I’m home from a walking trip with Country Walkers, a tour company out of Vermont. The week-long trip started in Vienna and ended in Prague, with six of the seven days in the Czech Republic.
Our first day involved an hour long shuttle to the starting point – Hollabrunn in Austria’s beautiful wine country. For the next 10 kilometres (6 miles) we strolled through sleepy villages, past fields filled with seven foot high sunflowers and meandered down country lanes surrounded by vineyards – with grapes just weeks away from being harvested. About half way into the walk, George our driver for the week, set up a snack station – something we came to look forward to everyday though we also learned to go easy on the snacks once we saw how much food was served at lunch time.
As we discovered from our two lovely Czech guides, René and Marie, Austria’s countryside is broken up into small farm plots of about 150 acres – which was quite evident when you got to any high point that provided big vistas of the landscape. Thanks to communism, the Czech Republic markedly differed with farms averaging closer to 3,000 acres in size.
The walking portion of the day ended in Ziersdorf with beer, a fantastic white wine called Jungmayr – from Austria’s famous Grüner Veltliner grape, creamy garlic soup (so much for all those calories we just burned) and a big plate of goulash.
Here’s a look at the highlights of the Austrian countryside in 16 photos.
Have you ever done a walking trip in Europe?