Sliding into the New Year

Compared to our New Year’s Eve last year in Munich, Switzerland seemed like it slept through the “slide” into 2011.  (German speakers wish you a good slide into the New Year) Munich was like a war-zone, and bottle rockets and various explosive devices like the one pictured above would surely unnerve even the most fearless sober reveler.

Switzerland likes to temper itself, and everything from recycling to celebrating must be done orderly and Swiss-like.  Oh yes there were loud booms, and lights flashing, but all but one celebrant stopped igniting things at 00:30 on the dot.  The last hold-out must have been from Munich.

So close, and yet so different..

Some of the difference of our experience in Munich and Zurich could be due to our neighborhoods, as well.  In Munich we lived in Neuperlach–by all standards a residential and commercial section of town for the working family.  Notably, Neuperlach is also heavily occupied by immigrants: many Eastern Europeans and folks with Turkish descent.  Despite warnings from my German colleagues, we moved in happily and saved hundreds of Euros in rent for doing so.  The down-side?  Neuperlach loved its fireworks.

Our apartment now is firmly planted in suburbia, directly on the border of suburbs and rural life.  Though we live in a traditional apartment building, and this part of town is heavily occupied by Italian immigrants, explosive devices seem to play less a role in celebrating the new year.  Conversely, it seems our neighbors do like to celebrate every other night by letting their kids run and jump around until 11 at night–but I digress.

Order is a staple of Swiss identity.  Trains must run on time, and if they don’t residents cry foul.  Watches are intricately made and priced for that expected precision.  So it is no surprise celebrations would be tempered as well…at least in suburbia.

Last year in Munich we had been in our apartment just hours before the new year rolled through under star-bursted fireworks that set the sky ablaze.  This year we spent the night in our own place, with our own furniture, with faint celebrations outside, hardly distracting us from the Viennese waltzers broadcast from Austria.  Hardly.


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