Although we are coming home today, we have a morning to ourselves to see something we have missed or to revisit something we have already been to. We have decided to go on what must be THE image of Vienna - the Ferris Wheel.
The classic film “The Third Man” was made in 1949 (the year I was born). This is the trailer for the film with the famous zither music - can anyone our age hear it and not think of Vienna?
The film was perhaps the reason that the big wheel the "Wiener Riesenrad" is now one of the most famous images of Vienna and courtesy of YouTube, this is a clip of the Big Wheel scene.
The wheel was first built in 1897 and rebuilt in 1945 after it burnt down the previous year.
This image was snatched from the Big Wheel website and shows the wheel after it was rebuilt in 1945 having burnt down in 1944. The clue to the date is that there are only 15 cabins on the wheel in the picture and the original wheel had 30.
So we went to the wheel on the U-Bahn (very wheelchair friendly) with the intention of spending €9.50 each on a ticket to go round on the wheel.
However those in a Wheelchair and their pusher are given discounted tickets (€5), yet another example of Vienna’s generous approach to the disabled.
Inside the entrance hall of the Wheel are a number of Tableau showing what old Vienna might have looked like.
This one is that of the wheel before WWII when it had 30 cabins on it.
The one technical fact which is not mentioned is that it takes around 15 minutes for the wheel to complete one revolution.
A ramp leads to the cabins and the wheel stops frequently to let people in and out of the cabins.
Wheelchairs cannot get into any of the cabins because having got you to the door, there is a high step to negotiate.
Once inside, there is a good view of the structure,
the amusement park,
and of course Vienna
both old and new,
and of course your fellow passengers.
Our trip back to the UK was straightforward
although unnecessarily rough at Bratisalava Airport security.
Ground assistance to the wheel to the bottom of the steps
and two firemen were there to deal with the steps
and Ground Assistance were just as good when we arrived back in the UK as they were on the way out.
We had a great time in Vienna and would strongly recommend it for a short city break. There is a lot to see and do and the most important sites are close to the centre.