The word "urban escape" actually carries a less than endearing connotation. Escape doesn't really sound like something pleasant. But I am talking here about the liberating effect of breaking with the habits of the city and all its obligations. Work, family and everything else our lives revolve around. Meant is the everyday what we hopefully love and appreciate, but from which we should all also take time out.
Turn your back on the urban canyons and multi-lane city streets, the bistros and stores, the many lights and people for a few hours.
I am then always drawn to the forest. Perhaps because I am a creature of the forest, as Wolf-Dieter Storl calls us humans. I feel at home there and feel its healing effect.
The forest forces me to rest and decelerates me in a powerfully satisfying way. In the peace of the forest my soul can bathe.
Perhaps this is where the Japanese term Shinrin-Yoku comes from, translated into German, "the forest bathing". In Japan, actually prescribed by the doctor, like with us a cure.
It's Sunday, June 21, 2020, and our weekly city escape takes Laura and me to Helenental, in Baden near Vienna. The Beethoven hiking trail sounded promising to us and the fact that it is connected to the Schwechat river was one more reason to walk on it. Forest and water, for me the most wonderful connection in nature.
For weeks the beautiful Austria lies in the rain and so also today. But that should not diminish this forest bathing day of benefit. Sturdy shoes and a good rain jacket and we stay dry despite rain and forest bath.
The Beethoven hiking trail is rather flat and pleasant to walk and although it is so close to the city, it is mostly in a quiet forest. Again and again the path crosses bridges with the Schwechat. A river that the Danube steals the show and which is therefore probably rather little known. Unfairly as I find.
The Schwechat turns out to be a very strong and wide river, also thanks to the frequent and long rainfalls. Brown colored by the soil, fast and wild, it looks like the Amazon. A sight we did not expect and which instills a lot of respect.
You can leave the Beethoven trail for many other highlights, such as ruins. But we decided to follow the deserted rainy day as long as possible under the treetops and breathe the air of the forest.
It is the feeling of being embraced by the trees that I appreciate so much. To really be in the forest, detached from the city. This path in the Helenental creates that excellently.
Even if you are looking for an extensive hike, this is the right place. The path is part of a long-distance hiking trail and can also be extended to a day tour. Of course, you can also take care of yourself in various really cozy inns.
We however, decided to turn back after about two hours of pleasant walk and have a coffee in the beautiful Rosarium.
I can only warmly recommend the tour, so close to Vienna, find few so idyllic places. It is a real gold piece.
And if you don't live in Vienna and the surrounding area, I hope you've gotten a taste for a forest swimming day near you.
I would appreciate a tip from you or a tour photo!
For the journey:
If you come by car, park at the "Rosarium" and start your tour there. At one of the entrances we also found a very interesting outdoor photo exhibition about Chernobyl and life in Russia and Ukraine.
Have fun and relax!