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.)
The 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.
Yet, 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).
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.
Fortunately, 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.
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!
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!