Happy New Year!
WHO said you need to go to New York for the big party, when an equal size one is happening in Vienna!
Vienna's 2012 New Year's celebration was expected to host around one million people counting into the New Year together.
For perspective, the same number of people were expected to see the ball drop in Times Square, New York.
I arrived in Vienna on the 27th and it was already bustling with people ready to celebrate. Smiles and laughter in all directions and, of course, tour bus after tour bus showing the castle city to the tourists.
Walking through the streets was like visiting a zoo, people of all types running around in a frenzy trying to take in as much of Vienna as possible.
The metro was like a giant group hug, so crowded with people you couldn't see your feet.
Hours and hours of waiting meant you couldn't even enter most restaurants, though we did eventually found a little Italian place. While it took a good 40 minutes to get a plate of food, it was worth it for such incredible food.
As the 31st arrived my agenda was full with an incredible last day of the year. To start with a show from the Spanish Horse Riding School, which left me gobsmacked wondering how those angelic white horses performed such a beautiful show.
A definite must see in Vienna, if you can get tickets - beware though you will probably have to book in advance. I had a standing ticket which cost only 30EUR, the one row of people sitting in front of us paid EU120+ for their ticket. I would recommend the EU30 ticket as the view is pretty much the same and really is a show worth going to.
My afternoon continued with a walk around the city, stopping a few of the traditional New Year's market stalls. Every 10 metres you would find someone trying to sell you anything with a four leafed clover, a pig or a lay bird; as they symbolise luck to the Europeans. If I didn't have the space left in my luggage in mind, I would of definitely vouched for one of the lit up pig hats!
The party started at 6pm with the million people filling up every centimetre of the streets. Crowding in front of stages with DJ's or singers, the night was off to a great start. People were dancing everywhere, a punsch in their hand and laughter coming out of every person in sight - whether a 5 year old girl or a 50 year business man.
Crackers and Fireworks had been going off since 6am, as it is legal to buy them. Every family invests an average of 50EUR into fireworks for New Years, meaning the whole day was a constant fireworks show from the people of Vienna. Crackers were being blown up hundreds by the second, the whole day sounded like a scene from war. The sounds of gun shots were ringing in in my ears throughout the whole day.
At around 11pm it seemed like it was broad daylight, the fireworks taking over the role as the sun. Fireworks were going of left right and centre everywhere you looked. It was such an incredible at the roof top party I had then continued to. Holding a camera in each hand, filming in every direction - you had no idea of where to look as the whole 360 degree view offered such an incredible view on every angle.
The fireworks continued non-stop until around 1am, where it started to calm down. Although even at 8am the fireworks were still going off. At midnight there was no firework show like in Sydney or even Mooloolaba beach, as the people of Vienna really created a show of their own.
Something so magical as you were really part of it, lighting up your own firework and watching it shoot into the air, ending with a huge BANG! It outdid any of the Sydney fireworks and whilst sitting on top of the rook I could not think of a better, magical and happier way to start the New Year. Feeling like nothing could ever compare to this moment, it then became reality that I was flying out to New York the next day. A helicopter flight over Manhattan the day afterwards.
"Big lights will inspire you"
Whether those lights were the fireworks or will be the skyline of the big apple, it was the most inspiring and perfect way to begin 2013 - who said 13 was unlucky?