Riesenrad, together

058We had a great “stay-cation” in Vienna last week.  We skied, we skated, we swam, we did touristy stuff, we visited the animals at the zoo and we took some time to just rest and be at home.  It’s great fun living in a city that’s worthy of a European vacation in its own right and which we haven’t nearly finished exploring.  Plus, there was no packing required.

Our first stop on this trip was the Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel in Vienna’s Prater.  (If you’ve seen “The Third Ma063n”, that’s the one.)  I went once with a friend, but Dan and the boys had never been, and it was one of the things on our “must do in Vienna” list.

As often happens, our day kind of got away from away from us, and we weren’t ready to trek over there (3 whole U-Bahn stops away) until after nap time.  It was cold, dark and raining when we left the house, but if we waited to do everything in perfect conditions, we’d never get to do anything.  So off we went.

The bonus to going on a 069dark, cold, drizzly February evening is that there was absolutely no line, and we even got our very own car, all to ourselves.  We didn’t have to worry that the boys’ exclamations or their desire to run from one side of the car to another was bothering anyone else (although with only 4 of us in there, every time they did switch sides, the car tilted, which was a little disconcerting).  The rain obscured the view somewhat (more of an issue for the pictures than for the actual view), but the darkness created a lovely scene of Vienna all lit up at night.  It was a worthwhile visit, especially being such an iconic piece of Vienna.  The boys enjoyed their view from the top, and we all enjoyed sharing it as the first piece of our 2014 Vienna stay-cation.




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001It’s one of those things that had been on my list since before we arrived in Vienna, but I’d never gotten to it — riding on the Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel at the Prater amusement park.

I can’t exactly remember why we haven’t been on it.  We went to the Prater once, early on in our stay here, but we didn’t ride on the Riesenrad.  I think we’d been told by someone (can’t remember who, and it turns out that it isn’t true) that small children weren’t allowed to ride on it.  But I might be mixing my memories — maybe the line was really long or the boys didn’t want to go.  Regardless, we didn’t go that day.  Since then, just about every friend and family member who has visited has wanted to go, but still, we haven’t gone.  Some of them have visited in the winter, when it doesn’t run, and with the others . . . I’m not sure, we’ve just never done it.

006Our friend, Krishana, is back in Vienna for a month before she moves back to the US, and between packing her apartment and getting together with friends, she’s been wanting to knock a few “to dos” off of her own Vienna tourist list.  She suggested that we go together, and it was just the motivation I needed, because today, I went!  We’d been planning to have the whole family go, but the boys slept late during nap time (which almost never happens — I blame the time change) so Dan stayed with them and I met Krishana for a ride on the big wheel.

011We started out with a little tour through the museam, which was a bunch of detailed and animated dioramas showing the history of the Vienna and the wheel, depicting everything from the Roman period through the reconstruction after the devestation of World War II.

And then, it was on to the ride!  It was really fun — a little expensive (9 Euro for a 12 minute ride) but fantastic views and truly a unique perspective on the city.  We could see everything from St. 013Stephen’s to Dan’s office buildings to the mountains north and west of the city.  We could certainly have seen my street, but I couldn’t orient myself quickly enough to identify it.  It was a fantastic view of the whole Prater park (both the amusement park and the green Prater).  It’s a really big wheel — we got up very high! — but I was glad to find that I wasn’t bothered by it at all . . . although we were both glad it wasn’t a very windy day today (and I was somewhat comforted by the lack of any kind of door handle on the interior of the car).

It was a lot of fun, and a really iconic (if touristy) part of being in Vienna.  We’ll definitely have to plan a time to go back (kids and all) in the near future for another great view.