Ode to Spring

The Prater is Vienna’s version of Central Park—a massive, path-laced green zone that lies, depending on your perspective, either frustratingly outside the tourist part of town (i.e., the first district) or conveniently near the city center, in the highly-accessible second district (where I live, FYI). (The second district is the best of all the districts, but we can talk about that some other time.) Put another way, the Prater is located between the canal (previously an arm of the Danube) and the Danube itself (which actually is a redirected/reshaped arm of the river) (and yes, we can talk about that some other time, too)…..

Well. I seem not to be making much progress here. So, in short, the Prater is a giant park, with a straight pedestrian road—the Hauptallee—up its center, where carriages and joggers and cyclists and flaneurs and all manner of folk go up and down. There are restaurants and a giant ferris wheel (the Riesenrad) and a miniature train and an amusement park. Some amount of this last consists of relics from the 1873 World’s Fair (more about that some other time too—coinciding with a stock market crash and a cholera epidemic, it was a colossal failure). A lot of it is recent additions and new constructions. It changes often, and also remains very much the same. In the summer it’s a key attraction, and when warm weather (finally, finally!) comes, I’ll be going there in the evenings fairly often (miniature golf! beer garden!) and will write about it again.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share some pictures of how the amusement park looked a few weeks ago, under heavy snow. Part of the motivation here is that the (please, God) last snow of the year fell over the last three days and is just now starting to melt. Let me use these pictures as a farewell to Vienna’s atmospheric, austere, beautiful winter, and a greeting to spring.

Spring! Where the hell are you??

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