I spent New Year’s Eve in Vienna in 2007 and really enjoyed it. Besides, a new city to add to my list of cities visited so far. Unfortunately, the weather was not so kind and I ended up spending most of my time in a museum close to my hotel and in the hotel itself. I walked around part of the city but on New Year’s Eve the shops closed early in the afternoon but treated myself to a sumptuous New Year’s Eve lunch at a lovely restaurant nearby. Walking around I had my umbrella out because it was snowing so hard. I could feel the excitement in the air and I wondered what laid in store by way of evening’s celebrations for the locals and for tourists like me. If it weren’t snowing I’d have probably taken a city tour but next time, perhaps.
I enquired at the concierge’s desk that evening whether the hotel was hosting a New Year’s Eve event or show, he said there wasn’t although the bar would be open until late. I asked if there were any events taking place close by. He told me there was a concert and dinner at a building close to the hotel. It could have been the Wiener Konzerthaus – but am not sure. I wasn’t paying much attention to that detail. I was most fortunate to secure tickets and off I went that evening wading through the snow. I was so happy I did. The dinner was alright, but the concert was excellent followed by a fantastic fireworks display at the back of the building. So with champagne glass in hand and armed with my camera I headed out to join other New Year revelers on the balcony at the end of the building.
A few minutes before 12 midnight the fireworks began to the beautiful and famous Johann Strauss II waltz, “The Blue Danube” composed in 1867 and performed in the same year on 9 February, 1867. I’ve known this waltz tune since I was 7 years old. To hear it in Vienna was something else. The evening was one awesome experience. I was emotional at times but in a positive way. I felt so privileged and grateful for being there at the fireworks display which was set to the famous waltz music and one of my favourite classical works. Simply memorable.
“The Blue Danube” is probably the first classical music I heard and have loved it ever since. I couldn’t help indulging in having the waltz played by an orchestra conducted by the world-famous conductor and one of Austria’s sons, Herbert von Karajan.