New Year 2017

Here in Germany, it has been 2017 has been here for about five hours now and on Times Square, that crystal ball should be dropping soon.

But first, let’s have some photos of holiday decorations at Roland Center mall here in Bremen.

Roland Center Christmas

Holiday decorations at the Roland Center mall in Bremen.

Roland Center Christmas

More holiday decorations at the Roland Center mall in Bremen.

Roland Center Christmas tree

A closer look at the big Christmas tree at the Roland Center mall. The Peek & Cloppenburg store in the background, one of the anchor stores, recently closed.

I’ve never been one for big parties (been there, done that) and with the heightened security concerns this year, going out to one of the big parties would have been even more of a hassle, since they probably wouldn’t let you in anywhere without extensive security checks.

So I went to a local Italian restaurant with my parents for New Year’s Eve dinner. They had a set menu. Here are some photos:

Antipasto misto

The first course of the New Year’s Eve menu was a platter of mixed antipasti.

Gnocchi with pesto

The pasta course of the New Year’s Eve menu was gnocchi with pesto.

Masala pork

The main course of the New Year’s Eve menu was pork medallions in masala sauce with mediterranean vegetables and potatoes.

Tiramisu

The dessert for the New Year’s Eve menu was Tiramisu.

Latte macchiato

And finally, a latte macchiato for the way home.

We got home at about a quarter to eleven with about an hour to go until midnight. I found that some of my students had sent me What’s App messages, wishing me a Happy New Year, which was very nice.

Good luck for new year

A lot of good luck symbols and a lucky clover plant for a happy new year.

Champagne New Year

The champagne is open, the glasses are full, 2017 can come.

My Mom’s glasses are vintage lead crystal BTW and really, really nice. Much nicer than mine, at any rate.

After a few sips of champagne, it was time for the fireworks. Now New Year’s Eve 2016/2017 has definitely been the most intense year for fireworks I’ve ever seen. Of course, this year we had the full legal sales period for fireworks from December 29 to 31, i.e. the full three days. Some years, there is a Sunday in the way and one day is missing.

The fireworks marketing was also more intense than in previous years. Most stores had extra flyers for their fireworks, Aldi – which is one of the biggest sellers of fireworks – extended their opening hours and apparently had videos previewing the firework effects on their website, which seem to have vanished now.

And there certainly was a whole lot of firework in my parents’ normally quiet semi-rural/semi-suburban neighbourhood. More than I can ever recall seeing there. By sunset on New Year’s Eve, it sounded like World War III had broken out outside and December 30 wasn’t much better.

As for why there was so much more firework this year, I suspect part of the reason may be demographics. Several families in my parents’ neighbourhood have school aged or teenaged kids who love fireworks. Plus, the Lebanese family who moved in a bit down the road had enough fireworks that the entire street was blocked with spent fireworks batteries. They kept shooting fireworks up to approx. 2 AM, long after everybody else had stopped. And the Russian family who moved into the house directly behind my parents’ after the elderly lady who’s lived there for as long as I can remember had to move into a nursing home not just started their fireworks early, they also had a New Year’s Night barbecue in the garden.

Another reason for the increase in fireworks this year might be that more and more people are opting for fireworks batteries, which offer more bang for buck – literally – than for single shot rockets and firecrackers. We only had a single battery this year, 100 shots (according to the packaging – actually, I think it was fewer) for 6.99 Euro. You really can’t beat that price, especially since the cheapest rocket pack cost 9.99 Euro.

Finally, I suspect that we weren’t the only people who opted to go only for dinner or stay at home altogether this New Year’s Eve. Terrorism fears and the whole heightened security circus probably put a lot of people off. Never mind that you can’t shoot fireworks in the party zones in most cities anymore – which is a good thing, because the risk of injury or accidental fires is much greater there. So the suburbs get more fireworks.

Photographing fireworks is always tricky, but I managed to get some good shots.

Fireworks

New Year’s Night Fireworks

Fireworks

More fireworks.

Fireworks

And even more fireworks.

Fireworks

Fireworks with a neat crackling star effect.

Fireworks

A fireworks battery in the process of firing.

And that’s it for tonight. A happy new year to all my blog readers and followers and may 2017 be a better year for all of us than 2016 was.

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