Born and raised in the Midwestern part of the U.S., I naturally speak the common dialect of, “Weather.”  And let me write, winter in Vienna this year was just mean. Far too cold for far too long, and not enough snow to ease the misery. So, when the first hints of springs wafted into town recently, we were out the door.

Stadtwanderweg 8 was our goal, a scenic 10km circular route with barely a 300m incline and the promise of an Alm for lunch, all tucked into the western edge of the city and bordering the Vienna Woods. Because Tony and I both had dastardly colds, we huffed and puffed up the incline and called it quits at roughly the 3km mark.

Most Alm, a time-warp Alm from the post-war days was our savior. We settled in with the classic Schnitzel and bemoaned that in our sorry states we had to pass on the house wine and order raspberry sodas instead.  For the record, the Schnitzel was quite good.

We also thought it a stitch that even though the EU-required “No Smoking” sticker was adhered to the Alm door, there were still ashtrays on each and every Formica table.

A classic sign in the garden area of the Alm.

Back down the hill we walked, feeling surprisingly healthier. Must have been the Schnitzel. The following weekend we were determined to finish the trail; Anna Grace and Clayton Theodore joined us for motivation.

Our leader, nom-noming his pre-hike snack.

CTF’s nose led the way and we followed along, diverting from the Stadtwanderweg onto a slightly more rustic, “Forst Straße,” a forest road, rebels that we are.

Many of the trees had been recently cut, and the smell of freshly-cut wood was intoxicating. The “Seasons Greetings” on a few of the trees made us laugh, too.

Eventually the forest road wound itself up another incline to the Gasthof at Sophienalpe, but this one we mastered without effort, and sat AT AN OUTDOOR TABLE IN MARCH! for lunch. We were trendsetters, and within minutes nearly every outdoor table was filled.

As it goes in dog-obsessed Austria, His Majesty was presented with a bowl of water before we were even asked if we’d like something to drink; he then waited patiently to order his Schnitzel lunch. (Just kidding. He only snacked on the Pommes Frites.)

Anna Grace and I were intrigued by the hipster Schnitzel on offer, one coated with corn flakes instead of the customary bread crumbs. We both agreed there’s no going back to the classic after this tasty treat.

Tony declared that he was still Schnitzel-ed out from the previous weekend, and so ordered, “Huhner Brust gebacken mit Pommes Frites,” or Baked Chicken with French Fries. What did he get? Chicken Schnitzel! 🙂

After a round of laughter and an altogether delightful al fresco lunch, we wandered back to the car. Though we hiked 8km, only some of which were “official” trail kilometers, we are officially declare hiking and Schnitzel to be the antidote to winter in Vienna.