A map is not the reality, but...

Not Seeking Adventure, Circling the City

Only too many seek comfort and convenience, many seek excitement and experiences – and in light of all the great adventures of yonder and now, it seems like you are destined to seek and fail.

Where to find the money? How to handle other responsibilities? Why even bother when it won’t be the greatest story of recent memory?

The fact is, if you seek adventure, you are doing it wrong. You need to live adventure.

This is particularly true because it is easy nowadays to hunt after adventurous experiences in exotic locales, and end up skimming merely the surface of that tourist endeavor, doing just the same as everyone else there. At the same time, adventure can be lived in your backyard – and you will find what you are capable of, and get a new perspective on the place where you are.

My recent undertaking took inspiration from the various hiking trails, mainly the “Rundumadum” path (official website, only in German),  that circle all around Vienna. Divided into several sections, their 100-120 km are meant to be leisurely walked, taking in the (mainly green) areas surrounding the town.

My aim was to see how far I could get in one single go… and it was well worth it, on various levels.

The Athletic

Part of it was the mere physical side. I still couldn’t run a 100K ultramarathon (and I’m not entirely sure I would even want to), but I did come far, and fast enough for now. (The image below is the summary as recorded by a Suunto Quest / shown in Movescount.)

Suunto Quest (Movescount) Summary
Suunto Quest (Movescount) Summary

Interestingly, I felt like I could go on, and runs in between somehow managed to feel rather relaxing – but at the same time, the suggested recovery time has been 120 hours, and currently (the day after), I tend to walk around as if I were 90…

Suunto Quest reminder & recovery
Suunto Quest showing the reminder of the training planned for the day, and (by the arrows on the outer rim of the display), suggested recovery time (which was still more than 100 hours by the time the picture was taken).

It’s been showing me what I mentioned in my Suunto Quest review: seeing reminders of one’s training plans, but also the suggested recovery time recommended after the last training session, is a pretty nifty combination. (And Training Effect / EPOC peak can be rather misleading.)
[Side note: FootPOD recorded 67.11 km; GPS 69.87 km.)

 

 

Comparing this endeavor to the recommendations for an everyday active lifestyle (as recorded by and suggested, respectively, by a FitBit device) makes for some fun with the data, too – shows just how literally extra-ordinary it is…

FitBit Data
FitBit Data (Good for comparisons of everyday activity levels, notoriously off when it comes to actual distances.)
Track as recorded using "My Tracks" app
Track (blue line) as recorded using Google’s My Tracks app on my smartphone

As you can see, I did not make it all around Vienna – but quite a bit of the way. And I had a chance for trying out my orienteering skills, to boot, mixing and matching different of the hiking trails on the spot ;)

A map is not the reality, but...
A map is not the reality, but…

The Exploratory

An adventure is more than just a test of endurance, or we could just run ultras on treadmills (which would be a real test of mental stamina, boring as it would be). There’s also what you see and discover – which, as I think, can be all the more interesting when it takes place somewhere mundane. Somewhere you have been for so long, you don’t notice it anymore… Let me illustrate:

Kledering Train Yard
Kledering Train Yard

I started out at the train yard I had passed through about a thousand times, but always on a train, never walking outwards that way. Night still reined, and it was the perfectly foggy All Saint’s Day…

Central Cemetery, 2nd Gate
Zentralfriedhof, 2. Tor – Central Cemetery, 2nd Gate

Equally as fitting: the first “checkpoint” passed by was Vienna’s Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof), one of its main sights – though you don’t usually pass by it long before opening hours ;)

Danube Bridges 1
Danube Bridges 1
Hydropower Plant Freudenau
Hydropower Plant Freudenau

On the way north to the Danube, I passed through some areas I had sometimes been to, but couldn’t have told you are that close to the railway station. And then, one starts crossing the Danube…

Donauinsel
Donauinsel

… with part of the way being on the Donauinsel (“Danube Island”), a popular spot for sports and fun (though not so much in the fall cold and fog). Autumn leaves do make for some pretty scenery, though.

Donauauen
Donauauen

Same in the Donauauen, a national park that is a reminder of what the woodlands adjacent to the Danube, which are regularly flooded, used to be like.

The outskirts of Vienna towards the Northeast, on the other hand, are just a reminder of the role agriculture has traditionally played for a city – and make you wonder if such an area should even be part of a city…

Outskirts, indeed
Outskirts, indeed
Vienna City Limits
Vienna City Limits

Not to worry, though: the path indeed leads to parts which are officially outside of Vienna’s city limits ;)

Stammersdorf Cemetery
Stammersdorf Cemetery

Around 10:30, I got back into the area of the city proper, and past the next cemetery – and it was alive now. All Saint’s is a Catholic country’s version of the Chinese tomb-sweeping festival, and it showed. Always fun to just run past traffic jams, too…

Danube again
Danube again

A bit later, having passed through some other ‘remote’ corners of the ciy – in part, connected by tramway and, judging by the old (~1900) and nicely ornamented houses, having been so for a while, in part, with older (~1930, 1950) and newer apartment complexes and social housing – it was back towards the Danube. (First, over the highway northwest going alongside it.)

Danube Shipping
Danube Shipping

Whereas the area around the South (at the beginning) has some of Vienna’s freight harbors, pleasure cruises start from docks at the north of the city – such as here. Once again, something one knows as an inhabitant of the city, but tends to forget since “it’s just for the tourists”…

Leopoldsberg
Leopoldsberg

Things change quite a bit, back on the right side of the Danube – one gets to Vienna’s mountains, and into areas which are known for wine growing, the Heuriger where it’s served, and the rather expensive “villa districts” around these parts.

The hiking paths meander around these “mountains” (which aren’t too high, but still enough of a climb), and mainly leads through forests and parkland, though. The fog didn’t want to lift all day, but made for some atmospheric views…

 

Wienwanderweg (Vienna hiking path) markings
Wienwanderweg (Vienna hiking path) markings
In the Fog
In the Fog

I went outside of the trails for a bit, too… and the area is quite a contrast (or not): no agricultural surroundings as in fields, but vineyards and forest on the hills, and nice houses (and a few expensive cars) along the streets. It still has the atmosphere of a village, but is a lot more urban than some of the apartment complexes before…

Through Residential Areas
Through Residential Areas

And then, right into the next of Vienna’s hill-forests, which offered quite a steeply climbing path (but also more nice fall impressions).

Bird Protection Area
Bird Protection Area
Steinhof
Steinhof

Back past more urban-looking structures, the path went through the next recreational area, adjacent to the hospital for the design of which Otto Wagner (the leading Viennese – art nouveau – architect of his time) was responsible. Interesting place to pass by, especially now, given a faint memory of how it was originally not so much a hospital as a psychiatric clinic ;)

Hütteldorf Train Station
Hütteldorf Train Station

End of the line – U4 subway station, that is… and where I decided to stop. For this time. We’ll see what’s next…

Self-portrait on the way ;)Some athletics, some grit, some sense of exploration… that’s what I call an adventure. Not necessarily exotic places, let alone dreams of great things that might never be followed up on.

5 thoughts on “Not Seeking Adventure, Circling the City

  1. What a great blog. I felt like I was running with you Ger. It made me laugh when you boasted about running past the traffic. Great pictures and remembrances of the past. Thanks for the great read. ~h

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