Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Postcard Wednesday-- Prater Riesenrad, Vienna, Austria

I had a pen pal in Austria.

We wrote sporadically from 6th-8th grade, then lost touch. She is on my mind each Christmas when I unpack the one gift I have from her (I wonder what I sent to her.....something nice? nothing at all?), a candle holder accented with tiny pine cones. Since Francessa (Francessa's Thinking blog in Vienna) and I have become friends over the past blogging year I've wondered where the old letters from my pen pal might be stored, and I came across them in one of my file cabinets last week. I saved fewer letters than my memory told me I did, and I'd forgotten that she sent quite a nice group of postcards, adding a note that said she hoped I didn't mind if some of them were used. Today's postcard is one of them.

Francessa has already checked on my pen pal's girlhood name in the town where she wrote the letters. No luck so far. But the search is on for Rosmarie Gugler who lived in Mauer-Ohling, Austria, in 1962.

A site called Vienna Waits for You, in a page of info about the Giant Ferris Wheel and the new Prater Ferris Wheel Square, begins: You may want to visit this landmark of Vienna in the footsteps of the immortal movie “The Third Man” or simply enjoy the view of the city from almost 200 feet up. One thing is certain – only when you have taken a ride on Riesenrad are you really in Vienna!

A tourist who did exactly that provides a review at this site:

Well, the first thing to recommend about the Riesenrad - or giant ferris wheel to you and me - is that it was built in 1897 by Walter Basset, an Englishman! Hurrah!! It has become one of Vienna's most iconic landmarks solely due to the famous film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel 'The Third Man'. It might not be sought out by thrill-seekers but it certainly is by film buffs. If you haven't seen the film you might find yourself seriously underwhelmed, but if you've long savoured Joseph Cotton's celebrated scene with Orson Welles you wont leave the city without taking a turn on the wheel. . . I braved my rather sad fear of heights to go on the Riesenrad and was remarkably calm until the wind rocked the closed wooden carriage as we rested at the 12 'o clock position. Hardly bungee-jumping I know but I was suitably pleased with myself..and no, I'm not going back on it!

One further word, the Prater park is perhaps a touch on the seedy side (quite safe though) - aren't most funfairs?- and hardly in an elegant part of Vienna, so perhaps a daytime trip is best for the faint-hearted!

So, of course I wanted to include a scene featuring the Riesenrad from the 1949 film-noir, The Third Man, the mystery thriller that won the Oscar back then. (No, I haven't seen this movie, and, yes, I sure will after this.) The video clip I found at You Tube is really choice, not only for the perfect film it glimpses but for the oh-so strange English subtitles offered. When I read this quote below from the movie, well, you'll see ....... Grab a seat and enjoy!

Opening narrator
: I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better.
[Scenes of black market goods changing hands] .........

......... Now the city is divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power: the American, the British, the Russian and the French. But the centre of the city that's international policed by an international patrol. One member of each of the four powers. Wonderful! What a hope they had! All strangers to the place and none of them could speak the same language. Except a sort of smattering of German.

Graphic by Webweaver


the watercats said...

Wow!.. I've got to see that movie now!.. I love these posts of yours, I especially enjoyed the subtitles, I wonder if Yoda was the translator? It makes the whole clip sound like a zen!.. love it! I hope you manage to find your old pen-pal, it would be a really interesting and exciting thing to do, to see how each other ended up!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

There can't be that many people out there with that name - so have pity on me who would like to get in touch with my childhood friend Louisa Smith

Now that's a difficult name to find! Absolutely millions of them!

Best of luck and great postcard xx

Terry said...

Oh my how wonderful !
Thank you for sharing such a sweet
postcard .I do hope your girlhood pen pal is found soon .That would be so much fun for all of your blog followers :)
Your post card is truly a delight.
I also liked that you found the U- Tube clip .I have this sort of love hate with Joseph Cotton. I don't like him as much as some of the other older film stars but than what happens I see him in a rare old movie scene and feel compelled to watch and than I end up liking his perfomance wanting to see more.
Such is life.
Have a lovely day.

Looking to the Stars said...

Lydia, what a neat postcard! My feet have never left U.S. soil but my husband went to Europe in 1978 with his grandmother, he was 17. I showed him your postcard and he said yes he remembered it. You could see it from anywhere in the city because its so huge. He has very fond memories of Austria. :)
Hope you find your pen pal, that would be soooo cool :)

Darlene said...

Because of my hearing loss I thought I would appreciate having sub titles, but they were so garbled that I just started listening to the actors instead. The translation reminded my of my very poor translations of Latin.

I saw this giant wheel from a bus as we crossed the bridge in Vienna. You really have to see it to realize how big it is. I didn't have time to ride it, but would have loved to.

Rhiannon said...

Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton! I'm writing the name of the movie down right now. I loved ferris wheels. Orson was such a great actor and producer.

I loved Orson in the original "Jane Eyre"..."Jane, Jane"!..sigh..:o) one of my favorite moves and books by Charlotte Bronte along with Pride & Prejudice movies and the P&P book by Jane Austin.

I thought you might be interested in the new post I just posted today on my blog. Did you watch this on PBS "Nova" last night Lydia? It was interesting...very very interesting..I found it rather spiritual for some reason. I thought of you and thought you might like can download the PBS Nova show on the web site I put in the post.

I'm going to start collecting old postcards from the late 1800's again. I remember about 20 years ago I found this family type photo albums from the late 1800' was also like a diary with notes and thoughts and dates written down by the mother and all the names of everyone and their history. The brown book was bound with old ribbon or string and very very fragile. As I read through it through the years I felt as if I knew this family..odd how we can somehow at times feel this connection with others that lived "in another time" isn't it? I still don't know where this family photo album "diary" is I lost it somewhere in all my moves across the country. Maybe some day one of my two ex's might call me and say "oh guess what I found something of yours".

All for now Lydia..:o)




Owen said...

Hi Lydia,
I am SO SLOW sometimes, I only just realized tonight that you left all those lovely kind comments on the older posts about Robert Service... I checked off in the "comments" options where I would have to moderate comments on posts over ten days old, so I wouldn't miss them on back posts, and then I missed the notice saying there were comments to moderate... what a basket case I am ! Anyway, I saw them finally, and I thank you. Service is wonderful ! Did you by any chance find "The Three Bares" poem he did that I posted way back there ? Or you can find it on the web page that has all his poems typed out.

Anyway, really appreciate your visit(s), and enjoyed tremendously this piece on Vienna and your pen pal, hope you can find her. How lucky we were when little to have been able to write real letters... today e-mail just isn't the same. I can still remember how some letters smelled, when their senders were kind enough to put a few drops of perfume on the paper...

Lover of Life said...

You never know - maybe you thinking of her will spark something in her and you'll find each other again. I don't think you saved those letters for no reason.

Lydia said...

@EVERYONE- For me, the two funniest translated lines in the video are the ones spoken in German to the men as the woman is taking their tickets to board the ride. She says something that is translated as "The Turkish person of rash?" .... and I highly doubt that is correct. Then one of the guys responds to her and she replies: "Vielen Dank" which means Thanks a lot ... only the translation says it means Meat of oh calf!

Thanks for your well wishes and your interest in my attempting to find my old pen pal. I'll certainly post about it if I ever do.

@the watercats- I've been laughing to myself all day about your "Yoda" comment. You're right about the English translation taking on a Zen parable feeling.

@Pixies- I believe you might have great difficulty in finding someone names Louise Smith. But it's not impossible with the internet...

@Terry- Your comments about Joseph Cotton were fascinating. I never thought about him or my reaction to his acting, but I sure see how you could feel the way you do.

@Looking to the Stars- Thanks for showing the card to your husband. His memories added to the post!

@Darlene- Your comment about the translation cracked me up! I'm impressed you know enough Latin to have trouble translating!
Your memories of seeing the Ferris Wheel also added to this post. Thanks.

@Rhi- I had the same reaction to the clip...gotta see the movie!
I'm reading comments again and realize that I didn't go to the NPR website to see about last night's Nova presentation. I didn't see it, darn.
That's exciting that you will be collecting postcards from the 1800s. I'm so sorry you lost that wonderful album.....

@Owen- Well, you are hardly a basket case! I'm glad you got my comments because I really wanted you to know how much I enjoyed those posts on Service. It was a real getaway reading them and seeing the photos. Yes! I did read The Three Bares, and of course was delighted and satisfied with his spelling of Bare afterward. :)
I agree about the joy and sensual impact of real letters. On topic, I recently became a follower of this interesting blog: The Missive Maven.

@Lover of Life- I agree. Unfortunately, it is the fact that I saved too many other things that even kept the letters from being easily found. My clutter clearing continues...

Rhiannon said...


"Parallel Universe, Parallel lives" will be on again on PBS on Saturday at least it states that in my local check your local listings also.

I have more info about other times it's on this week which I added to my post. I really think you will enjoy this program if you do end up watching it.

G'nite..time for bed..


The Missive Maven said...

Thanks for the link to my letter-writing blog - I really appreciate it!

Marie Reed said...

The subtitles are a hoot! I was mesmerized by them:) Now I have the bug to search for Rosemarie Gugler.I wonder if she's in Germany? I'll look through the online phonebook there too:)

Lydia said...

@Rhi- I promise to come read and look into your recommendation.

@Missive Maven- I hope to call on you as my letter-writing muse to catch up on some correspondence in the next week!

@Marie- A hoot they are indeed! I'm thrilled you have the bug to search for her. I always thought her name was Rosemarie, but her writing truly does look like Rosmarie...which could have been simply difficulty translating to English. I'm going to search under both of those first names. Thanks much!

Sheila said...

What a wonderful series of memories from that card. I do hope you find your pen-friend. That would be so exciting!

Daryl said...

What a neat card .. I like that it was turned sideways for the message ...

francessa said...

Lydia, I had to laugh so hard at the subtitles! The Turkish rash is the woman's question "2 Stueck?" (2 tickets) and he responds "geht in Ordnung" (that's ok).

Thanks for this great post! The card of the Ferris Wheel is beautiful! And I can really recommend the film!

For those who might want to come to Vienna, there's a tour along the places from the film. Here's a link to the film and the tour.

I'm still looking for Rosmarie. But who is Lisi Liebninger?

Sorry for not being here for such a long time. The last weeks were horrible! You'll get a mail tomorrow!

Robin said...

Your postcard is lovely....

and that film....too funny.

"Today old is vigorous?" huh? :-D

Have a beautiful weekend.

Postcardy said...

Never saw the movie. I'm impressed with the postcard, but probably would be afraid to go on the ferris wheel.

Lydia said...

@Daryl- PFF has passed but I'm wishing you a great weekend. Thanks for your visit. :)

@Francessa- I thought that the subtitles would be a distinct pleasure for you. I laughed so hard! I'm sorry to hear the last weeks have been troublesome. You've been on my mind.
Lisi Liebninger is someone not of consequence in our search for Rosmarie Gugler. In her letter she asked if I minded that some of the postcards she sent would already be used. This card was one of those. I do, however, hope that Lisi has had a happy life since 1962! :)

@Postcardy- I am terrified of heights. When I finally get to visit Francessa someday I'm not sure whether I'll ride the thing or not. :)

Lydia said...

@Sheila- I just scrolled up to make sure I had replied to everyone and so sorry I missed you! You can rock the chair at the top of the Ferris Wheel to get back at me!

Lydia said...

@Robin- Gads, I missed you too. It's almost 1:30 a.m. and I can tell I need some sleep! In other words: tonight old person not so vigorous!
(These subtitles will remain a secret code here at my blog for all of us who watched the video!)

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Great post and movie! The postcard from your pen-pal is wonderful. I hope you will be able to find her. Surely, with the entire world on the internet, you will! Happy PFF!

Lydia said...

@Judith- Thanks for being here and for your comments about the post and my pen-pal. I think you are quite right that it's possible to find her!



Related Posts with Thumbnails