Friday, December 27, 2019

New year's happiness around the world comes in lights, locks, libation

New Year's Eve lights are spectacular in Bangkok, from the beautiful hotels and a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River.
Times Square in the distance will soon be aglow and visited by
by thousands to watch the ball drop in central New York City.


  We witnessed a New Year's Day proposal on a Melbourne bridge.  Aussies 
use "love locks" to declare their affection. The keys get thrown in the water.


WE HAVE logged many splendid holidays abroad. It's a fun way to make new friends and learn new traditions. Some favorite memories of the last week of the year:
Down Under, New Year's falls in the summer. So Aussies like to slip a shrimp on the barbie and take a stroll sometimes to add love locks to the bridges they so cherish:
Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge, Melbourne's and Brisbane's several distinctive ones. During the holidays -- even more than the rest of the year -- young Australian couples use padlocks to engrave their names or a message, attach them to a bridge, then throw the keys into the water below.
AUSSIES TAKE credit for inventing the now worldwide  phenomenon but we've also seen love locks on bridges in Europe, the U.S. and South America, particularly Buenos Aires, on El Puente de La Mujer, or Woman’s Bridge which is said to represent the voluptuous shape of a female tango dancer.
DURING A TANGO dinner show one New Year's Eve in Buenos Aires, we feasted on empanadas, flavorful Argentine steak and an inexpensive, delicious red wine.  
The Bay Area's Filoli Historic House and
 Gardens dresses up Christmas-New Years 
week.  Here, Cookie and Keller enjoy.
In Barcelona one New Year's Eve, we joined friends in a splendid paella feast then at midnight, we ate 12 grapes each for good luck, one for each stroke of the clock. Filipinos put their spin on this fruity tradition, too. Philippine tradition is also to eat 12 plums, berries or grapes at midnight. They also believe polka dots are lucky and wear lots of those.  The fun-loving Scots celebrate New Year’s Eve with Hogmanay, or “first-footing.” The first person who crosses a threshold of a home in the New Year brings a gift for luck. Scots also stage bonfires where people swing giant fireballs on poles. This symbolizes the sun and purifies the coming year. Adult beverages are usually part of the fun.
Buffets in Bangkok's best hotels are lavish and detailed.
Here, fruits and vegetables in holiday colors abound.  
WE TOOK our half-Scottish great-niece and nephew and their Scotch-Irish-English parents during the holidays to Filoli Historic House and Gardens. If you're in the Bay Area, soon, do visit this splendid 654-acre estate in Woodside, you'll be treated to a fairyland of lights and holiday decorations, a dozen beautiful Christmas trees and a splendid light display. It's 25 miles south of San Francisco, worth the drive.
Corned beef and cabbage, with onions and potatoes usher in
the new year in Irish homes here and on the Emerald Isle. 
The Thai people love New Year's Eve, time for friends, feasting and fireworks. Bangkok's biggest countdown party is staged each New Year's Eve in front of the city's biggest shopping mall in the heart of the downtown. We once had New Year's dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, where spectacular food displays shared the spotlight with festive lights and decorations.
Melbourne, Australia, "Down Under," decks out its beautiful bridges
with holiday bows.  And the attire is summer clothes, south of the Equator.

Strolling the bridges is a popular New Year's Day tradition.

 IN IRELAND holiday pudding is often served on New Year's Eve, made with Guinness or Irish whiskey, whatever your pleasure. Corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onion are as traditional for Irish New Year as they are on St. Patty's Day in the U.S.
South Africans may break their fast New Year's with "khetum." It's rice, fish, chickpeas, yogurt soup, dried nuts and grape jelly desserts.
BUT HERE IS my favorite New Year's tradition, which we joined in once in Cartagena:  With two other couples -- new friends, one hosting us for dinner -- we honored their frivolous Colombian custom. In hopes of a travel-filled new year, we smilingly carried six empty suitcases around the block.

When you fly or cruise into Naples, you'll have an opportunity to visit
the spectacular Amalfi Coast. Consider that for your 2020 wish list.  
UP NEXT:  Where in the world should you travel in 2020? Be daring, do some homework. The new year offers a time to plan and dream, and travel hopes come in many  concepts and possibilities.  We'll share one of our favorite destinations and help you plan to get there yourselves as Naples and the Amalfi coast call us.  We'll have fun and be helpful, so join us. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, family, recreation and more:


  1. You two make the most of your time on Earth. Wonderful. This piece reflects your joy in life and the wonders of the world. Carry on.

  2. Cleveland GlobetrottersDecember 28, 2019 at 5:59 AM

    Happy and safe travels to you two in 2020. Look forward to seeing where you eternal wanderers will next explore.

  3. Wonderful variety of beautiful destinations. Thanks for fun story and lovely photos.

  4. Fun piece as always!

  5. We so enjoy your Marco Polo spirit of adventure.