I just returned from a week in Cadaques, a town in
Since it’s a nature reserve with unique flora that carpets the rugged slopes, the only building beside the lighthouse is the Restaurant Cap de Creus, housed in a former administrative edifice. The restaurant, that features Catalan and Indian cuisine, takes reservations for the multi-course New Years Eve dinner which is amazingly popular. I didn’t make it – I was too busy dining with friends in Cadaques and then eating the traditional 12 grapes right before – but I heard they were packed. When we arrived at on the 1st we found about 15 people who had stayed all night – also very typical here. They were still dancing (the restaurant hosted a jazz big band on New Years Eve but the music transitioned to meringue as that band packed up) but now they were drinking café con leche rather than something stronger. It was cold outside with a bitter wind so my three friends and I waited in the restaurant until as more and more people gathered.
Outside, musicians with a variety of wind instruments set up as did those who would lead the national dance of Catalunya: the Sardana. At the band members started playing and several circles of dancers formed, each member’s hands were linked to the other and all had their arms raised high. Near the band, women set up long tables full of freshly-made and steaming thick hot cocoa and almond coffee cakes and biscuits. We warmed our hands with the cups of hot chocolate while staring out across the rough seas, hoping the thick cloud cover won’t obscure the event. I noticed that many people came prepared with blankets and sleeping bags and carried these partly down the rocky slopes where they perched, waiting for the big event. Others walk out to the edge of a rocky headland. Finally, a thin strip of pale yellow light appeared in the east. To the right, a tiny ball of orange. The crowd registered a collective “ahhh.” The dancing, cocoa drinking and almond cake munching continued until around 9 a. m. when most people wandered to their cars and we decided that, since we couldn’t feel our feet, it was time to get back into the car. Of all the things I’ve done to celebrate the New Year, this was probably the loveliest. A sure way to not only get in touch with