La Noche Vieja

New Years Eve, Las Hortichuelas

New Year’s eve celebrations in Spain begin with with a late festive dinner. The eating and drinking is timed to end just before midnight so that the cava can poured and then the 12 grapes (for luck) consumed to the chimes of midnight. Then the party begins.

Las Guapas in Las Hortichuelas

Most bars close at seven so that the staff can attend the family dinner and reopen after midnight. We noticed that a few restaurants and hotels in the Cabo de Gata were offering a festive dinner package but these were expensive and also involved driving a fair way home in the early hours. We opted to go into Las Negras for an aperitivo and then join the festivities at the bar in Las Hortichuelas as this meant  driving only a few km, and most of this is down our track.

Indoor snow

The bar stayed open all evening as it prepared its own festive dinner for family members and were invited to join in. The photos describe a typical family “Noche Vieja”.

All ages present - the Sevillana

All ages were present. Young girls danced the sevillana while the older men clapped to the music.

Clapping to the music

We made our way home in the early hours beneath a black, Almerian night sky with a pin sharp moon and all the stars in the cosmos.


About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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