Path Less Traveled (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

How a guide offered a lesson beyond the tour.


I'm writing a series of blogs about a recent trip to Europe..trying to tell stories beyond the typical travel tales.

There is a lot to see in the wonderful city of Vienna, Austria.  There is amazing art and architecture. This is St. Stephen's Cathedral.

It is the "City Of Music" and there are tributes the to classical composers who lived there.  Statues of Mozart and Beethoven below.



To get views like this of the Danube, you have to go to the very edge of the city.

This is taken from the top of a mountain called Kahlenberg. It rises just over a thousand feet above the small village below...a bit of a hike for a few miles. I like to hike wherever I can and I found this guided tour on-line.  It covers a total of about 10 miles, up and down hills, through the woods and across open meadows and vineyards.


My old friend Darrell Locke lives with his wife and kids in England, in the same small village where he and I met at school..when we were 10!  (My father was in the Air Force and was stationed in England from 1975 to 1978) Darrell came along on this part of the trip because he'd never been to Austria before.  We both thought this hike was pretty incredible.

Even more interesting that the guided tour was the tour guide. Irene lives more than an hour from Vienna. To lead this hike two or three times a week she rides several miles on her bike, then takes a train into the city.  It takes her a long time and she couldn't be happier about it.

Irene studied hard and then worked hard for years as a veterinarian. (She even did some of her course-work at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado). After several years in business she decided she'd had enough.  She simply didn't want to do it any more.  She wanted to do see sights like this.

So Irene quit her job and developed this tour and several others like it to make a living doing what she loves!  She admits it's not a huge living but it's enough and she's happy. If you're going to Vienna, consider this day trip.

I thought I had taken a better picture of Irene...I didn't...but you get a pretty good picture of what kind of person she is by the fact that she gave up so much to do what she really wants to do.  I admire it.  I love my job and I could never do it!

Most of us would never and could never do what Irene did.  Once in a while tough, it's inspiring to meet someone who could...and did!

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward


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