MOLE WEST

PLACEText: Christina Merl

Vienna is a beautiful city. You may easily be captured by its charms. Besides gorgeous architecture the city offers numerous cultural events, ancient and modern art, excellent theatre performances, modern literature and film festivals, classical music concerts and modern dance festivals. Culinary highlights range from a delicious chocolate cake to excellent Austrian wine and Bohemian treats. You get all kinds of exotic spices, fresh fruit, Italian, Turkish and Asian specialities in the city’s best known market area. Numerous luxury boutiques and small antique shops do exist alongside plenty of modern art galleries. In other words, the city offers you more than you may be able to consume.


Photo: Harry Mannsberger

However, there is one thing missing in Vienna: it’s the light breeze from the sea that makes the leaves in front of your window rustle, that clears your mind in the early morning and creates positive vibes on romantic summer evenings. Those of you who live by the sea might know what I’m talking about. One must admit that there have been several fantastic initiatives by the city government to get nature and recreation into the city. For example, there are numerous parks and gardens where you can picknick and relax. Outdoor cinema locations attract film freaks on hot summer evenings. And there is now even a beach with a real outdoor swimming pool at the Danube canal directly in the city centre. But still that’s not the real thing, is it?


Photo: Christina Merl

So there you are, in this beautiful city, desperately missing the sea. And then you meet a good friend who tells you about a wonderful new location at Neusiedlersee, or Lake Neusiedl, some 20 miles southeast of Vienna, in the province of Burgenland. The large, shallow steppe lake, roughly 20 miles by 5 miles and generally only six feet deep, is ringed by wetlands and draws bird-watchers — it is the perfect breeding ground for about 250 species. Hikers and bikers use the tracks that wind through the reeds and grasslands, the beaches draw crowds in summer, ice skaters go there in winter.

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