When I woke up, I promised myself that I would not darken the door of a single museum. Not one. No learning, no art, no pedagogy, no history, no curatorial texts.
Today, I resolved, would just be about fun and nothing else. I began this effort by sleeping a little bit late and having a huge breakfast (bacon, eggs, croissant, a slice of Appelstrudel, and juice), then went upstairs to my room and finished the book I started the other day.
Then — well after noon, I walked to the Rathaus Ubahn station and rode the U1 line to Praterstern. Here, just across the street from the Ubahn station, was one of the main reasons I came to Vienna:
The riesenrad, featured in Carole Reed’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s post-war thriller, The Third Man. I could tell you I couldn’t wait to board this piece of film legend, but the Prater has a couple other things I love. Things I had to try:
I think the park has five respectable roller coasters (and about four kiddie coasters that held no appeal for me). I rode three, and the one you see above enjoys the distinction of being one of only two where I had second thoughts at the top of the first ascent.
But it was a blast, as was an indoor ride that you had to navigate a maze in the dark to reach, then in a completely blacked out space, you careen hither and yon, your only illumination being erratically flashed strobes and lasers.
I know, it sounds nightmarish, but I had a lot of fun riding that one, too. The third one was a little more standard, but it was a good one to begin my visit with; it revved my heart rate up so the indoor coaster with the lasers didn’t come as a coronary event for me.
After riding the coaster depicted above, I walked around the entire park before I made a beeline for the riesenrad. There was nary a wait for that one, but there was an anteroom with panoramas and captions about the history of the Ferris wheel and its place in Vienna’s narrative.
The very minute realized I was reading something Historical, I stepped away and queued up at the gate outside unti the operator opened the next gondola.
Some fifteen minutes later, I stepped onto terra firma again and took the Ubahn to stephensplatz and strolled through the old city, making sure never to stop more than the two minutes it took to buy a kasekraner and a soda to eat.
Then, more walking. Lots more walking. Lots of of impulsive pictures of things (mostly building facades) that caught my attention. One thing I was not expecting:
So far, I’ve found Vienna chock full of these anomalies. Finding and capturing little marvels without stopping to become the authority on each one has made today feel like the holiday it should be.