Three countries and two continents in one day. The day started with chaotic rush in Casablanca, nearly missing our plane to a calm late lunch in Madrid's beautiful airport to packing up Piccadilly Circus at midnight in London.
I've heard about how expensive London can be, but we were not prepared for the 26 pound cab ride from the airport to our hotel, 2 miles away. BAM! Welcome to London, you bloody bastards.
A quick trip on the tube, filled with drunkards, locals and tourists alike excited for the new year celebrations, lead us to Ryan and Thanecha' s flat. The last we saw of Ryan and Thanecha was in Casablanca, when we realized that we were in the wrong terminal. Frantically, I told him, shit... well see you in London! as we made a mad dash towards terminal 2. We gathered ourselves and decided that we were going to downtown anyway. We knew we had no chance to catch the fireworks due to a new ticket policy, so we tubed it down to Piccadilly Circus in downtown to join the crowds.
The moment was surreal, illuminated by giant screens and neon lights, a crowd growing and getting louder by the minute, it was hard to believe all the moments that lead up to this.
Just hours before this, I was in Morocco and Spain, now with two minutes left in the year, I find myself in London. The crowd begins to cheer as the seconds tick away. We join in on the woos and yeahs.
One minute left. The count down timer flashes in big white letters as a constant cheer starts amongst the crowd. I was still in shock as to where I was.
10 - I snap out of it and join in on the cheers as the small bottle of whiskey I downed is keeping me awake.
9 - I look around to see a sea of people going crazy.
8 - I glance over at my friends and mom to see their faces smiling with anticipation.
7 - I glance back at the timer.
6 - Holy shit I am in London
5 - Let's get this party started!
188.8.131.52. Happy New Year! Screams the crowd and everyone exchanges hugs, kisses and handshakes. The crowd stumbles around as they ring in the first minutes of 2015. People were running around, taking as many selfies with as many strangers as possible. I even joined in on a few, some with the neon clad police. They were really nice, seriously.
We let the crowds thin out as we scanned the streets for a pub. Luckily, we managed to get into a pub nearby and scored a table as soon as we got in. There we were. Having a pint, in London on New years. To think, we were all in Casablanca that very morning. Cheers!
More drinks were had, more drunken conversations, and several selfies were taken. The lights came on, but we kept on drinking, at least till the guilt of spending that much on alcohol hit us. The party kept going as we kicked tiny empty champagne bottles around the street, but all the traveling had us exhausted. We made it back to the flat at 2 and pass out soon after. New Years Eve 2015, in the books.
For the first day of 2015, we woke up slightly hung over and groggy from the minimal sleep we got and rushed over to the London Eye for some breath taking views of the city. We almost missed our appointment because of the lack of New Years day trains and us taking the wrong one. Luckily we weren't the only ones. The town was still waking and cleaning up from the night before, so the lines were short.
It was a cold and wet day in London. Typical gray and gloomy London. That didn't stop us from exploring the city by foot till dark. We saw all the free sights, took the typical shots of Big Ben and parliament and had a few pints at a couple pubs. We even caught some of the new years parade! I found London and its architecture to be incredibly ornate. To the point where its over-doing it. I thought about how much of an impression this probably made a few hundred years ago, and you realize why London has the power it does today. Quite an eventful day.
I was very surprised how friendly everyone was. There is a great deal of respect and self responsibility that I haven't seen anywhere else. I felt very comfortable there, but not my wallet. I spent the same amount in 42 hours in London than 8 or so days in Morocco. I was also delighted to see how diverse it was there. Everyone was in harmony, all smiles, all around. One more thing, selfie sticks. Every damn person, including myself had one, but the more I read, the more I realize how popular they have recently become.
We ended the day with a night trip up on the eye again. We day day and night tickets, which turned out to be a better deal. The city lights were beautiful and it was a nice contrast from the gloomy gray during the day. From the stars in the Sahara to the lights of London, this trip was eye-opening, surprising and of course, a ton of fun.
TL; DR London is beautiful, friendly and full of selfie sticks.