Friday, 15 January 2016

New Years Eve; London Style Pt 1

Hello 2016!
Is there a better way to bring in the New Year than to travel down to London with your three best friends?  I think not.

Having never been to London before, the thought of spending New Years Eve in the capital was like something out of a dream. The trip was planned meticulously, booking restaurants and ice skating tickets for Somerset House months in advance to ensure we had the most perfect day. Meeting one of my friends in Glasgow to get the overnight bus down however was not my ideal start. As I was reminded numerous times, it was much cheaper than flights or trains and considering the time of year, actually all we could afford. Despite this, horror stories of cage-like beds terrified my dramatic tendencies in the weeks leading up to our departure. Therefore, you can imagine my delight (and somewhat disappointment considering I love a good overdramatic story) when we were greeted at Buchanan bus station by a normal, bog-standard coach and a slightly too chirpy driver. With the driver singing and clapping the whole way to London, only stopping three times on the motorway because he "thought a car was flashing at us" we arrived in London at 6.15 am and headed straight for the nearest coffee shop.

After a slightly painfully early wake up call the next morning, we arrived at Waterloo Station on New Years Eve. Stopping only to pick up a quite bite to eat in Pret (of course) exploring the Thames Embankment, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace took us through the morning. Deciding on a whim to rent Boris Bikes and cycle through Hyde Park may have been the best decision we made the whole trip. Cycling out through the trees to see the sun reflecting off the water was perhaps the calmest and happiest I have felt in a long time and we chatted and laughed the whole way to the Hard Rock Café where we sat down for the first time all day to have a cheeky cocktail - it was New Years Eve after all!

Stopping off in Fortnum&Mason for a quick peek at their Christmas Decorations (which were so gorgeous they could fill a separate post) we headed to Somertset House where we had booked to go ice skating. Typically at this moment, someone somewhere decided we had been having just too much luck with the weather so far and the heavens literally opened and poured. Undeterred, I managed to spend the hour skating without falling over, so despite looking like a bedraggled rat at the end I will deem it a success. With dinner booked for Jamie's Italian in Picadilly this was one aspect of the day which I had particularly been excited for. Another first, I was assured that the Ravioli Nachos were the way forward. Combining that with the special of the night, Salmon spaghetti with a broccoli sauce and watercress, and a molten chocolate pudding for desert I left the restaurant exceedingly content and we headed for the fireworks display. After four rounds of security who despite their obvious presence maintained the light and jubilant atmosphere, we got ourselves into prime position beside the London Eye and awaited the display. As someone who is still massively afraid of fireworks I was slightly nervous that the scale of the show would just be too overwhelming. However from the minute Big Ben chimed out midnight I was mesmorised by the incredible bursts of light illuminating the sky above me. Fascinated, I watched in complete admiration throughout, and despite an extremely dodgy remixed version of Auld Lange Syne (somethings should never ever be "modernised") my first ever day in London ended in the most magical fashion.

2016 had arrived.


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