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【Weekly Topic】Memories of Amusement Parks - Wien, Wurstelprater

Weekly Topic: Memories of Amusement Parks

Oct 30, 2020

On a lovely late autumn day my parents packed the car with warm clothes, tea, a blanket - just in case we would need to wait on the border for a long time -, snacks and set out for Wien (Vienna). Our home town in Hungary's South-West, Kaposvár, is only a 4 hours’ drive away from the Austrian capitol.

Thanks for a smooth transit at the border between Austria and Hungary - this was back in the early 1990s, when Hungary was not yet part of the EU and we had to cross the border every time we went abroad - we were there in about 4,5 hours. It was a pleasant trip. I was sitting on the backseat, my parents chatted in the front, and music was playing.

In Wien my dad had a business meeting in the morning. During that time my mom and I walked around in the narrow elegant streets of the business district, observing the staunch old colonnades of buildings that have been erected during the time of the monarchy, when Wien was still the centre of an empire.

Afterwards we went for lunch to a nice and simple seafood place downtown, and then walked around in the shopping district. My parents purchased some new clothes and accessories, and I was lost in the toyshops. But what I was most excited about all day long was the anticipated visit to the Prater: Wien's large public park, where the Wurstelprater - the amusement park - is located. The park sports a large ferries wheel, and several other attractions. My favourite ones were always the haunted mansion and mirror labyrinth. I can remember the pleasant excitement of the scares and the genuine puzzlement among the tricky mirrors.

After all the excitement my parents bought hot coffee and I got a cinnamon cocoa, and we went for dinner at a local heuriger, a type of small enclosed vineyard/garden restaurant that is typical in Vienna. By the time we got into the car for the way home it was late in the evening. It smelled of wet fallen autumn leaves and I was utterly exhausted. My parents put me in my seat in the back and I slept through the long trip home. When I woke after a long sleep the next day, I could still feel the sticky fairy dust of the previous day's excitement.


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