We arrived on New Years Eve at the Stand Palace Hotel. Our room is fantastic - soft bed, clean bathroom with a bathtub and a flat screen TV! We hung out in the room for a while resting (mainly because we both have head colds) before venturing out for some dinner. We both had pasta from a cute Italian restaurant tucked in one of the little streets near out hotel. We keep warm in the hotel for a couple more hours before venturing down toward the London Eye to watch the fireworks. The weather is not as cold as it can be according to locals and the weather reports - but to us - it's freezing! Apparently there is an arctic snap on its way - bringing snow……not sure how we are going to handle that!
The word crowded doesn't even come close to describing what it was like out on the streets of London on New Years Eve - it was like peoples day at the Ekka multiplied by 1000! We were packed like sheep. We only just made it into the section across the river from the London Eye before it was closed. It was standing room only - sometimes it did not even feel like that. We stood and waited till midnight. It rained lightly on and off a few times - but nothing that was going to soak us.
Big Ben brought in the new year followed by a 10 minute fireworks display. I think the English philosophy towards fireworks is to just let off as many as you can at once. So…now deaf and blind, we walked back to our hotel. It took about 55 minutes to walk the usually 10 minute walk back to our hotel - the crowds were so thick they were not moving in parts. It is not something I would do again - but at least we can say we have done it once. When we got back, our heads hit our pillows and we didn't move an inch for the rest of the night.
The following morning we were up ay 6am (moan!) and we ventured out to where I will be working out near Thurrock. We went and inspected some rental properties in the area and check out Lakeside Shopping Centre - which is like Indooroopilly multiplied by three at least - huge! We saw a movie at the cinemas there and headed home in the afternoon. We had a fantastic 3 course dinner at the hotel restaurant - the best feed we have had in London. I had soup to start, lamb shanks and fruit salad with ice cream for dessert. Adam had soup to start, a big bowl of spaghetti bolognaise and a chocolate pyramid dessert.
The good news is that we have found a place to live out in Grays and we are moving in tomorrow. I start work next week, so it is all system go for the next few days.