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An Afternoon at a Vienna Amusement Park

"I want to go there"

Our eyes followed Iain's finger as he drew it across the Vienna city map and pointed to the illustration of a big wheel.

The big wheel was in fact the Wiener Riesenrad, a large ferris wheel built in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.

Riesenrad, Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel

[caption id="attachment_2074" align="alignleft" width="200"]Vienna Ferris Wheel Vienna Ferris Wheel (click to enlarge)[/caption]

Jumping on the city's U-Bahn at Stephansplatz, beneath the cathedral, the ferris wheel was only three stops away where we alighted at the Praterstern station.

Reaching the daylight at street level the wheel was instantly visible however on first impression it looked a little decayed in comparison to the newer versions that have sprung up in cities like London and Singapore. Unlike the pods of modern wheels the Vienna Ferris wheel uses red cabins that remind me of small train carriages and makes it distinctive amongst the skyline.

These aren't the original gondolas as the wheel was burnt down during the Second World War yet three years after it was demolished it was reopened to the visiting public.

The Gateway to Prater Amusement Park

[caption id="attachment_2075" align="alignleft" width="200"]Bumper Cars at Prater Amusement Park Bumper Cars at Prater Amusement Park (click to enlarge)[/caption]

It was only as we walked up the wide pavement leading up to the wheel did we realise it was also the gateway to the Prater amusement park. As we had no plans and as it was free entry we headed inside and let the children within us out.

I've never been one for theme parks, I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to rides like Oblivion at Alton Towers, however the amusement park in Vienna was more my pace.

Many of the rides were closed due to the winter season so we made the most of those that were. Parting with a couple of Euros each we chose our attack vehicle and prepared for five minutes of mayhem on the bumper cars. There is an insane pleasure in ramming your car into the side of strangers.

Skipping the Ghost Train (yes I know they're fun, but did I mention I was a scaredy-cat?) and the mental ride which saw the seats spin 360° on their side whilst the entire ride rotates 360°, just think the teacups ride on drugs!

Also open were the go-karts involving ten laps of petrol fuelled racing around a short circuit which was a really good laugh made even sweeter by the fact I won.

Where will the finger lead us to?

Unfortunately our budget couldn't cover the €9 per person cost of riding the Ferris wheel but the park was a great way to spend a couple of hours for a laugh and fun and would recommend if you tire of Vienna's cultural side.

As we left the park we reopened our Vienna city map and spread it out on a nearby table and eagerly anticipated where Iain's finger would lead us to next.

Have you been to Prater amusement park in Vienna? Did you ride the ferris wheel? If so, what are the views like?