I assume, given the date, we all know what this means, right? In Hungarian, of course.

I hope everyone’s woken with stable heads and positive omens for 2006. I woke with a surprisingly clear head, sharpened more by some reading from Bret Easton Ellis’s stellar Lunar Park, remembering moments from the previous night, which culminated in a lovely, vaguely intoxicated walk with my girlfriend, her sister and brother-in-law, along the snowy Danube River, looking up through light fog at the orange-tinted lights of the Castle District in Buda.

It didn’t matter that the fireworks display in Vorosmarty Square was shockingly lame for such a grandiose city (turned out we were in the wrong place to see the “real” display elsewhere), or that the party we briefly visited made me quickly self-conscious: an all-Serb affair, I stepped into the crowded kitchen where 6-foot-tall men were singing raucous Serb songs until I said, “Excuse me.” At that point silence descended and I was the focal point of the staring (at least that’s how it seemed to me). I smiled, nodded, and then slowly and demurely backed up.

But none of this mattered; we were out and about, drinks were flowing, and I remembered again just how deeply gorgeous these old Habsburg lanes are, the Castle District and the wide, historic river—particularly when draped in snow.

And this is where I live my life. At that moment this was all that mattered. Sometimes life is right-on.

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)