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Wonderful to be in Vienna again, elegant city, at the turn of the year. Wandering around near the Naschmarkt, a coffee house with a page-long list of different kinds of coffee on order. And on the next page, an intriguing entry: tiger milk. The milk was served hot in a simple straight-sided glass, at the bottom a tawny layer of honey, with a generous dollop of rum in the mix. Stirring the milk spread streaks of honeyed tigritude through the glass; together with the rum, a heart-warming concoction for a cold afternoon.
Later that night strolling through the beautifully illuminated festive streets in the pedestrian areas of the first district, there is an early hint of the crowds of tourists about to arrive in town to spend New Year’s Eve following the various stations of the Silvester Pfad, a new year celebratory trail that winds through the city with frequent stops for champagne, sekt, mulled wine, a selection of foods ranging from sausage stand fare to caviar, smoked salmon and, increasingly, choice vegetarian and vegan fare. There are stages where live music is played, ranging from classic to rock and pop and staid or lively dancing to suit one’s temperament. A fitting end to a year that started with work in a Habsburg castle, followed by retirement, the publication of two collections of short stories, a move to an idyllic tropical island with a population of around 6000 and no cars, and now back to this beautiful city for a short while.
What lies ahead in 2014? I don’t know, but look forward to it as eagerly as to the next page of an unputdownable book. I sincerely wish the same sense of excitement and anticipation to anyone who reads these lines. Good wishes and good fortune to you and yours in the new year!