What a way to start a new year! Just before midnight I was still making my way through the rain and the crowds towards “La puerta del Sol” (“Gate of the Sun”) in the very centre of Madrid! It is tradition in Spain to eat twelve grapes at midnight and to make a wish for the year ahead – and I had been informed that the best place to do this is the city centre with thousands of other Madrileños…or more like tourists! All my Spanish friends told me I was both brave and crazy when I shared my plan with them…and trying to get to Sol before midnight I realised why: the police had blocked off a couple streets making the walk a bit longer and there were really LOTS of people! It was like there actually wasn’t any room to move right or left…I tried calling the two German friends I had meant to meet up with and somehow managed to understand where they were and then miraculously actually managed to reach them! One minute after midnight by my watch…so I quickly stuffed the grapes in my mouth, wished them all a happy new year and got the Cava (sparkling wine) and plastic champagne glasses out of my backpack. Cheers and all the best for 2013!
It was fun and a bit crazy…I’d also brought Wunderkerzen (sparklers) and once part of the crowd had disappeared, we lighted those and enjoyed the flames’ pretty lights….and then soon after that I left my friends, who wanted to go party with another group of students from our University, to go to another friend’s house where a chillax/games night was planned with young people from my church. It was lots of fun! We were ten people and just started chatting, eating yummy snacks, playing various games and sharing what was the best thing of the year past and what we had planned for the year ahead and praying together for God’s blessing for 2013. The hours went by unnoticed and before I knew it it was already 5am…at around 6:30am I decided to head home to get some sleep and had the brilliant idea to do so on foot! I love walking through the streets at night and even though it was already early morning, it was still dark enough to enjoy the city lights! On the way I met a lot of men and women in uniforms with broom and shovel cleaning the streets, emptying the garbage – they impressed me, how they did their work and how they didn’t complain…I chatted with some of them and their friendliness and positive attitude in helping me out with directions or just wishing me a “Feliz año nuevo” just about made my first day of the year!
I arrived home after walking about one hour and forty-five minutes – but I must add that I walked at a leisurely pace, stopping here and there to take pictures or to buy a churro at a churreria… (churros are a typical Spanish breakfast/snack – explanatory post coming soon…)
So having arrived at my flat, I tried opening the door and realised that there was a key on the other side hindering me from using my key…it was 8:30am on the 1st January 2013 and I did not want to wake up everyone by ringing the doorbell…so I went for a little walk around the block until I found a bar that was open and had a delicious breakfast there – hot chocolate and croissant =) What a lovely way to begin the new year!
I hope you also had a great start to the new year and wish you an amazing year of 2013 with lots of fun times and strength and wisdom for whatever lies ahead of you! God bless ya!