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