Sunday, May 1, 2016

An Evening With Vienna’s Wiener Riesenrad

Anyone’s who’s seen the movie ‘Before Sunrise’, knows the beauty of Vienna.
The 1995 movie showed some of the highlights of everyday Viennese life, most prominent of which is the ‘Wiener Riesenrad’, a century-old wooden Ferris wheel that dominates Vienna’s landmark.
The movie left a great impression on me and it made me fall in love with Vienna, so much so, that I promised to visit it someday.
A view of Wiener Praterstern from one of the cabins
Fast forward to 2015, and that goal has been fulfilled. I visited Vienna this year and it was a very surreal experience. Vienna is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it exceeded all my expectations.
A big part of that was Wiener Riesenrad.
It was a chilly Saturday evening when I trooped to the Prater district, from the city center. From the train station, the wheel looms and it will give you the impulse to jump for joy, after all, the wheel is inside the Wiener Praternstern, an amusement park that caters to the young and to the young at heart.

I certainly had to contain myself from giggling as I approach the wheel.
At the same time, I was instantly aware that I am in the vicinity of one of the most famous landmarks in Vienna.
Built in 1887 in celebration of the Grand Jubilee of Franz Joseph I, the Wiener Riesenrad has been a symbol of Vienna, and has served as a famous meeting place for lovers, families and friends.
Unfortunately, it was burned down during the chaos of World War 11 in 1944, but the love of the city allowed for a quick reconstruction by the year 1945. In 2002, the eight lost cabins were returned and were turned as part of the Wheel of History, which gives visitors the chance to take a stroll down memory lane to revisit the illustrious past of Vienna and Prater.
You need to pay Euro 9.5 to get inside one of the cabins along with 20 other people. Children ages 3-14 need only pay Euro4, whilw children under three years old get a free pass.
The Museum
The tour takes about 30 minutes and it gives a chance to see the Vienna landscape from above.
If you want to have a cabin all on your own, you can hire the luxury and hire cabins. You can hire the Jubilee cabin for Euro 280 for an hour while a cabin with a dinner for two set up will cost you Euro 220.
A view of Vienna from one of the cabins
Vienna is even more enchanting aboard one of the wooden cabins of the Wiener Riesenrad.
There are no tall buildings as is the norm in Europe. Instead, you will see the intricate designs of the homes and houses near Prater.
A scale model of Wiener Riesenrad displayed at the museum
Riding the Wiener Riesenrad was truly an emotional moment for me as it allowed me to witness the truly breathtaking Vienna sunset. It also allowed me to look back to that time when I was still dreaming of traveling around the world.
If I ever get the chance to visit Vienna and the wheel again, I would go for it in a heartbeat.


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