Hello 2015 – New Years Eve in London

Happy New Year everyone! Bit delayed I know but January slipped by entirely too quickly. 2015 started in a great way, with a trip to England and then a whirlwind tour with a friend to Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal which started with a 7am flight to Gibraltar from London on January 1st. Needless to say, we didn’t bother going to bed New Years Eve, what would have been the point?  So we powered through, slept on the flight and started 2015 with a day in Gibraltar. A subsequent post will follow with all the details of our Iberian peninsula tour, this post will be about New Years and the fun I had saying good bye to the horrible 2014 (although it was a good travel year!) and hello to 2015.

I have never been a fan of New Years. Everyone has such high expectations that it will be a great night and more often than not it falls flat, or is absolutely awful. So over the past few years I have made a point of traveling for New Years, at least that way it is guaranteed to be good because I’m traveling and there is nothing better than that!

This year, for the first time in years, I went to an actual New Years event and it was fantastic. The party was at the Southbank Centre in London, England and the party theme was vintage so we dressed up in 20s inspired outfits and headed out. Almost everyone else dressed up as well in outfits from various decades of the twentieth century.  I saw some tacky 80s, a really good Austin Powers, and lots of flappers.  The Southbank Centre itself is beautiful and a great place for an event. It is along the Thames near the London Eye and has a beautiful view over the Thames.

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For the event, each floor or area had a different music or decade theme, downstairs was big band and ballroom dancing, another floor had a sixties party, in another room a DJ played guilty pleasure songs of the 80s and yet another had dance music and a DJ.

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There were photo booths with props, an arcade with pinball machines and arcade games from the 80s, bars with various specialty drinks and the food theme was American food which included hot dogs and mac and cheese.  One of the girls we were with was a member of the Southbank Centre so we had a reserved table for the night on the top floor in the members’ only section. At midnight everyone went outside on the terrace to watch the fireworks over the Thames, they were amazing, best fireworks I have ever seen. They have fireworks every year over the Thames at the London Eye, although now they charge 10 pounds to watch them along the river as they close the area to traffic and have a band, but they were so fantastic they are worth it. From the terrace at the Southbank Centre we were so close ash from the fireworks fell on us.

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After the fireworks we could hear Queen playing at the top of Big Ben so we listened to a song or two then went back inside for some more dancing until it shut down and it was time to head for the airport to start 2015 with a trip to the continent. What a great New Years Eve, and a fabulous start to 2015 which will hopefully be an amazing year full of much travel.

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Christmas in Europe

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year.  I love the lights and decorations, and of course all of the delicious food. I also enjoy the craft fairs that pop up around the city. While Calgary has its charm around Christmas, I absolutely love Europe at Christmas. They really do Christmas well over there. Typically the decorations and Christmas markets start popping up around mid-November and last until early January. When I lived in Copenhagen, one of the best days was when Carlsberg released its Christmas beer. The Carlsberg trucks would drive around the city handing out free cans of that year’s batch. I also love the mulled wine served throughout Europe, each area has its own special brew.

I have spent New Years Eve in England twice before, once in Bristol, once in London, and will be doing so again this year. There are events all over the city of course and the fireworks over the Thames at midnight are amazing.

Below are some pictures I’ve taken in Europe over the years during the holiday season. First is pictures from London.

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This picture is in Bath.

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I spent a day in Windsor in early January.

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These pictures are from Copenhagen on Stroget. At the end of the street they have a skating rink set up in the winter and a Christmas market. Sadly my pictures of the rink didn’t show up very well.

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Starting in November, Tivoli in Copenhagen is completely decorated for Christmas and it has Christmas markets set up throughout. There are also areas to have desserts and glog, the mulled wine with cinnamon and raisins traditionally served in the winter in Scandinavia.

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I was also in Amsterdam in late November. Such a lovely city.

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