Two March 2004 Walks Plus a Book Review:  

1. Donauinsel (Vienna, Austria)   

In March 2004, I walked about half of the island in the Danube fittingly called the Donauinsel.  I began by looking back from a pedestrian bridge toward where I would be spending the rest of the week: the building to the right of the one with the spire:

The river here is the 'New' Donau.  On the other side of the island Is the 'Old' Donau.  There is also a Donau canal, running through the heart of the city, so the river is split up several ways as it comes past Vienna.

Continuing on the bridge, but now looking toward the island, the church that is visible sits on the other side of the river:

A while later, on the island, I looked back across the river again.

After being under way for over an hour, with still no end in sight, I simply continued walking.  The goal?  To get close enough tot he end of the island to be able to see both the old and new Donaus at the same time.

Along the way I came across a little island:

And getting tired of the paved walkway I struck off into the island's interior, where some parts were experiencing Spring:

And some parts were still in Winter:

It was at about this point that I stumbled onto a meadow where men were sunbathing in their birthday suits, some solo, some in couples, some in small groups.  It was a very gay place, in both senses of the word, and I got some smiles and waves and was obviously a bit embarrassed so kept moving.  I felt like asking one who got up to follow me just where the women's meadow was, but I thought better of being disrespectful of their way of being human and was already on my way out of the woods and could look for it myself.  The man did not venture far.  Next day at work I learned that this is an accepted part of the island's use, and on the other end was a family-style naturist area, complete with restaurant, but no tourists allowed with clothes on and cameras.

Soon after this I found a little hill and was able to see both sides of the river, finally.  First looking back to where I had come from:

 Turning just a bit to the left now, both sides of the river can be seen.  The one on the left is not as blue as the one on the right because of sun angle:

 Looking back even further to the left, a dam may be seen, used to control the river and to make electricity.  

Ships, a river barge in this case, pass through locks around this dam: here it is approaching the locks:

And here it is coming out at the other end, heading upstream:

Perhaps it is fitting that by the time I got back to a rail line (one I would see again at the end of this same week on a ride to Bratislava), I met the Buddha in the road:


Soon I was back in my hotel, getting ready for a long night of fighting jet lag.  It wasn't too bad on this trip, really, and the hours I was inexplicably awake in the middle of each night gave me a chance to read and review a book I had not read before by Paulo Coelho.  So even jet lag has its silver lining!

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