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Wiener Riesenrad – “Viennese giant wheel” is a very popular tourist attraction in Vienna.

This piece of working antique is located in Prater, an amusement park just across the river from the old city.

It is one of the oldest Ferris wheel in existence – the wheel was built in 1897 and survived World War II. The picture below is a picture of its construction on display in the ticketing area.

Unlike any amusement park ride that we have gone to, there was no line. To have a gondola to ourselves, we wanted to wait for the next one.  But the operator would not let us.  It turned out that some of the gondolas are reserved for private cocktail parties or a romantic candlelit dinner.  We saw a gondola with only a dining table and two chairs (No.28) and another with several small tables (No. 30).

Compared to the modern versions which are mostly constructed as a plastic bubble, the gondola certainly exudes a certain old world charm. The official statistics says it is 65m at the top and one revolution takes about 20 minutes (it felt shorter however).

Part of its attractiveness is that the wheel afforded the riders a panoramic view of Vienna.  The center of the city has very few high rises to provide or block such a view. Looking southeast across Prater, the old city center (Innere Stadt) is on the right – where Stephansdom (earlier post) is just visible.

I (Chris) liked the movie “Before Sunrise” and I read that the characters –  Jesse and Céline shared a kiss at the top of the Riesenrad at sunset. Now I need to view that DVD again and find the scene. The movie also shot some scenes in Cafe Sperl (earlier post) on our street.

Looking east at the cranes in Donaustadt.

Looking northeast – the modern-ish building to the left is the Praterstern train station.

This ride which rises and spins the tiny seats around until they are tilted looks like a lot of fun.

The white structure is the Ernst-Happel stadium (the biggest in Austria) where the final match of UEFA Euro 2008 was hosted.

The amusement park was not very busy since we were there at a weekday afternoon.

But it opens till midnight in the summer, and I suspect it could get a lot livelier later. But we had to leave and find a place for dinner.


One Comment

  1. so, where’s lovely Bournemouth, Swanage, Corfe Castle etc !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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