever street took my fancy (Penzingerstr into Mariahilferstr) back to home. And the bike needs servicing again. By God does this one get dirty and whiney. Probably something to to with riding it in muddy rainstorms in the forest. And once again the infernal cantilever brake judder, which is so bad it feels like my forks are going to blow apart. I spent an hour or so reading on possible fixes for this, and besides swapping out the fork for a new one that can take discs, the only other option is a fork-mounted cable hanger. Cantilevers eh? This T-shirt is entirely accurate.