Along the Old Danube

With the Sighs of Spring, Walkers, Cyclers and Rowers Return And Life Along the River Reawakens, Waiting to be Explored

Old Danube in Spring | Photos: I. Dachler-Wurz

Rowers racing each other on the Old Danube | Photos: I. Dachler-Wurz

Old Danube

Old Danube in Spring | Photos: I. Dachler-Wurz

It was the warmest February day on record, a rise in temperature that came totally by surprise. While it was close to zero just yesterday, the sun cozily warmed my skin while I cycled around the Old Danube, something I hadn’t expected to be able to do for at least another month.

Breathing the fresh-bloomy air, hinting at the sprouting of trees and flowers, I started pedaling, feeling the exhilaration of increasing speed. The birds were even chirping, hiding shyly between branches of barren trees, accompanying the whirring of my tires along the paved path.

As I followed along the Old Danube, the way bent to the left at the Stürzel, the lake’s end in the 22nd district, and I spotted two single scull rowers, dressed in long-sleeve shirts and cowls, racing each other; the lapping of the blades entering and carving out scoops of water, echoed in the surprisingly silent pre-season scene.

Rowers on the Old Danube

Rowers racing each other on the Old Danube | Photos: I. Dachler-Wurz

Jetties that play host to flamboyant fishermen’s parties in summer were now home to families of ducks clumsily plunging into the water for an early vernal-swim. Wooden benches clad in ivy stood by, waiting for people to nestle in on them when the weather becomes more reliable.

Occasionally, runners trotted by along the path. But the water lapping gently on the shore seemed to enjoy its private audience with my bike and me. Soaking in the atmosphere, I sat down on a jetty, and plunged my toes into the icy water. Withered reeds framing the shore tilted with the wind, and I started shivering. It was still February after all.

The sun was setting over the Donaucity, and most of the windows of the office buildings were still lit. Watching the last sunbeams reflecting on the cloudy green water, I hurried back to my bike.

Leaving the bike path at Wagramerstraße, suddenly the traffic exploded the silence, hundreds of cars passing by every second. And like a formula one course after the race, the Old Danube slipped back to sleep.

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