This past Thursday was Eid al-Fitr, a celebration of the end of Ramadan, and a UN Holiday for Tony. With ideal weather in the forecast, and the need for Anna Grace to break-in her new hiking shoes before Austrian Scout Camp later this month, our day plan was set.

Clayton Theodore knew something was up when he heard his hiking leash being pulled from the hall closet, and though Anna Grace attempted to take him on a brief morning constitutional, he refused to move out of sight of the car. Too smart, that Foxhound.

In less than a two hour drive we reached the Nationalpark Thayatal, formerly the “No Man’s Land” between Austria and the Czech Republic, now a shared national park. Many of the former border patrol paths on both sides have been redefined as trails, offering excellent wandering fun for everyone.  Our route was a circular combination of three trails, with an estimated completion time of 3 hours. We novice “Austrian” hikers traversed the route in just under 4 hours, so we’re calling the hike successful.

 The first stop, an easy 10 minutes onto the trail, is Burg Kaja. Seriously, sometimes we wander upon ruins with histories so intricate our eyes glaze over, and this is one of them.

Along pathways beautiful and green we wandered for a few kilometers.

With streams equally as tantalizing to Clayton Theodore.

And then. The first of what was to be four steep ascents. But with stunning nature all around us.

The pantone Thaya River, dividing Austria and the Czech Republic in resplendent shades of green.
A meadow rest at some high point was relished by humans and canines alike.

The third of four summits. So very much worth the 20% grade climb. (The Czech Republic is on the left; Austria is on the right.)

 

We thought we had reached the final summit, only to discover that one more lie ahead. With just a kilometer or so to our endpoint we forged on, over the final summit at 272m, and were rewarded with a beautiful (flat!) forest and Voralpen meadow walk into the town of Hardegg.

 

In Hardegg we sat for a well-deserved lunch at a riverside Gasthof, admiring the views along the Thaya River.

The bridge connecting Austria and the Czech Republic at Hardegg had been in place since the late 1800’s. The crossing was closed in 1945, and reopened in 1990.  Of course we walked across to bid, “Dobry Den” to the Czech Republic.

 

 

And then, back into Austria for our return home. Though the entire hike was but 6 kilometers, it was no saunter around the park.  Now we know what an Austrian “Moderately Difficult” hike means, and we can not wait to do it again!