The sunshine invited us to come out and play, so we headed northwest through the Wienerwald, which was swarming with cyclists and pedestrians, until we arrived at Burg Greifenstein on the Danube. For over a millennium, the fortress has kept watch over the Danube just upstream of the Vienna Gate (Wiener Pforte), the geographical term for the place where the Danube enters the Vienna Basin (Wiener Becken). It has survived Hungarians, Turks, Liechtenstein family members, pestilence, and fire. Many have perished in the dungeon in its tower. Since being outdoors still remains a better option than indoor confinement, we took a walk along the Altarm, the arm of the Danube that is a favorite spot for swimmers.
To cross to the island seen in the back of the picture above, you go across a short and narrow bridge that is part of the bike path along the Danube. Unfortunately, it is impossible to linger and enjoy the view of the waterfall without being run over by hurried cyclists. It’s a pity because it is a lovely setting. I managed the picture below but couldn’t take one of trees gnawed by beavers without triggering a collision. After the bottleneck of the bridge, we went off to the right on a dirt road where cycling is prohibited and had the island mostly to ourselves.
At the tip of the island, there is a view of the hilly Wienerwald. Since humans can only reach it by boat, the small island to the left is likely an oasis for ducks and other birds. It’s been so long since I have seen Mallard ducks that they seemed exotic.
To the left, the view is all Danube, all the way downstream toward Vienna. Turning further to the left, we had a view of the locks and Greifenstein hydroelectric power plant, but since most of us need a picture of a massive concrete structure as much as we need another crisis situation, I’ll omit a picture from that perspective.
Moments of grace: a ladybug crawling on my shoulder as I rested and gazed downstream; a slowworm crossing the path. Despite its snake-like appearance, a slowworm (Anguinis fragilis, Blindschleiche) is a lizard. One of the most common reptiles in Austria, it poses no threat to humans and spends most of its time hiding under objects. If in danger, it can shed its tail and grow a new one that is slightly shorter. The slowworm was named Reptile of the Year 2017 by the Austrian Herpetological Society (ÖGH). After some time spent basking in the sun like good lizards do, we slithered back to hide under the roof of our apartment building in the Vienna Basin.
May you have moments of grace observing the world outdoors!