A Day at the Prater

I love watching movies set in beautiful locations. They are usually very relaxing and, of course, very visually appealing.

Among my favorite films of this kind are the movies in the ‘Before’ trilogy by Richard Linklater. All of them revolve around the relationship of the protagonists Celine and Jesse, but the flavor of each film is distinct from the others, for each movie is set in a different country.

The first movie in this trilogy is Before Sunrise which is set in Vienna, Austria. Here, Jesse and Celine first meet inside the train. Sensing a connection between them, they decide to stop in Vienna and spend the remaining hours of the day until daybreak of the next day together in the city.

Lucky me! My husband and I  are currently in Austria, so we visited one of the main locations of the movie: the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, Vienna’s second district. If you’ve watched the film, you’d remember this as the place where Celine and Jesse shared their first kiss. In fact, they were inside one of the cabins of the Wiener Riesenrad (in English, Viennese Ferris Wheel).

No, we didn’t ride the Riesenrad or any of the other attractions. Or, at least, not yet. Anyway, entrance is free, so for that day, we decided to just walk around and talk about various things like Jesse and Celine; all the while, taking note of interesting rides and other observations.

The first thing to catch our attention, even before entering the amusement park proper was, as to be expected, the Wiener Riesenrad. Indeed, it was a big Ferris wheel with big cabins to match its size. One of the remarkable offers of the ride is the romantic dinner inside the cabin. If you can handle eating while inside the cabin of a Ferris wheel, this is definitely worth a try.

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Aside from the Wiener Riesenrad, there is another Ferris wheel in the amusement park – the Blumenrad or the Flower Wheel. It may be smaller and have smaller gondolas but it is very pretty in white. It’s located near the Eisberg and the Break Dance.

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Of course, there are the classic rides: a carousel, a merry-go-round, and a roller coaster. There are also several go-cart rides, train rides, speed rides, water rides, target games and souvenir shops, rides that will catapult you to the sky…name it. There are more themed attractions like the Lilliputbahn, the Smurf City, the Alt Wiener Grottenbahn which will take you into worlds of fairy tales, a haunted castle, among many others.

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But, from what I have seen, the most interesting, adrenaline-pumping ride is the Praterturm (literally, Prater Tower) which is a flying swing. It is a very high tower with several seats hanging around it. Once the ride activates, the seats will circle the tower and move up. It will stay circling at the top for a while before it starts going down again.

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Personally, I am not sure if I could handle that much of an excitement. I might end up sticking to my favorite merry-go-round and other tamer rides. Or, I could go the brainy route and visit the Prater Museum and the Planetarium. But, who knows, I might be brave the next time I visit the Prater and give the Ferris wheels, the roller coaster, and the Praterturm a try.

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