Lots of pictures in this post!
We headed out to Plaza Espagne around 8pm on Saturday night. There’s a castle there called Castell de Montjuic that’s also a Museum of Catalan Art with huge fountains outside that start at street level and go up to the castle on the top of the hill! Every night they have a fountain show with music and lights and you can climb the hill and watch, looking down on all of Barcelona. It’s really incredibly beautiful.
Then we headed back to the grocery store for drinks, and picked up some dinner in a tiny local restaurant. When we got back to the hostel, we went up and got changed and made drinks for the Countdown! We stopped in the bar area to find this Japanese guy named Shigeke who was coming down to Plaza Catalunya with us, then headed out! Plaza Catalunya was full of people and it was so fun. We got a good spot in the middle of all the goings-on and and met lots of French people from Lyon next to us. We brought a bunch of grapes to the Countdown because it’s Catalan tradition to eat 12 grapes on the 12 stokes of midnight to bring in good luck for the New Year.
If you don’t finish them, though, you’ll have bad luck! We sold off some of our grapes to other Americans looking frantically for them, haha.
But there wasn’t really any fanfare of 10…9…8…etc. No fireworks either. Just a bunch of cheering when the clock tower started chiming and champagne bottles being popped over the whole crowd.
This is Stephen’s photo below….click on it to see more of his pics from the trip!
Here’s a little glimpse of the clock striking midnight bringing in the New Year!
We were shoving grapes in our mouths as fast as we could trying to get done before the chiming ended…seeds and all! That was a nice surprise finding out that the grapes weren’t seeded!! I had two New Years kisses and about a million French kisses (on the cheeks) with all the French people around us celebrating as well. It was a great way to bring in 2012!
We stayed talking with these guys for about an hour after midnight while everyone was just celebrating and having fun. They taught me a real French drinking song, which has definitely been lacking in my French life. After the outside celebrations, we went back to the hostel and celebrated with the other people back there, and then went out for a little bit more. We tried to make it to the East coast 6am New Year, but we passed out somewhere along the way.
The next day we got on the LONGEST regional train through Spain back to France and made it all the way from Barcelona to Perpignan on 10 euros (sometimes I love when French people don’t turn up for work)! **Note to anyone traveling in France…. if it’s a holiday, you can USUALLY always get away with taking the trains for free. Because no self-respecting French person works on a holiday to check your tickets.
Barcelona was SO much fun, I can’t wait to go back! (And to see it in the daylight.)