Ride Options in Vienna

By Julian Tanase

Visiting Vienna is like returning to some place you never visited. I know it does sound weird, but it is so nonetheless, because every time I come here I see a different face of the city and I feel humbled by the magnitude of its past and present. Vienna is a city that does not let you forget for a single moment that it stood as the imperial capital of one of the most important empires of our Europe’s late medieval period. The Habsburgs may have left the scene, but they have never left this city. Vienna is very much their legacy, among many other legacies. And every time I come here I have this feeling like I see the city for the first time. Given the multiple facets of it, it’s almost natural to feel so.

The following 4 photographs series is one that I composed with this city in mind. I felt they do deserve a few words, so for what is worth, here they are.

Camera employed this time was an Olympus OM1 MD with Zuiko 50/1.8, loaded with Tri-X 400, shot and processed (D76) at 250. Word to the wise: whatever camera you take with you, ensure you have a wide lens too. Mine was left at the hotel and much chagrin was caused by the lack of a wide glass. Next time I’ll take my Nikon F4 as well and have the AF Nikkor 35-105/3.5 D with me, as it would seem that this is a good lens to cover both the streets and architecture.

The posh ride option. Advisable, if you’re not in a hurry and decide to have a go around the place. Mind, not a long one, but pleasant and to be honest, it gives you the feeling of what was like to belong to a long gone class. The vehicle is a modern one, of course, but it is designed after those carriages of old. And if you love horses, like I do, it’s a bonus in this sort of travel choice.

Oh, btw: I do believe the driver in the main photograph is the spitting image of the Emperor Franz Josef. Check it out; I did, and the resemblance is uncanny.

The green ride. Most popular choice of going everywhere in the city, be you a tourist or a local. Plenty of bike tracks, with plenty of places where you are accepted to ride the bike (I mean places such as inner court yards of museums, palaces and whatnot). It is said (no idea if this is true) that there are at least 3 bikes for every resident of Vienna. By the number I’ve seen, that may be very close to the truth.

The bike is particularly useful if you use the narrower streets. Those are present almost everywhere, and to drive a car through the pipeline of a street is not fun. I should know, I did this and I ended up parking the blasted thing in the hotel’s lot and rented a bike. Very easy, you do it actually instant using your card to pay. What I have not seen in great numbers though are the ubiquitous electric bikes which strikes fear in tourists and locals alike, elsewhere in Europe. It would appear people here are more of a bike person, I guess.

The futuristic ride. Well, a futuristic bike of sorts, if I think about it. By far, the best of both worlds: ride a bike but not pedalling yourself. Some sort of a rickshaw with pedals, if you like. Really great option for transportation from A to B, provided A is not off 5 miles from B. Because if it is, well then, you better be patient in the Vienna traffic. Where you could go with a “normal” bike, this contraption is not going to get through. And I am talking here getting through between the vehicles in close lanes, very narrow streets, and so forth. This thing here will act like a side mirror collector, if going in tight places, if you know what I mean by that.

But it is fun; so much fun that I rented it like twice in a day, in order to take in the feeling of all sorts of wonderfulness near the Hof and other places I enjoyed visiting that day. However, when I asked the driver (for a better word) to take me on Kohlmarkt street, right in the centre of the city, he politely declined. I asked him why, and he told me that they are banned to enter with this type of vehicle in such busy places. Good to know.

The jail ride. Although in this time and age our old Europe is really worried about possible nasty surprises, I have not seen a lot of police or security in the city. OK, I wasn’t present or visited every place, but I would have thought that of all places, the inner city would be filled to the brim with the long arm of the law. Well, it wasn’t, apart from the easy going, leisurely strolling couple of police agents.

I especially noticed a real eye catcher, a female agent (the patrol consisted of a man and a woman); she looked like a model from Cosmopolitan: blonde, really nice, and smiling. And in the same time looking very professional, imagine that. I was on the move to have a photograph taken with her, but I was stopped in my track by my beloved better half. What can you do, our girls are ever so protective of their beloved partners 🙂 …

Later on that day, I realized why no visible police was to be seen on the streets: they were all having a reunion. As for the reason of it, this remains unclear, but by the looks of it, everyone was in high spirits, and no tension was visible. Which was all right, nobody needed that sort of scare. I’m joking, obviously.

Summing up, a truly good experience in Vienna, as with each past visits. Every time I am here there’s always something else to see, other places to visit, and most of times I’m like “was this here the last time?”.

Vienna, a city that one could fell in love with, without even knowing it.

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About The Author

By Julian Tanase
I am a traveller, entrepreneur, author and amateur photographer. A long time user of classic cameras and film, attracted mostly to photojournalism. I try to instigate people to see rather than look.
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Comments

Luke Kenny on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 27/01/2024

Love that first shot Julian. Great angle and perfect pose how his hands are resting. Did you ask for the portrait or was it candid?
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Jim on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 12/01/2024

I've been to Vienna a few times. Visually, it is a marvelous sight. The food is excellent. The pastries are to die for. Everything is "mit Schlage" ( with whipped cream). But the Viennese are not so inviting. Munich is friendlier and even the Parisians are nicer. We've always felt welcomed wherever we travelled and do our best to adapt to the local customs. But Vienna, not so much. I expect there will be negative responses to this comment and that's o.k. But give me Rome, Paris, Berlin, Madrid or London instead and Scandinavia any time. BTW, your images are excellent.
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 12/01/2024

I know what you mean, Jim; been there a few times, and had good and bad experiences with locals. That said, I try to understand them, the city is suffocated with tourists, at least all the summer. I have seen (rarely) attitudes like this in some other places (Italy, Spain). I try not to read too much into it, to be honest. So, yes, I know where you come from here, and I do agree. Thank you !

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Peter Roberts on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 12/01/2024

Great photos and write up as usual, Julian. A nice take on Vienna although I'm a little surprised you didn't have a slow spin on the Riessenrad at the Prater and call it The Sky Ride. Seriously though, I agree that there are situations where 50mm can be a bit inhibiting. Much as I prefer primes I do find my Minolta 35-70 f3.5 handy at times. Not only does it give a useful leeway either side of 50 but it's reasonably unobtrusive.
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 12/01/2024

True that, Peter. Narrow streets and such are a killer of the shot, if only armed with a 50. That said, it makes you think more careful, composition wise. Thank you !

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Geoff Chaplin on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 12/01/2024

You're so right! That cab driver in the first photo is very familiar - I'm sure I've seen him in London and in Brussels as well as in history books! Nice story an appropriate photos, thanks. Sadly I've only been there once and a long time ago, one of the great capitals along with Berlin and Rome.
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Steve h on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 11/01/2024

Very nice! You didn't just shoot pics of old buildings and statues like most will especially where you were! You shot tri x at 250. That's interesting. So that's how to tame the grain. I'm going to try it on my kentmere 400.
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 11/01/2024

Thank you, Steve; indeed, shooting Tri-X at 250 yields interesting tones.

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Michael on Ride Options in Vienna

Comment posted: 11/01/2024

Wow, you are right! The first gentleman looks exactly like Emperor Franz Josef. Wow ...
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Julian Tanase replied:

Comment posted: 11/01/2024

It does, doesn't he?

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