Editor responds to London calling

The London Eye is London’s iconic Ferris wheel. It stands 443 feet above the River Thames and was opened to the public in 2000.

Angela DeCarlo, Copy Editor

It was 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when it started to rain. We had been standing outside for the past hour with a few hundred other people who, like us, were anxiously awaiting the coming of the new year, and lucky enough to have special access to a private viewing area from our hotel.

We had been in London for four days. We visited Stonehenge, Oxford University, and Windsor Castle. We took a tour of Parliament and countless pictures of Big Ben. We toured the city day and night, endlessly fascinated by the gorgeous facades of buildings that were twice as old as the United States.

We were able to get last-minutes tickets to the Warner Bros. Studio tour, where we got to go behind the scenes of the making of the Harry Potter films. For a fan like me, drinking butterbeer, getting to see the casts’ wardrobe, and seeing how the books were brought to life was a dream come true.

The weather had been kind to us. It was sunny for most of the time, which certainly made the hour we spent walking around the rocks at Stonehenge much more comfortable. On our last full day, it was cold and rainy, as if London was sad to see us leave.  We decided to go on the London Eye, London’s famous Ferris wheel, that day. The wind shook the pod and made it creak as it slowly moved 400 feet over the River Thames, I was grateful to be back on ground.

This year, London hosted the world’s first ever multi-sensory fireworks display. Throughout the day, various security members distributed little pouches that contained an LED bracelet that would light up in time with music. It also contained a bag of candy and a paper of different scratch-n-sniff scents. These would represent the flavors and aromas of fruit that coincided with the colors of the fireworks so that viewers could “taste” and “smell” the fireworks.

Additionally, if you were lucky enough to get a viewing spot on the bank of the River Thames, across from the London Eye where the fireworks would be fired, banana flavored confetti, orange smoke filled bubbles, and peach snow would be shot at you for a greater firework tasting and smelling experience.

It was my first time seeing the fireworks of a New Year’s celebration in a major city, and London definitely delivered. It was one of the best firework shows I have ever seen. However, because of the rain, I was unable to get the full multi-sensory experience or take pictures. That just means I’ll have to go back again sometime in the future and experience it all again.

Despite my dad’s countless exclamations of “Look, kids: Big Ben, Parliament!” in an annoying homage to Clark Griswold and “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” I fell in love with the city. The food was amazing, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The crazy mapping of one-way streets and the reckless taxi drivers who drove on the left side of the road and cut off the double-decker buses gave London its own personality, one that’s strikingly different from New York City and one that everyone should experience.

Angela DeCarlo is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.