new year’s eve in the city, falafel + cognac giggles
What a place we have found ourselves in! We’ve been here for five days and I just can’t even begin to describe the surreal nature of this adventure we’re on.
We decided to seize a once-in-a-lifetime experience whilst here in Old Blighty and head into foggy London town for New Year’s Eve. We caught a train into the city around lunchtime and once we arrived at Paddington station, we hopped onto the Tube straight to Trafalgar Square, so we could wander around the National Gallery. From there, we walked over to the Strand and the West End, to find a gem of a falafel place called Gaby’s our hosts has clued us into. After stuffing ourselves with hummus, hot pita, and falafel, we started heading down into Covent Garden and after happening upon a four-floor H&M (which caused Jettie to literally gasp out loud) and passing some time (and pounds) there, we ended up at a fun bar. We sassed it up with red lips, toasted with mojitos, took silly photos, made friends with (and got flirted with by) the bartenders, and jammed to their most excellence playlist.
After celebrating with a few cocktails, we walked over to Waterloo Bridge around 9 p.m., to secure a place to stand and watch the fireworks. We were facing the London Eye and Big Ben and were in prime position to enjoy the show. We passed the time with some more dancing to the DJ the BBC had so kindly provided (Adele1 Black Eyed Peas! Elbow!) and had some truly interesting opportunities for people-watching. And, naturally, we bought light-up bunny ears. (We’re in London for New Year’s Eve! Why not?)
Once midnight hit, the fireworks show was spectacular. We all cheered together, shot off confetti poppers, and sang a rousing chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” to toast 2012. After that, we then had to buckle down and shuffle shoulder-t0-shoulder through a two hour line just to get INTO Waterloo train station, where we then had to hop on the Underground, head back to Paddington, and catch the last (3 a.m.!) train to Reading. By the time we finally walked in the door, it was 5 a.m. and both of us were barely standing.
What an experience! We spent New Year’s Day enjoying a delicious lunch with the Russells and going to St. Laurence, the church where our host, Chris, is the vicar. It’s a beautiful little church that actually used to be attended by the likes of Jane Austen. We spent a moving evening in that community and ended up back next to the fire at the house, drinking wine, eating “mezze” and enjoying our time together. Today was a brisk romp around the Berkshire countryside, followed by a magical roast lunch (roast pork! roast potatoes and parsnips! veggies! Yorkshire pudding! crackling!) and now, we’re lounging around, after a movie with the family, sipping cognac and being utterly spoiled.
What a trip! And still another week to go!