Sunday, 3 May 2009

2006 The Long NOT Winding Road - In Search Of Harry

Having left the Kunsthaus behind us it was all eyes skywards to find our next destination. Vienna has a funfair at Prater Park and in its grounds is a very famous landmark, the Riesenrad.
The Riesenrad was erected by Walter B Basset, a British engineer, in 1897 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The wheel itself spans 200 feet and rotates at 0.65 m/sec. The wheel has featured in several films, The Third Man being one of the most, if not the most famous. In 1914 the wheel was used for a film stunt in which Madame Solange d'Atalide managed to complete one round on horseback on top of one of the cabins.
In 1944, at the height of WWII, the Giant Ferris Wheel burnt down, but was rebuilt in 1945. The Riesenrad is the only giant ferris wheel of its time which is still in use today.
We thought the charge of 7.50 euros was quite expensive until we walked into a room with showcases resembling the cabins on the wheel with models inside each one. The models give a brief history of Vienna over the last two thousand years, from Roman Times, through the Middle Ages and up to the Second World War.

Once inside the cabin we slowly rose above the nearby tree line to view the surrounding area.
We did not expect Prater Park to be the size it is, so a walk round will be necessary.

Here is the view from the top of the wheel.

Disembarking from the wheel we declined the tourist photo of us on the Riesenrad. Well it was a pretty poor mock-up of a cabin with Ian having an arm around Guzzisue and pointing to something in the distance (sic).
Two other things we got with our entry ticket were discount vouchers to be used in the gift shop, 40 cents and 30 cents for the restaurant. These stayed in our pockets.
During our stay in Vienna we had more than one visit to the park. Below are some shots of the wheel at different times of the day, finishing off with a small film clip I've edited.

Harry was nowhere to be seen so I assume he had already been on the wheel and was now hiding in the sewers.


Affer said...

MARVELLOUS!!! The Third Man rates as one of my favourite films (remember the cat?) but my one and only visit to Vienna was before I appreciated its sublety - that's the film's AND the City's. And I didn't see the Riesenrad then. In the book "The Devil and the White City" there are some nice descriptions of the original Ferris Wheel at the Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Baron's Life said...

Sorry haven't been around much of late....I'm slowly getting back again...have been posting on the fly but nothing else... I love the vienna waltz music but that's one hell of an old delapitated looking ride... I don't think you could get me to ride in it even if I had double life insurance..I'm sure it's pretty safe...but to me it looks like a eath trap...never know with these
Great post and pics...thanks for sharing mate.

bikerted said...

Affer: we also enjoy the Third Man and have a copy on DVD. Must watch it again soon as neither Ian or myself can remember the cat. As the three of us grow older our interests in places and their souls expands.

Baron: No worries. I was originally thinking of using the Blue Danube Waltz for the film with it having the Vienna connection.
The creaking of the carriages can be heard quite well near the beginning. Just hope they check for woodworm from time to time. :o)