Happy New Year to all my American friends!!
The Rice family now has a new addition to the posse: my mom’s boyfriend, Graham. Graham is from London, so he has a better idea of which tube stations are where and how to get around the city…well sort of.
We took the District Line and went to Harrods to make up for yesterday. This particular line was pretty cool because the station was outside instead of in the tube-like setting. We road the tube to Harrods and finally got to see the internationally famous store.
And oh my god it was massive. Five floors of just everything you can think of: luxury goods, leather purses, raw tuna, French face cream. Department stores like that do not exist in the US. We went to the food section of the store and you can get caviar, fresh tuna, coconuts from Thailand and a rack of raw lamb meat. Think if Macy’s did that?!
After waiting in the ridiculously long line, I leave with a London-themed Harrods mug and some key chains. Because you can not go to the only Harrods in the world and not buy something, especially when one has an insane mug addiction (cough cough myself.) We then made our way to Covent Gardens and their market for something to eat. Allison was on a quest for a floppy, British hat so we had to go search for that. Graham and I were waiting for Allie and Mom to try to find a hat and Graham asked me if I ever tried Mulled Wine.
I hadn’t so we got some and it was PHENOMENAL. So good. Very similar to hot cider for those in the states. It was just what we needed to hold us over until we grabbed lunch. We all decided to go to Wagamama, an Asian, Pei-Wei style restaurant. The restaurant was set up as an open cafeteria where the wait staff comes to you, but you share a big, long table with strangers.
The food was really good and had an amazing fried squid appetizer. Would definitely recommend to those going to London. It has multiple stores across the city, and even has curry if you want to try that London delicacy. We had some down time before New Years Eve night, so we went back to our flat. Later that night we went to Joe Allen, which was a great American-style restaurant. That’s right; we chose an American restaurant in London for New Years Eve. Food was fantastic and the service was so SO great. We then walked around to try to get a good spot to see the fireworks from the Eye. We kind of got a good view, but we were mainly shoved by hundreds of people. We stood next to a bunch of people from Spain who gave us grapes at midnight because apparently it is good luck for the new year. Who knew? So I had a grape, so let’s hope for the best this year.
Mom and Graham decided it would be a good idea to rent some bicycles in the city and ride home instead of taking the tube. Everything was just fine and dandy until we had to ride on the street. Not only is the traffic the opposite direction of what the Rice girls are used to, but London drivers do not care. They will drive so close to you. It was insane; I almost got hit by a cab, person and/or bus a dozen times in our five mile ride home. Graham originally said “oh it’s about three miles.” Yet at almost every light he would suddenly yell “wait this way” or “oh this is going to be a tricky one.” There was even a point where my mom crossed four lanes of traffic and almost got hit several times. But hey, all bodies are accounted for. I never was so happy to see my flat’s street, and my legs definitely feel like jello. It was definitely one of the scarier things I have ever done (bike in London, at night, on New Year’s Eve), but I have to admit the adrenaline was kind of fun.