When I’m not ranting about my inner feminist, the State Department, or ugly furniture, I spend a lot of time walking and hiking around Vienna, either on my own or with my favorite FSO. Yesterday’s excursion, on the first spring-like day of the year, was to the famous Vienna Prater.
In fact, the Prater is much, much larger. Formerly a Hapsburg hunting ground, the park was generously opened to the public in 1766 by the Emperor Joseph. Like most of Vienna, it has that Hapsburg look about it, with grand “allees” and various follies and lodges scattered about, including the Lusthaus, originally a 16th century hunting lodge. But there are also extensive walking and biking trails through the woods and along the little river that runs through the park.
The city of Vienna has a collection of well-maintained “wanderwegs” through parks and other sights, including the Prater. Unfortunately, they are not very well marked, but there is only so lost you can get with bus and tram stops so plentiful on the ground. We’ve learned to just go with the flow.
Yesterday, we accidentally got off the city trail and ended up at a derelict trap racing course. Next to it there was an area that looked just like an east Tennessee holler, with what I suspect were Irish gypsies in residence.The horses out on the track were very well cared for, but the people were living in shabby trailers surrounded by junk and trash. It was a very un-Austrian scene—except that each trailer had an identical, new-looking solar panel on top. My guess is that these were supplied by the city, perhaps out of sheer exasperation. (I would have liked to have taken photos, but there were some junkyard dogs that were kind of freaking me out, so we decided to skedaddle.)
The trail took about three hours, with a stop for cappucino along the way. On the way back to the car, we walked through the Wurstelprater to take photos. If you like creepy old amusement parks, this ought to do the trick! At $5 a ride, though, it is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, entry is free, and so is taking photos. Please enjoy them.