New Years Eve in La Puerta del Sol

4 01 2012

I have thought for a while now that if you live in Spain, you ought to – at least once in your life – celebrate New Years Eve in Madrid at La Puerta del Sol.

After coming up to my place for Christmas, Anani had to work the week until New Years and I had a house guest. So we planned our Córdoba exit for the 29th. I drove my first time ever to Madrid, not only to the centre – but in an act of complete lunacy – to the Royal Palace arriving at 7pm. There are never more people in the city and on the road!

After dropping Matt to meet his sister we did a quick lap or two …. or 16 trying to find a park in the centre of a city of the third largest city in the European Union – in full christmas holidays. Sheets were closed and 6 lanes of traffic redirected, entire sections impassable and police everywhere.

So eventually, on the point of cracking it – we fled to the outskirts, parked Red in a business district and came back in by bus. We got to the accommodation around 9pm, dumped our bags and went out to take in the atmosphere.

Our accommodation was dirt cheap – a deal Anani found through a friend – but managed to be so economic by having 7 bunks to a room. I don’t think Anani has ever shared mixed accommodation. Having gotten into bed at 1am with only another couple of girls in the room, it was a bit of a shock when 3 6-foot something strapping germans walked in and started ripping off their t-shirts. But that was nothing compared to 4 in the morning when the light switched on and a girl came stomping through the room chased by 6 friends whispering ‘catch her!’. After reclaiming their tipsy friend and exiting the room after returning it to darkness they seem to have dried her out a bit before coming back in to proceed to unzip and re-zip every zip on each individual bag.

When we woke up the next morning, sheets lung off and sweating – given they maintain close to 26° – the girls gather for their launch on the bathrooms, 3 to each of the 2 bathrooms (for the entire hostel of 4 rooms) leaving them an hour later, flooded. Which is surprising given how many times we heard them declare they weren’t going to bother to do their hair “because if my hair is looking flat this evening, even if I have to miss a shop, I’m going to come back and wash it before we go partying tonight…!”

When we finally got going, we headed out to La Mancha to a pueblo where a friend of Anani’s works as a doctor. He took us for a tour of his town, the local castles, lakes and windmills before an awesome Italian before we had to return Red to his quarters on the fringe of the city.

Prepared for a second horror night, the room ended up incredibly quiet and we woke up refreshed the next day ready to chill in the city before heading out for Thai for lunch (So exciting!). Then for the evening we caught up with a bunch of Chileans and Argentinians for a fantastic meal before hot tailing it across town to be in Sol for the dropping of the ball. It was a mad crush getting into the plaza – to fall is to be trampled – but we made it with our grapes ad bottle of kiddy champas.

The countdown began, the ball dropped, I chased the peeled grapes in juice around their can trying to keep up with the chimes (memo to self – toothpick!) and welcomed in the new year.

The atmosphere was incredible, party everywhere. And to be honest, I left thinking this might be more than just once in a life time!

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