Stroll with me through the Wiener Wurstelprater and maybe you can then understand why I love coming here again and again. My name is Ingeborg and I will take you back to my childhood.
Back then, we children were always very excited when we went to the Prater with our parents. The name "Wurstelprater", as the Viennese call this amusement park, goes back to the character of the "Hanswurst". Anyway, we don't want to go into too much detail here. We also didn't care when the Ferris wheel was built (it turned for the first time on June 25, 1897, i.e. 125 years ago) and how much green space there is in the Green Prater. We only wanted one thing: use every ride if possible (several times if possible) and eat cotton candy until our fingers stick together completely. We also rode the ghost train, but we got the creeps and screamed loudly.
When we were older and were allowed to go to the Prater alone, we overdid it and just came home way too late. Our parents were worried and yes, there was long house arrest. After all, the Prater was considered an “unsafe place” and girls alone had no place there in the evening. A lot has changed in the last decades. New districts have emerged in Leopoldstadt around the Wurstelprater. There is the University of Economics, new residential complexes and high office buildings for well-known companies. The Messe Wien was also upgraded. 55,000 m2 of exhibition space and a large congress center can be found there. But back to my childhood memories. We really enjoyed driving the autodrome and we also loved the chain carousel. But the highlight was always the ride on the Wiener Riesenrad. From there you have a wonderful view over the whole of Vienna and it rotates very slowly. I would also like to mention the fascination of the “Zwergerlbahn”. This still exists and it is the oldest rollercoaster in Vienna. You drive past kitschy garden gnomes and at the end there is a wet surprise if you don't duck in time. But just try this adrenaline rush yourself.
Today there is a nice mix of wild rides and there are still lovely highways and little carousels for the little ones. On my 50th birthday I tried the "Ecstasy" and almost passed out. What a ride! I certainly won't do it again.
Nobody starves in the Prater either. In addition to the classic fairground delicacies such as cotton candy, boiled corn on the cob, popcorn and greasy langos, there are very cheap restaurants in the Prater. A schnitzel with fries is available for under 10 euros. Of course, the Schweizerhaus is also famous. It is said to have existed as early as 1766 as a Swiss hut in the Prater, which was not yet public at the time. It is known there for its shady outdoor dining area, the Budweiser beer and of course the crispy fried stilt (pork knuckle). Since I also live in the 2nd district, Leopoldstadt, I often go for a walk in the Wurstelprater. When friends are in Vienna, a visit to the Schweizerhaus in the summer is of course part of it. After that we actually always take the Grottenbahn. The lady who sits there at the cash desk always calls out “full throttle” at the start of the journey and then the train starts moving at walking speed and takes us through the fairytale world. The Grottenbahn is very old and has always put a smile on our faces since we were children. Nothing has changed to this day.
You can walk to the Wurstelprater from the hotel in just a few minutes. Enjoy the hustle and bustle there, the many different noises. Close your eyes, smell the toasted almonds and cotton candy and remember your childhood like I did. It's a hopefully nice memory!