It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single girl in possession of a credit card, must be in want of an airplane ticket.
If Jane Austen would be alive and decided to write Pride and Prejudice II, she would start her first chapter with these words exactly. Meaning me, of course.
Anyway…so yes, I bought an airplane ticket.
I was in need of a trip. Preferably a trip far away but unfortunately my holidays for 2015 were already used up so I was left staring at my world map, sighing heavily and thinking about where the heck I could celebrate New Year’s Eve?
It was depressing. Surely I was the one to blame because honestly: who in their right mind decides to travel every month to a different place or rather different country and use up all their holidays? Moi, of course. All I wanted was to celebrate New Year’s Eve somewhere new!
It wasn’t long until I made up my mind. And before my inner (reasonable) voice could protest, I bought an airplane ticket, reserved my one night stay at a hotel and everything was settled. 24 hours in London. Never done that before, but there’s a first for everything, right?
In order to make a 24 hour trip as comfortable and stress free as possible, you really have to know what you’re dealing with. Trust me, it is so much easier if you know your way around a familiar city.
It was wonderful to be back in my favorite european city. London enchants me, no matter in which season I am arriving. This time it’s New Year’s Eve. Hectic humans everywhere, but today everyone seems to glow because it’s that time of year again. Our very last day in 2015. It’s exciting and scary, lovely and crazy and to cope with all these emotions, I had to go shopping in Tesco. A bag full of British goodies later I was ready for some fireworks. Little did I know how extremely crowded it was going to get at Waterloo Bridge.
I don’t mind crowds. I don’t mind standing in between. And I really don’t mind being pushed gently around but THIS was crazy! I didn’t even reach the middle of Waterloo Bridge so I just positioned myself in the crowd, behind a German guy with his three British lady friends and next to a group of drunk teenagers. There was music playing from far away, a lot of helicopters flying around and a clock that showed me that I had over an hour left until midnight. Damn, I needed a bottle of Cider or something stronger. Anything would have been fine, really.
Finally there was a countdown. Starting from 30. You could feel the anticipation rising with every number. Suddenly people were sobering up, more quiet, less restless. When the digital display showed 10, all the 100.000 people, who had bought tickets to see some fireworks, started to count. It was awesome! Mobile phones, cameras and Selfie-Sticks arose. My heart was beating like crazy. I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear as I held up my mobile phone and shouted 3 – 2 – 1.
I pressed PLAY just in time, when the music got louder and firecrackers burst out of the London Eye. It was spectacular. I filmed, stopped, took photos, switched from mobile to camera. Filmed. Took photos. Switched. Until I realized, that all the action was right in front of me. With my own eyes to see. I didn’t come all this way to London to watch all these incredible fireworks through a display. I dropped my equipment and gazed at all those colourful lights, one explosion after the other, filling the blackness of the sky with sparkling stars. I love fireworks. They are peaceful, romantic and beautiful. I just stared, smiled, admired and all I heard are these exploding fireworks. No one seemed to move. There was no talking, laughing or bawling. It was like the whole crowd was covered in a blanket of silence.
Half an hour later the magic was over. „Happy New Year“ was said, hugs were given – for me, it was time to head back to the hotel. I boxed my way through the crowd, enthusiastically thinking, how smart I was for leaving early and how fast I could escape these masses of people. Well, I was wrong. Somehow everyone was walking in the same direction as me, meaning heading towards the Underground.
The roads were closed and blocked with barriers, so every pedestrian could walk in the same direction. One step at a time. It was tiresome and cold. The Mounted Branch made sure that our mass hike was well-ordered, which was a good thing, because otherwise we would have probably trampled over each other. Two hours (!) later, extremely exhausted and sore, I fell in bed.
Celebrating New Year in London is a wonderful thing. Being part of a massiv crowd, with a 10 Pound Ticket in your pocket to see all the action at the London Eye…well, that’s a decision you should sleep on. Yes, it is a nice experience. And yes, it can be worth it if you don’t mind standing for a long period of time or not having any space, like a tuna being squeezed in a tin or all heading to an unknown destination.
For me, it was a great experience and something I really wanted to do but there definitely won’t be a second time.
Hotel: Andaz London Liverpool Street from 309 £ (GBP)