This New Year’s Eve was good to me and gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted since moving to London – watch the fireworks on the banks of the Thames.
Seeing these on TV or up on a big screen wasn’t going to be good enough for a third consecutive year, so I made my way to the centre patiently – along tens of thousands of other people, Londoners and tourists alike. Walking down the streets, I couldn’t help from noticing the sense of excitement and good cheer everyone was in – and which remained the same throughout the night.
Directed by the flow of people, by excitement and a slight sense of panic (“It’s 9.15, what if all the good spots have already been filled!?”), we took a turn right on Waterloo Bridge and chose to watch the fireworks from there. We were pretty lucky to also get a place at the front, so visibility sounded good.
The atmosphere, the music, the DJ, and a brief announcement from the Mayor of London, who promised the 1st multi-sensory fireworks show in the world (exciting!) made the two and a half hour wait easier. The people around us made it more pleasant, as everyone shared in umbrellas as the rain started some tens of minutes before midnight (a gentleman nearby accused me of being pessimistic when I predicted the rain wouldn’t hold out, but hey – in some cases, with these things, you just can’t tell).
I thought at some point that the fireworks were a tourist-thing, but apparently they’re something everyone wants to be a part of and boats and barges full of people made their way up the river in search of a good sighting spot. I reckon everyone on board had more leg room than we did.
Excitement grew as the two-minute countdown timer was projected on the left – one minute to the fireworks, 59 seconds, 40 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
The show was everything I expected plus a small wish come true, something I love the feeling of.
It’s an experience I’d like to repeat in the future, although with some minor logistical amendments:
- Wear warmer clothes and a cap!
- Perhaps carry an umbrella 🙂
- Get a camera and don’t rely on the tablet for taking night photos again?!
- Get a spot across the London Eye (I reckon the Embankment is the best place to watch the fireworks from) or maybe board a barge or one of those fancy boats.