On the coldest night of 2017 so far, more than twenty hearty Inglans braved the nipping winds and near-zero temperatures to go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It was all worth it to get into the spirit of the Christmas season and experience one of London’s finest winter festivals. If a stein of German beer, a mile-long bratwurst, and loads of revellers singing Christmas songs and carols don’t get you into the mood, then nothing can. And this year, as always, Winter Wonderland had no end of any of these things.
Our night ended, fittingly, in the note-perfect recreation of a Bavarian Village, complete with cosy, little cottages and a cavernous beer hall filled with raucous merrymakers enjoying the festive music, singing along to Christmas favourites like “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, and, of course, “Last Christmas” by George Michael, and dancing the night away.
Our students took full advantage of the rides and games on offer. They all crammed onto the roller coaster, getting a top-speed, bird’s-eye view of the fairgrounds through gritted teeth and between their trembling fingers. Others set their sights on the impossible shooting games, trying to win, with a slightly crooked sight on an antique rifle, a giant plush toy to impress someone special, while still others whizzed around Winter Wonderland, from stall to stall, trying to find the perfect sausage and sauerkraut or cup of warm, delicately spiced mulled wine to brighten their evening.
The atmosphere would have made even the staunchest Ebenezer Scrooge into a regular Tiny Tim. Our Inglans felt the Christmas cheer and joined in with the revelry and fun, swaying to the beat and singing along with as much as they could. They left that night with a better sense of what Christmas in London meant and with a bounce in their step.