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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Oh Vienna ....................

I love the colours on this picture!
This was the first part of the trip when I finally decided it would be wise to take my own SUP equipment away with me when I travel. Although I ultimitely succeeded in SUPing on both parts of the trip, both experiences were less than ideal. I had booked in advance a stand up paddleboarding (SUP) tour of Vienna with a SUP business I had found online (through Facebook which is an excellent resource for finding SUP opportunities abroad). To be fair, the booking had been agreed subject to weather.

I was flying to Vienna on the Saturday, with the paddleboarding session scheduled for the Sunday. The week leading up to my trip, I was checking the weather forecast for Vienna on the BBC weather webpage. Everyday it was looking great. All was well.

So on the Friday I contacted the SUP business in Vienna to confirm the arrangements for Sunday and, to my shock and horror. he told me he would have to cancel as the weather was expected to be bad! Perhaps BBC was wrong? But every other source I looked at told me the same story. Sunshine. Very little wind. 15 - 18 degrees Centigrade. It was a mystery to say the least.

Maybe Vienna had its own weather forecast which wasn't available in the rest of the world, however I presumed my tour guide had decided to cancel for his own reasons. I did ask him if he knew of anywhere I could hire a board and he pointed my in the direction of Alte Donau, the Old Danube.

My hotel was on the north east of the city centre, not far from the giant ferris wheel at Wiener Prater. If you've seen the 1987 James Bond film, The Living Daylights, you'll know the one I mean. It as about a 30 minutes walk to Alte Donau, but it was a lovely Autumn day so I decided to walk anyway. I did wonder how easy it would be to rent a board when I got there.

The sailing club at Alte Donau
At one time the Alte Donau was a side branch of the Danube but is no longer connected at all to the main river and serves as a recreation area, mainly for sailing, canoeing and assorted water sports. As I walked along the eastern bank of the Alte Donau, I spotted a sailing school which was able to rent me a board, paddle and leash.

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours paddling the length of the channel and back (twice), with only some ducks and a couple of brightly-sailed sailing boats for company. The sun was shining, although it regularly vanished behind some white clouds only to reappear later. Not much wind, and certainly no sign of the predicted bad weather! I felt fortunate to have found the sailing school with the SUP boards. If not, then there would have been no paddling for me that day.

If you ever find yourself in Vienna I recommend a paddle on Alte Donau. I've no doubt that during the summer months it would be easy enough to rent the equipment, but out of season it would be safer to take your own. It wasn't a particularly lengthy or arduous paddle, just relaxing and fun.

The following day I headed to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It's only 65km down the Danube from Vienna. This time I took the train. Next time I might just SUP it!


October 2016

A post-paddle pint!

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