While most people spent New Years in the warm at parties or celebrating with friends and family, me and Berkay decided to go up to London and watch the fireworks..
First we took a detour to the O2, where we had lunch at Chiquitos, I booked in advance thinking it would be busy, but we were the only ones in there when we arrived at 2pm, perhaps everyone was preparing themselves for the night ahead. We had a lovely meal, with nachos to start, then Berkay had a half chicken with piri piri sauce, and I had the piri piri chicken fajitas.
Well, if you can’t have actual Nandos, you might as well order the closest thing possible, right?
After lunch we headed straight to Westminster station on the train, we got there around 5pm. Everyone had warned us to get there early in order to get a good spot, we wanted to be facing the London Eye directly from Embankment, and not on one of the bridges like we had 2 years ago. It was a good job we got there when we did, as there were already people sitting down along the whole length of the barriers, apparently some had been there since 11.30am, crazy. We found a good spot almost centre of the London Eye, and there were only 4 people in front of us, so we had a good view.
We sat on our little fold up chairs and ate our snacks. For 7 hours. I still can’t quite believe we just sat there waiting for 7 hours, literally just staring at the London Eye praying the time would go fast, every dong of Big Ben we breathed a sigh of relief that another hour was over! We didn’t bring anything to amuse ourselves, we had no mobile or internet signal on our phones, and were very very bored. A few little arguments broke out over people pushing in and others complaining about being pushed and shoved, that amused us a little at least, it’s good to be nosey, or ‘people-watch’ as my mum calls it.
We were pretty cold, but thank goodness the rain held off til about 11.45pm. Everyone was too excited by then for the rain to bother them. We couldn’t move out of our spot for the entire 7 hours either, so no toilet breaks for us!
Finally at midnight, Big Ben struck and the fireworks started. They were really impressive. We had been told beforehand they were ‘multi-sensory’, each of us had a special wristband that lit up and changed colour in time to the music and fireworks, and fruit smelling spray, mist, bubbles and confetti were blown out by huge canisters, when the fireworks were red we could smell strawberry, when they were orange, we could smell orange, etc. It was definitely different! They lasted over 10 minutes and the sky was completely lit up, beautiful!
Trying to make our way back to the train station after the fireworks wasn’t so fun, hundreds of thousands of people all pushing and shoving, drunk people falling over, smashed glasses and bottles lining the streets, it was a real obstacle course, made all the worse by the rain making everywhere slippery. We followed the crowd of people and ended up in Trafalgar square, which wasn’t where we needed to be… but 4 somewhat helpful policemen later we eventually got there and boarded the packed train. By this point we were half asleep, freezing, busting for a wee and achey, but it was all part of the fun.
Not a drop of alcohol was consumed but we still had a fab time and got some great photos. Can’t say that I fancy waiting another 7.5 hours next year though, the fireworks were amazing and so much better in person, but not sure they are really worth all that waiting around!