Prater

When I was very small my paternal grandmother used to talk about going to the Prater, the ancient Viennese funfair with a giant ferris wheel. I never really understood what she was talking about, as the Polish words for Vienna and prison were virtually interchangeable in my childish mind – I knew she had lived in one and experienced the other, and somehow could make little sense of it all.

Many years later I saw the film of the Third Man and it all became clearer – after a fashion. The film is dark and menacing and not at all conducive to having a good time. Yet when Andrzej and Marysia and I went to Vienna a few weeks ago I was determined we should go and explore this extraordinary landmark.

It was a beautiful day, very hot in fact, and the funfair, was a long way away- but we got there. We were all a bit bemused by my insistence as none of us is keen on this type of amusement park, but I have to say it was worth it. If only for the romance of being somewhere which has remained very similar to the place my grandmother experienced over a hundred years ago.

Even the cafe we went to had signs that it had been there almost forever. The waiters still had old fashioned uniforms. The table we had was well placed to listen to and watch the little visiting orchestra.

It was lovely.

What was very noticeable was how clean everything was. Most of the signage and frontages had been freshly repainted. Most of it was still in 19th century style. Not everything of course. Even Vienna moves with the times.

I am not sure what this cow really represents (the four legged one), but it seemed such a symbol of joy and wholesomeness.

Unlike this lovely creature.
Or this one purporting to tell your fortune.

Or even this one which had my daughter in its thrall.

Having got away from the monsters we decided to have a go in some of the sideshows. we werent going to go on any of the rides, or even the dodgems, they all looked scary enough, but Marysia was keen to show off some of her skills.

Here she is zapping the basket ball machine. Very impressive.

This is the tiger we could have won if we had aimed the ball successfully at some rather dire tin cans. Very covetable.

We all had a go.

And this is the consolation prize.
After a spell at the races – you can just about see the horses in the background – Marysia received her consolation prize. We were beginning to amass quite a collection. I don’t suppose they were quite as tacky in my grandmother’s day, but who knows?
This little band added to our enjoyment.
And then it was time for the expert to show off his archery skills. I think he got a key ring for his efforts. Or maybe Marysia did. It was a day so full of experiences, I can’t remember them all.
These lovely creatures spun around in a very stately fashion as we left.
I’m not quite sure what this is, but its very garishness and gaudiness I found very attractive and symbolic of the whole unexpected afternoon.

Have you been to Vienna? Have you been to the Prater?

5 comments on “Prater

  1. Splendid stuff there at the fair 🙂
    The cow is advertising the village of Mühlbach am Hochkönig which styles itself as Das Bergdorf der Tiere or The Mountain Village of Aminals. It’s a family holiday resort with the emphasis on animals, petting zoos and the like. 😉
    Yes, I G**gled it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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