Добро пожаловать к Вена!
Thanks to a pen-friendship initiated by a tennis colleague, i have the honour of welcoming Yulia Kraeva, a young lady from Moscow/Russia, in Vienna from December 31 until January 7. I always loved showing visitors around, and i haven't hit the tourist trail for quite a while, so I gladly took up the "duty" of being her tour guide. Since she'll be here for more than a week, and her hosts Heinz & Anna are pretty busy fostering their 4-months-old baby at the moment, i guess we'll have plenty of time to enjoy Vienna in all its diversity instead of just ticking off the most important sights. In a way, visits like these give you the opportunity to rediscover your hometown and appreciate the fact that you live here and not elsewhere. So I already took some time off work, and look forward to be spending a full week holiday - without even leaving the city.
As so many Russians - and Vienna tourists in general - Yulia is very interested in the classical music department and wants to see "the city of so many great composers". This gave me a reason to finally try out things I've never really cared about (but many people actually come here for) and i bought tickets for a classical music performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Beethoven's 9th symphony at the Konzerthaus) on January 1 and for a typical Viennese Operetta (Johann Strauss' "Fledermaus") at the opera on January 6. I'm really curious whether I'm gonna like it. I always thought of operas as an aquired taste, but merely being in this building for the first time should be reason enough to do it.
Apart from these 2 classical venues and the obvious trips around Ringstrasse, Innere Stadt, Schönbrunn & Belvedere I have also planned to see Orson Welles' black & white Viennese classic "The Third Man" at the Burg Cinema (followed by a ride on the ferris wheel of course), visit the Naschmarkt together, and include some interesting museum trips such as the Edvard Munch exhibition at the Leopold Museum or the Impressionism exhibition at the Albertina. Last, but not least, I've also added some recreational activites to our schedule, such as ice skating at the Wiener Eislaufverein (WEV) and relaxing at the only Turkish bath in Vienna, the Hamam at "Aux Gazelles"! I think it's a pretty good plan for 1 week, and I hope we get most of it done, without being under stress or not getting along. Communication might be a problem - i speak "njet" Russian, and her English needs improvement - but I think that might make it all the more entertaining for both of us! :-)