Prague to Vienna on Foot: Our Last Day

A series of posts following David and Gail as they walk 480 kilometers from Prague to Vienna in 2014.

October 2, 2014

A mere fourteen kilometres to the Vienna city limits. Only nine more from there to get to the nearest Vienna metro. It seems so short, this being the last day of our walk from Prague. A trip that (you will have noticed) was a predicted 480 kilometres in length but turned out to be just over 600 kilometres by the time we added all the detours, mileage miscalculations, the added length of some foot trails and the wrong turns.

We left Wolkersdorf early in the morning, passing several art projects, ducks and monumental wood animals before re-entering familiar agricultural territory. It is surprising how long the farmland held out before finally revealing evidence of a large city. Even then, the Euro Cycle Route 9 we have been following across most of Austria, a path that has managed to find a largely car-free route along its entire length, persists in finding an arcadian route to the city’s edge…and then some. We stop at the Welcome-to-Vienna sign, set in a wooded section of the path, for the requisite selfie. Technically, this could qualify as the end of our trek; we never saw an official Greenway plaque in Vienna to announce the beginning or end of the path. For us, the end point would be further on, at the Floridsdorf U-Bahn station where we would take the Vienna metro to the Westbanhof Station to catch a train to Salzburg that evening.

600 kilometres. 21 days. Our pedestrian journey across the Czech Republic and Austria is now complete. Hard as it might have been at times with a number of overly long days, it was an entirely rewarding experience. Walking brings you as close as possible to the world around you as any method of moving from place to place can. It gives you the time to contemplate every subtle difference of a place as every detail is slowly revealed, one footstep at a time. Small things matter and come to life, whether it is the mystery of pumpkins or the art of sgraffiti. Or a morning walk in a cool drizzle. Or a refreshing beer at lunch. Or seeing the near-invisible remnants of a tragic history. Or a surprising stay at grandmother’s house in a small hamlet you would never have gone to unless you walked there.

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