David's Diary: Monday, December 31, 2001
New Year's Eve in Barcelona
Karalee and I are not ones for big celebrations on New Year's Eve, but being in Barcelona for New Years we did want to do something special. Jocelyn was babysitting on another boat, so we had dinner and then took Kevin and Allen for a walk up La Rambla. It was crowded with people and there were many street merchants selling beer, champagne, and grapes (more on that later). We walked back through the gothic quarter and were back at the boat by 11:00. We then settled the boys into bed. Our plan was to visit the local Irish Pub to see in the New Year. But Kevin got nervous without Jocelyn on the boat (she was only five boats away down the dock) so we almost didn't make it off the boat before midnight.
At 11:55 we made it to the Fastnet where the television was on and everyone was getting ready for the countdown to New Years. The custom on Barcelona is to eat twelve grapes, one per second during the last twelve-second countdown to New Years, and then drink Spanish Champagne to toast the start of another year. We are not certain how you manage twelve large Spanish grapes in twelve seconds, but we did enjoy a handful and the complimentary champagne. The area around Barcelona is world-famous for the production of champagne using traditional French methods of production.
We stayed for over an hour visiting with many people in the pub. One advantage of picking an expatriate pub for celebration is that everyone speaks English. But as the time wound down for us to head home, it was also a time for us to reflect on how special a year 2001 has been for us. Few people and even fewer families are offered the kind of adventure that we have experienced this year. It was a big decision and a lot of work to get us to the Mediterranean, but it has been the most wonderful time of our lives. We have got to spend a great deal of time together as a family learning a lot about each other. Home schooling has been a challenge, but has provided even more opportunities for us to learn who are children really are and for us to grow as both adults and parents. While we close the year with fond memories of what we have seen and done we are even more excited about the things we will experience in 2002.