One of the reasons to travel is that you learn new things. And so far the most surprising thing TPP has learned is that at midnight on New Years, you basic steady, rational German becomes a pyrotechnical maniac! Yes, everyone rushed outside and after a toast, and maybe a kiss or two, the world erupted into a massive public display of fireworks that puts USA's 4th of July to shame. It was truly something to behold as the sulfurous smoke began to take on dimensions more like Ulm's famous fog. Who knew? Surely such a display will keep the dragon from eating the sun, or something? These were not professional displays; this was not a town's or neighborhood's display, this was everybody, and based upon size and number of the skyrockets, some very heavy ordinance was available to every Tom, Dick, and Franz. The street in this nice residential area became totally littered with the debris of dozens of diverse fireworks and choked with smoke. Now should you be a bit drowsy and tired, nothing like fireworks to reawaken you, and judging by the next reaction, setting off pyrotechnical mayhem is hungry work. BOOM! Happy New Year everyone from Germany!