There are several ex-pat and Trailing Spouse guilds and associations in Vienna that offer a multitude of ways to network, make friends, and, my personal favorite, “leave the housework at home.” While I don’t quite have the patience for endless coffee mornings (an almost-required sport here) I am game for most other pursuits.

This week one of the groups offered a hike in Lower Austria. The ÖBB whisked us in no time to Gumpoldskirchen, a sleepy little wine village south of Vienna, where our hike began to Baden, an ancient Roman spa town 7 kilometers south.

For your orientation.

The organizer of the Hiking Club informed us newbies that, “Every hike begins with coffee and a sweet.” I liked the organizer, and the rules, immediately!  We found a small heuriger that was open, and were treated to warm Zwetschkenkuchen (plum cake with powdered sugar). Light and perfectly sweet.
Gumpoldskirchen is a picturesque wine village, with a main street lined with vintner’s cellars. It being morning most were closed, but the village certainly warrants a return visit.

“Most” is early, early wine, pretty much like grape juice; Sturm, of course, is the intermediate new wine.

 “Harvest Time” (rough translation) doesn’t last long!

 A whole pond of these unusual but very friendly ducks in the village.

We walked along part of the Wiener Leitungswasserweg (Vienna’s watershed).

Schloss Gumpoldskirchen, with guest rooms for rent.

Of course, no hike through vineyards is complete without the grapes.

The group paused here to tackle the second phase of our hike, where to enjoy lunch in Baden. By the time we reached our destination, we were all too hungry to take photos of the pretty town, sorry. You’ll just have to visit to see it for yourself.
Vienna experienced its first frost two nights ago, at least up here in Döbling, so it won’t be long before the days are cold, eternal, and grey. Until then, however, one would have to be crazy not to savor the blue skies and warm sun of autumn in Austria.