Upon my return from London, friends, family and co-workers, as you can imagine, were eager to hear about my trip. One of my favorite attractions, the one I instinctively tell everyone about first, is the London Eye. It left me awestruck by its presence and offered a one-of-a-kind experience. So far, I have not told one person about the Eye that actually knew what it was!! I'm not totally baffled by this, I'm just sayin', not many people have heard of it. I learned of it when I was first in London with Adam on a nine hour layover traveling home from Greece in 2007: Our visit was brief, but amazing. Can you tell I am four years younger in these shots? ;)Anyways, I saw this eye catching (no pun intended) "giant Ferris wheel" only from a distance in 2007, but my interest was peaked. When we headed back to Heathrow Airport that day in October I distinctly remember telling Adam how I wanted to return to London to ride the eye. Lofty wanderlust ambitions turned real life experience, I checked one off the bucket list on a brisk blue skied December 10th. £18.60 and a 30 minute queue later; it was worth every pound I paid and every minute I waited. (Outside, in the freezing cold, with people behind Tricia and I that smashed into us every.single.time the line stopped.) Situated on the bank of the River Thames, an architectural wonder with a commanding presence, the Eye towers 135 meters high over the London skyline, marking it the highest cantilevered observation wheel in the world. (Please note, distinct facts are borrowed from the EDF Energy Official London Eye Website.) A remarkable engineering feat with a striking design, it took seven years to complete and was unveiled to the public officially in March of 2000. The visually fascinating spoke and rotation cables resemble a giant bicycle wheel. I snapped the below shot when we had just boarded and were set for takeoff!
There are 32 capsules to represent each of the 32 boroughs of London. They are heated (or air conditioned if you visit in the summer) and comfortably fit about ten to fifteen passengers. There is a bench in the middle and plenty of room to walk around and take in the 360 degree views. The vast stretching panorama on a clear day reaches as far as 40km.I was also sure to check out the view directly below us. Hello tiny people. Hello vertigo. The sights were simply gorgeous. You get an especially nice view of Parliament and Big Ben. And since it starts to get dark at around 3:30 (crazy!) we saw the beginnings of a beautiful sunset.It looks like the people in front of us decided to throw a party! (If you look closely - note the champagne glasses in hand.)There was so much to take in. Luckily, the eye moves at a slow speed of .6 miles per hour, which means a full ride (equal to one rotation) gives you a solid 30 minutes. It moves slow enough that it does not need to stop to let passengers on and off. One of the top tourist attractions in the city, 3.5 million visit the Eye each year.Where innovation in technology meets magnificent views, if you are traveling to London, if even for a short time, I definitely recommend taking advantage of this experience.