After a full day of exploring the city followed by an exciting day at the Tower of London and Tate Museum of Modern Art, our third full day in London was a bit more low key. We slept in a bit to recover from the fireworks the night before…
New Years Eve in London
…is the craziest thing I have ever witnessed in person. Here is the fireworks show, which was amazing in its own right (worth noting it features ELO, 1D (of COURSE), my favorite Coldplay song, and the Queen):
For some perspective, we were right behind the Eye, below the building with the countdown, on the south bank of the Thames. Leading up to the show, we met a couple of really nice east enders, and bonded over the ridiculous drunken people camped out behind us. We talked about the Olympics, One Direction, and the weather – they were great!
The real cultural experience began after the fireworks, though… Our usual route from the Southbank to the flat was less than half a mile. Due to the crowds, however, the police had barricaded off all side streets to force the mass of people to go down one street. The tubes all closed at midnight, and it was chaos. We saw: teenagers street fighting, a man who I think was dead on the sidewalk, a lady trying to punch everyone, kids throwing fire crackers into the crowd, people in windows giving everyone a show, a man getting arrested by a policewoman who was on a horse… the list goes on. It. Was. Amazing. We finally gave up, found some high ground, and just watched the show.
Eventually we made it along with the masses to The Cut, where I convinced a policeman that our beds really were just on the other side of his barricade, and that we weren’t up to any mischief. Poor, silly little Americans, he probably thought.
Anyway, we got to bed, slept in, then headed out for our last full day in the greatest city I have visited (sorry Dublin, Toronto, and New York).
New Years Day in London
Sadly, the most interesting looking gallery, at Southbank Centre, was closed. We looked around outside, and continued on to see a bit more of the city, and revisit our new favorites. We caught part of the rainy and windy London New Years Day Parade near Picadilly Circus (lots of American high school marching bands – it felt like home!)
We saw the famous shopping districts, had MORE Cafe Nero of course, and had lunch at St. Martin’s in the Green Cafe in the Crypt. This was the coolest spot for a lunch, and I had a most English lunch of treacle, tea, and a small meat pie. We went up to see the church, where the creepiest baby Jesus statue ever was found outside (picture below). The crypts were really interesting, and I loved the statue of the Pearly King!
Charles and I explored a bit more, saw the horses and military park, and decided to get dinner at the Sherlock Holmes! They were out of a lot of things that night, including fish n chips, but I did get some delicious chicken liver pate, and Charles had yet another delicious meat pie. It was a great atmosphere with the mist outside, a chill in the air, and the warm pub food and delicious pint.
We continued on to the southbank in the dark, where we saw our last glimpse of Big Ben, the Eye, and the city I grew to love.
The next morning, we got up and caught the tube to Euston, and back to Holyhead to catch our ferry to Dublin. This was probably our roughest day, which an abhorrent man from the Tube harassing us about GMOs and America (like we don’t know there are problems) and a miscommunication with the cab driver in Ireland who spoke a strange Dublinese language. We only had one full day in Dublin left, so we went to bed prepared to make the most of it before heading back to the states!