Riding Vienna’s Riesenrad

The opening stop on our recent European trip was supposed to be Vienna. Instead, a delayed flight from Toronto meant we spent the first evening of our holiday in Mestre railway station outside Venice, and didn’t get to Austria until the following morning. (But that’s another story – possibly worthy of a Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge post, sometime in the future.)

IMG_0375The point is, our time in Vienna was significantly shorter than we’d originally intended. We ran around the Austrian capital like crazy things, trying to fit as much as possible into our limited timeframe (although, when don’t we do that?), but some ‘must-do’ items still had to be culled from the list.

However, something that was never at risk of being left out, was a ride on one of Vienna’s most famous landmarks…

The Riesenrad (literally, Giant Wheel) has been gracing the Viennese skyline since 1897. At 212 feet tall, it was the tallest existing Ferris Wheel in the World between 1920 and 1985.

IMG_0431Yet, while undoubtedly a ‘big’ wheel, compared to similar structures built before and since, the Riesenrad isn’t exactly a ‘giant’. For example, the original Ferris Wheel was constructed in Chicago five years before the Riesenrad and was 52 feet taller. The current record holder, the High Roller, opened in Las Vegas earlier this year, and is a whopping 550 feet tall.

And I’ve personally been on the London Eye, which is 443 feet tall, making it more than twice the height of the Riesenrad. (The Eye also features in Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London, by the way).

The London Eye

The London Eye

But none of that matters (except the bit about the London Eye featuring in one of my literary adventures, of course), because you simply can’t go to Vienna and not ride the Riesenrad!

Our day in Vienna was hot and humid, so it was no surprise that a series of thunderstorm cells descended on the city around sunset. We managed to get to Prater, the park that’s home to the Riesenrad, before the rain started. But as we waited for our turn to ride the wheel, a torrential downpour drenched our part of the city.

IMG_0480Fortunately, the waiting area was under cover, and the deluge was short-lived. So by the time it was our turn to board a cabin and ascend into the Viennese night sky, the storm cells were already bothering other areas of the city.

Here comes our cabin

Here comes our cabin

All aboard!

All aboard!

Up we go!

Up we go

View out across Vienna

View out across Vienna

Over the top!

Over the top

Down the other side

Down the other side

Don't look down... too late!

Don’t look down… too late!

Our slow but exciting circle through the humid Austrian darkness was punctuated by lightning storms competing in the distance. You couldn’t have wished for more!

This post was inspired by the theme Wheels, from Cee of Cee’s Photography.

If Vienna’s Riesenrad has put you in a spin, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Riding Vienna’s Riesenrad

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    These are great fun photos. And yes your first shot would most definitely worthy of a which way photo. 🙂

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    I really enjoyed the history of the wheel and comparison to more contemporary ones. We rode the Las Vegas one and took many photos of the London Eye earlier this year.

    • Jaspa says:

      Thanks, Sue! I love history almost as much as I enjoy geography. I could have gone on and on about the fascinating stuff I discovered about Ferris Wheels while researching this post, but didn’t want to send people to sleep!

      For example, I was surprised to learn that three Ferris Wheels pre-dated Vienna’s Riesenrad as tallest in the world, and it only inherited the title when the others were dismantled.

      PS. I’ll definitely have to ride the High Roller in Las Vegas one day!

  3. Amy says:

    Great night light captures! Really cool images, Jaspa. Love the riding.

  4. Pingback: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wheels | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

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