The fact that I love London should not be a secret to anyone who knows me or who reads this blog.
So when Filip and Sara proposed to spend new year’s eve in London to watch the fireworks, I happily joined them. We left all met in Ghent around noon in Saturday and in 2 cars we headed for the Eurotunnel in Calais. A 35 minute train-ride later to the island and another 2 hours in the car and we had arrived in London.
We parked close to the London Bridge underground station and started walking towards the Thames. As we approached the Millennium Bridge, I proposed that we cross that bridge and continue on the other side. Crossing the Millennium bridge, with Tate Modern at my back and walking towards St Paul’s cathedral feels like “coming home” in London for me. Whenever we/I stayed in London, we slept at a hostel near St Paul’s and we would often venture out late at night to wander around the city. Crossing the bridge and seeing the cathedral would mean I had arrived back “home”.
We headed towards Leicester square for a quick take-away dinner and went towards Victoria Embankment, opposite from the London Eye, where we waited to for the fireworks. If you thought we were crazy for driving to London? This is where it really get’s crazy: we waited for 6 hours. From 18h until midnight. At 18h there was plenty of room left so we sat down on the curb. By 20h things started to get crowded and everyone was asked to stand up (for safety reasons and such). At 22h a BBC Radio 1 DJ started playing some tunes a get the party started and by then the place was packed and the police had closed of the area so no more people could enter the viewing area. 6 hours is a long time but all in all, it wasn’t bad. It was pretty warm (10° and no wind, that’s pretty weird for December 31st) and dry (except for a few 2/3 minutes light rain showers) so no complaining there.
But when are you going to get the fireworks? Yes yes, here we go.
Wauw. Really impressive. Wauw.
After the fireworks, the crowd thinned pretty quickly and we wandered throughout the city and back to the car. We caught the train back to Calais at 5h20 GMT, were back in Belgium around 7h30 CET and arrived back in Leuven with the from Ghent at 10h. While I slept a fair bit in the car, I was still exhausted. Exhausted but happy to have spent new year’s eve in the city that stole my heart and with a couple of good friends.
I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start 2012.