Last night I ventured into London to see the fireworks. Although I have lived in London for over 40 years I have never celebrated New Year with other revellers in London. This was going to be one off the bucket list. I arrived in London at 10pm with plans of wandering around Trafalgar Square before taking up a position by the river. You would think that having lived here for so long I would know what to expect but no. Getting out of the station was difficult enough but then I was met with wave upon wave of people travelling away from Trafalgar Square. Speaking to one of the policeman I was told that all roads down to the river were closed now as they had reached capacity! He told me to make my way to Waterloo Bridge where I could view the fireworks. Fair enough I though t,as there was still 2 hours to go. I joined the thousands of people going in that direction only to discover that Waterloo Bridge was also closed now.
Eventually I was able to go down a side street and took up a position near Temple Underground. I could see the top of the London Eye from there so knew I would see something of the fireworks. Disappointed at being a little too far away I struck up conversation with the only English speaking couple nearby. They were staying in London for the weekend so were also visitors. But we chatted away and the time past quickly. We were then joined by a young man from Cape Town who had somehow squeezed his way through. He was in a very jolly mood having just come from the pub. Although in just his shirt sleeves and no coat the weather, which was raining by now, didn't seem to bother him. Every now and again huge cheers would go up from the crowd for no other reason than the celebratory feel of the occasion. The chinking of bottles and glasses could be heard from every direction. Finally the countdown started and then an explosion of colour from the Eye. It did look spectacular and I could see, but I had a side on view and really you needed to be facing the Eye to really appreciate the show.
Once it had finished I said my goodbyes to my new found friends and quickly made my way back to the station. As I had not been drinking I had a definite advantage over many in the crowds and managed to weave my way through the throngs of singing, dancing, and drinking groups. Good humoured police and security staff guided people towards the stations but having checked before I left I knew that no trains were stopping at Waterloo station and that I needed to walk back towards Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross. The crowds had not reached the station by the time I got there and I was able to get a seat on a very empty train as it left the station.
Would I do it again? Probably not but glad that I have now experienced New Year's Eve in London.
Photo from google images.