New Year's Eve was our first full day in London. Almost nothing was open, so we strolled around getting a good look at many of the classic sights.
We started our day taking the underground to Covent Garden. Covent Garden is a classy tourist trap with lots of street performers and nice shops. The London Transport Museum and the Theatre Museum are there. The Royal Opera is nearby. Also nearby we found these London landmarks.
We headed downtown to take a look at the celebration preparations and to see the sights. Dominating the south bank of the Thames is the new Millenium Eye. To get a sense of scale, each cab holds about a dozen people. Safety concerns and protests have caused repeated delays.
A giant ferris wheel.
Our next stop was Big Ben. (Technically, Big Ben is the huge bell inside rather than the clock itself). Due to the celebration preparations, many of the downtown streets were closed, so we were able to stand in the middle of the street for these photos.
With 12 hours to go, Patty and Lloyd at the big clock.
Across the river from the clock is the wheel.
Big Ben is attached to the Houses of Parliament. For some reason there was no one there to let Lloyd in on New Year's Eve.
Lloyd visiting parliament.
Cromwell and Churchill are found near Parliament.
Friday was a great day to walk around outside Buckingham Palace.
Lloyd & Patty at the gates
Patty out in front.
Some gates and a statue.
Beside Buckingham Palace is Green Park. Hyde Park is down the street a little. In Green Park we found this cute little fountain with a falling leaf motif.
Lloyd and Patty in the park.
Our last stop during the day was a swing by Harrod's, the famous department store. Of course, it was closed.
The outside of Harrods.
We picked up some sandwiches from a small shop and headed back to our lodging for dinner and a brief nap. About 8 we hopped back on the underground and headed back into town. We wandered around for about an hour, crossing the London Bridge and finally finding a good spot along the river on the front row. We and three million of our closest friends watched a great 15 minute firework show from roughly 20 identical barges along the river. Our riverfront spot was right in front of one of the barges.
A view of our riverfront spot taken a couple days later
Our feet right behind the crowd barrier.
Some of the great fireworks.
Getting back to our lodging after the celebration was quite a chore.
3 million people take a while to disperse. We walked about 5 miles
through glass strewn streets to get to an open underground station.
When we finally found one, we had no problem getting back and finally
made it to bed about 3am.