01 January 2011

Ein Gutes Neues Jahr

After completing about two-thirds of my holiday travels without updating my blog, I became anxious that my readers would begin to lose interest and decided to post a partial update.  Right now I'm in a hostel in Hamburg resting from a long train ride that left Vienna at 6:30 am, just minutes after the ball dropped in New York.  Needless to say I'm rather proud of catching such a train, uncaffeinated, on the hangover holiday of the year.  

Despite having only about ninety minutes of sleep so far in 2011, I admit that I had an excellent Silvester - as Germans call New Years Eve.  Although I was sad to forego Dick Clark (or is it Ryan Seacrest?) and the annual Twilight Zone Marathon, I was happy to discover some new December 31 traditions with my girlfriend Maggie and a few of our friends from college.  Here are highlights from the last night's Vienna program (official and unofficial):

-Pouring molten lead into cold water to predict your 2011 fortune.  My glob formed itself roughly into the shape of a shoe.  Its meaning is open to interpretation.
-Hot punch
-Unsanctioned fireworks
New Years is a busy day for the purchase
of useless plastic trinkets
-Sadly, missing the Madonna cover show in Vienna's 1st District
-Buying lucky Austrian New Years totems: pigs, mushrooms, chimney sweeps, and clovers (seem  Irish...)
-Attempting to waltz to Strauss at midnight, failing due to lack of space and ability to waltz.

And the first vocabulary lesson of the New Year is einen guten Rutsch - a nice German New Years greeting that literally translates to wishing someone a "good slide."  I do not know the etymology of this phrase, but I suspect that it might relate to a champagne-related decrease in ability to walk (or waltz) properly.

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