The Vienna skyline on New Year’s Eve resembles a shock and awe campaign; the normally reserved Viennese start their pyrotechnic madness in the early afternoon and by midnight the air is pungent with smoke, and the city filled with drunken revelers leaving their calling cards everywhere.

In our neighborhood, the “celebration” begins around 1400. That is, if walking along and dropping sound shells on the sidewalk, or throwing them against garage doors is your idea of celebrating. Riding on a tram our first New Year’s Eve in Vienna, in the afternoon, we were thrown forward when the operator rapidly braked for two obnoxious asshats who thought it fun to light fireworks on the rails and almost becoming tram jam in the process.  Later that night we took to the vineyards for what we hoped would be a spectacular fireworks display over the city. Instead, we counted down to 2013 by maneuvering legions of residents swigging Sekt and launching rockets at the sky and at each other. Never again.

Now, we have long retreated to our home by early afternoon on New Year’s Eve, still subjected to the warfare but, at least, not the warriors.  Poor Clayton Theodore becomes terrified with the first Snap, Crackle, and Pop, a sentiment shared by many dogs I am sure, and dashes to a corner of the house until the following day. Sometime around 0100 or so the Viennese are either toppled over drunk, have run out of things to explode, or both, and quiet settles over the World’s Most Livable City.

2017 dawned sunny, and when Clayton Theodore could no longer keep his little dog legs crossed we approached Türkenschanzpark with him carefully, the aroma of gunpowder still wafting in the air. To neither of our surprise…

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Sad, really, for such a cultured society.