When John was booking our flights home, he saw an option of having a 20+ hour layover in London on New Years Eve and thought it would be fun to spend it there as opposed to flying on an airplane. So, we were heading to London to kick off 2013!
The kids did really well on the flight to London. It left later in the evening and they slept for a good portion, fussed for some but overall did well for young kids. Graham is almost nearing the age that Peyton was when we moved here and I remember how easy it was to fly with her at 2.5 so I am so very much looking forward to when this is a piece of cake. Peyton is really a joy and ease to travel with and Graham did well this trip so we are seeing the light!
We took the Heathrow Express train from the airport to Paddington Station. It was supposed to be super quick but we had delay as there was traffic on the track and so it took awhile. But Graham fell asleep and Peyton watched movies so it was fine.
We got to Paddington, took a cab to the area near our hotel and because some of the streets were blocked off we had to walk to our hotel which was little crazy with our bags and our crew. Once checked in we went in search of food and finally found a Mc Donald's that was packed! It was absolute madness outside and I was really starting to question this whole plan. Normally we would have just ordered room service but the hotel we were staying at was a more apartment/extended stay place with no room service. It was in a great location for the fireworks but that little room service issue was ind of a pain. We were able to finally get a table in Mc Donald's after the security guard took pity on us sitting outside trying to feed everyone and we ate some food. We then headed back to the hotel to wait until closer to midnight.
We started by watching a movie and then Graham and I fell asleep. John came and woke us up around 11:00 PM and after he verified that it wasn't absolute mass chaos outside and safe for our kids, we got everyone dressed and headed out.
We just had to walk to the end of the already blocked off street and we were across the river from the London Eye and in a prime spot for viewing the fireworks. It was such a fun atmosphere. Tons of people just dancing and having a great time and music and just a lot of fun. I had so much fun dancing with Graham! Peyton fell asleep on John's shoulders and we had to wake her up before it started. That kid sleeps through everything!
The countdown was illuminated on a building and it was so exciting to watch it start counting down and fell the anticipation building.
And then the fireworks started....they were AMAZING! The whole show was set to music and it was a blast. It went on forever and I was amazed at how many and how long the show was. It was so much fun listening to all the British hits and watching reactions from the crowd when their favorite song came on. The show had speeches from the Queen mixed in from her Jubilee and from the Olympic coverage.
It far far far exceeded my expectations!
Watching the fireworks in London was such a surreal and kind of emotional experience for me. John and I both said it was by far, hands down the best experience we have had living oversees so far. We were so overwhelmed with gratitude that we have the opportunity to do things like this. A pretty amazing way to kick off 2013!