Vienna

We had a weekend away in Vienna for the twin purposes of me running the Vienna half-marathon and eating Wiener Schnitzel – we stayed in an apartment close to the Danube and the race start, while Mum and Dad stayed in a hotel in the centre of the city.

Friday evening in front of the opera house
Saturday morning and we went for a gentle 5km jog – Lucy crosses the Danube with several other runners
a barge on the Danube
Most of our morning run was on this lovely island between the new and old courses of the Danube
In the afternoon we went to the exposition to collect my race pack
We also found that we were able to collect some Kaiserschmarn
The Wiener Riesenrad is a 65-metre tall ferris wheel, dating from 1897. Astonishingly they didn’t take credit cards but we had just enough cash, leaving us with one eurocent.
The capital city from the Wiener Riesenrad
Later, we went for a boat ride on the Danube Canal
Later, a visit to the Hotel Sacher where the four of us had the famous cake (after a lengthy queue for a table). Very nice, though not extraordinarily special.
Sunday morning, and I’m ready for the off, if rather wide-eyed.
The Danube is looking much bluer than yesterday
The joining instructions weren’t as clear as they might have been, and focused very much on using public transport to get to the start, but our apartment was deliberately within walking distance – it wasn’t clear whether I would be forced to use the Underground to cross the river, and clearly I wouldn’t be the only one within walking distance so it was something of an omission. When I reached the closed road, I found a few others walking across so I joined them. Looking back to the south-west, this will be the direction of travel across the Reichsbrücke once we’ve started.
The only sight of the lead vehicles I’m likely to get
Continuing to walk to the start through the cars, officials and other detritus – it still wasn’t clear whether the route of myself and others was permitted or not, but no-one asked us not to, so we pressed on, finding much more confusion – there were no maps, no signs, no significant number of toilets, just endless people moving about in all directions. I eventually found my start area more by instinct than any clear signage, and there was no system in place to make sure people were in the start zone they were supposed to be. Perhaps Austrian efficiency isn’t up to German levels.
We’re ready to start, but first the billowing piece of fabric, presumably advertising one of the sponsors for the benefit of the helicopters above, needs to be passed over our heads and back down the field.
Lucy is waiting at the far end of the bridge and here is the lead car and a pack of elite African runners.
Meanwhile I’m still stationary, being entertained by the big screen.
Here I am at last.
After Lucy, Mum and Dad had waved at me mid-way and passed me fresh nutrition, Lucy found herself a spot in the grandstand just short of the finish. I knew she was there somewhere, so I’m waving confidently even though I haven’t yet seen her.
Still waving, and I think by now I had seen Lucy
Afterwards, walking back to the underground station to return to the apartment for a shower and a rest. Later we went for a boat trip with Mum and Dad on the Danube and back into the centre on the Danube Canal, then headed out for a final meal, once again sampling the delights of Viennese cuisine.

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