January 01, 2005

Another New Year's Eve, another morning after

An easy New Year's Day morning. Last night, we ate shrimp by the fireplace at our cabin in the New Hampshire woods. We were in bed by 11 and were up at 8 to greet the drywall guy who's going to make our cabin look like a real house. (The kids missed the drywall guy by three and a half hours. Adam and his friend, Thor, played Playstation until early 2005, and Regis Philbin kept Dana rapt until the Times Square ball fell.)

Many New Year mornings have found us waking in darkness in some city just tucking itself in after New Year's Eve revelry. We often take advantage of Christmas week school vacation to travel, and we usually fly home early New Year's Day morning. Locals' heads are just hitting their pillows as we wake in 4 am darkness to head to the airport.

By the time a city has turned quiet after its New Year's Eve celebrations, and our neighbors in the next room have passed out, and elevators have stopped disgorging loud, laughing groups into the hotel hallway, it's usually past two, and we catch a few teasing hours of sleep.

We try to ignore the festivities and turn in early, but we're rarely successful. There's too much temptation: technicolor fireworks pop and burst in the black sky over Wiesbaden, Germany's soaring cathedral spires; signs flashing multicolored holiday messages light the walls of our room in ancient Girona, Spain; chic, black-clad couples laugh and talk under our balcony overlooking La Rambla, Barcelona's vibrant pedestrian zone; Lisbon's well-to-do travel to their Algarve apartments where they host parties that spill into Albufeira's streets, and twentys0methings with boomboxes sit on the beach, their music and voices riding on the night air; lovers sit on Andorra La Vella's stone walls sipping champagne. They stumble home, leaving the bottle for the streetcleaner to pick up in the morning.