Walking in the woods

I had a fantastic day today, hiking in the rainy woods of Vienna with my family.

When I think of Vienna as a beautiful place (which I do, often) I mostly think of the gorgeous architecture, or the perfectly manicured palace gardens.  But, Vienna also has a lot of wooded areas, set aside for recreational use with trails and such, but pretty much preserved in their natural, lush, green state — right within the city limits.

We’ve done a little hiking/walking/exploring in the forested areas of the city before, but we’d never really devoted the better part of a day to it.  Today, we did.  We went up to the western part of Vienna, up where the significant hills begin, and investigated some trails we’d seen once before when we rode past on a bus.  We found ourselves on part of the Wanderweg that goes around the whole city of Vienna (although we only covered a small part of that today).

We weren’t really sure what to expect, so we left the stroller, and Bailey, at home.  It turns out that the trails are wide and smooth enough that we could easily have managed the stroller, and Benjamin could have even brought his bike (now we know for next time).

It rained the entire time we were hiking.  It didn’t dampen our spirits and we had a great time.  (A lesson I learned from my dad, growing up, was that it is possible to enjoy the outdoors in any weather, as long as you’re dressed for it.)  We tromped up the hills, slogged through the mud, climbed on tree stumps, splashed in puddles, ate lunch in the rain and even came upon another American, originally from Maine, who was delighted to see our boys in L. L. Bean raincoats.  The woods are full of fresh, new, vibrantly green leafy growth;  in fact, the forest felt very much like one from home at this time of year.  Chasing the boys through the woods and preventing major catastrophe wasn’t relaxing, but it was fantastic.

Benjamin was our trail guide — we let him make the decisions at all of the intersections.  He made different decisions than I would have (I have some paths I’d like to go back and explore in the future) but it was fun to have him be in charge.  It was also fun for both boys to be able to run freely for a few hours — for city dwellers without a yard, it doesn’t happen all that often.

I think we covered about 2 miles of hilly terrain.  Liam walked nearly the entire way, and Benjamin walked (and ran) the whole time.  Then, of course, Liam slept the whole way home, and Benjamin took a long nap after we got home.  We were all glad to get out of our soggy clothes and get all warm and snuggled up.  Our boys were worn out.  So were we.

It was a fun, rainy, hiking Sunday in Vienna.  We got soaked.  We are tired.  We had a great time.

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