I have celebrated New Year's in Canada, the United States, Denmark, Mexico, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Poland, Italy and now Spain.
Though we did the traditional 12 grapes at midnight neither one of us wore new red underwear - never thought to get anything red when I was buying things to replace my lost luggage (more about that later).
The couple dining next to us were Madrilenos of a certain age who said they had never been to Puerta del Sol on New Year's Eve and were going to do it this year. One of the gentlemen said it was something everyone had to experience once. We gave it a pass.
But we did toast the New Year, each other and all our dear friends in fine style. After much searching on the internet - many restaurants here are closed on New Year's Eve - Laurent had booked a table at Divina la concina, a restaurant in the Chueca district. Almost from the minute we arrived and were greeted by the D&G jean clad, suspender-ed, exposed hairy chest in a white shirt, number 1 razor buzzed, bearded hunk of a maitre d' any qualms we may have had about exchanging kisses at the stroke of midnight evaporated. Other diners included a mix of straight and gay couples and people with their biological or chosen families and in a few cases a mix of the two. The ambiance in the room was elegant without being stuffy - some people - us - were in jacket and tie, others in jeans and t-shirts. And I should mention the beautiful Napolitano presepe that filled one wall - you know by now what a sucker I am for presepe. It was a warm friendly atmosphere and , the wait staff - male and female - were both eye candy and consummate professionals and the food and wine excellent. One of the waiters counted off the twelve strokes to midnight on an enormous gong and we ate a grape at each stroke, raised our champagne flutes, kissed each other and exchanged good wishes with those around us.
It was a stellar way to end what has been a less than stellar year and begin what can only be hoped will be a good New Year.
01 gennaio - San Fulgenzio di Ruspe