New year in Lisboa. An exciting first for me. My girlfriend was arriving late in the afternoon on a flight from Poland where she’d been visiting her family for Christmas, so it was all a bit of a rush. But I’d been organised (for a change) and bought a bottle of bubbly and assorted new year trappings ahead of the event.
We got back from the airport, dusted ourselves down, ate, made ourselves look something approaching acceptable and headed for the metro.
One of the pluses of being in a capital at new year is the all night (more or less) availability of the metro. The minus is that about 50,000 other people also appreciate this and, as such, our normally 15 minute cruise downtown became a 35 minute crush. I would have taken a picture, but I couldn’t reach my pocket in the squash.
Piling out of the metro car at Rossio, we walked as 2 of a huge throng of people of all ages down to the Praça de comércio, where there was a huge free concert and fireworks for the main event. Excellent. At the arco de triunfo, the movement of people slowed to a dribble. Eventually we found our friends and a spot on the square, and waited for the remaining 9 minutes.
I popped the cork of my bubbly in advance, so as to enjoy the fireworks with a toast and a friend of mine passed around cups of 12 grapes. You have to eat 1 grape for each strike of the clock at 12 – no mean feat without planning. In Portugal, you’re actually supposed to do this with raisins, but this friend was with lots of Spaniards and grapes is their thing.
The fireworks kicked off and, despite a slow start, were eventually very impressive!
Not more than a few minutes passed before the band restarted and the party resumed. Happy new year!