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Edward O'Brien's Postcard From Vienna


Happy New Year, Montana! This is Ed O'Brien from the MTPR newsroom.

My wife and I are celebrating our honeymoon in Europe; specifically, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna. It's our first trip overseas and - wow, what a grand adventure! Woke up this morning to the sound of cathedral bells pealing across the city and the clop, clop, clopping of horse-drawn carriages for tourists.

My absolute favorite MTPR broadcast of the year is the annual New Years concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.  Our hotel is two blocks from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, which is the orchestra's home. It's such a lovely building in a city saturated with magnificent beauty.

Sadly, those prized and expensive concert tickets were sold out long ago by international lottery. We'll have to settle for enjoying the performance from the big screen TVs set up at City Hall. When I say "city hall", don't picture the place we typically visit to pay tickets or attend a local council meeting. Think more of a Gothic Cinderella's castle, with a splash of London's Big Ben.

Incidentally, New Years Eve in Vienna is a madhouse! Old and young are dancing in the streets to live music.  The drinking age is 16 - and strictly enforced!

Fireworks are everywhere - up in the air, pointed towards pedestrians, aimed for open windows... it doesn't matter. Ambulance crews and fire squads are posted on almost every corner. When they're not rushing off to some emergency, they're chatting and laughing with one other. And smoking. Good grief, the smoking! That, however, is a different rant.

The wise ones are the older locals who book smaller pubs and restaurants for private parties. All are dressed to the nines and looked very content and relaxed.

Despite our wonderful getaway, we very much look forward to returning to our beloved Montana.

May your 2015 be filled with good health, happiness and prosperity,

Edward O'Brien

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at and