Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The London Eye

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.

18 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

You look like a baby in those first pics! Gorgeous shots of the Eye!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Gorgeous photos! We had a work event once in the same area as the Eye. It was fabulous at night!

Ché @ Knight at the Restaurant said...

Wow that's beautiful! Never been to London (outside Heathrow, anyway) but it's on my short list. Was the Eye scary at all?

In and Around Town said...

I have never done the Eye, never knew if it was worth it, but your pictures are amazing! I am completely sold and the next time I head to London (hopefully sooner rather than later) I will definitely go for a ride!

MOLLY GALLER said...

I spent 4 days in London while I was studying abroad and I actually hated it. The only thing I LOVED was the London Eye! It's just amazing. All of my best pictures are from that ride. So happy you got to experience it!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Wow, what a great view! I think I would have been terrified but it looks worth it!

Elizabeth said...

I friggin LOVE ferris wheels. I will so do that when I visit London.

Shannon said...

so absolutely gorgeous!! must go when i get to london ;)

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

the sunset pics are so beautiful. when i went to london in 2000, this was supposed to be open but it wasnt. the last time i went in 2006, we didnt have time. ill have to go back! :)

Amber said...

that looks like a lot of fun and I am sure the views had to be insane. Im ashamed to admit that I didnt know what the eye was either until I saw the Duggars ride it on their show....so yeah :)

Amber Rose, Laughing With Broken Eyes said...

A friend of mine recently moved to London for university, and I never fail to pump her for stories. What an incredible place!

Megan said...

Wow. I have never heard of that, and it looks incredible!

Emily@SimplyGourmetinSouthie said...

Wonderful pictures! I was in London with my family a little over a year ago. I had never heard of the London Eye but I am so glad we decide to take a ride on it. The views are breathtaking and you captured them beautifully!

Happy Holidays! :)

Simply Life said...

we just came back from a short time in London and LOVED it!

Michelle Collins said...

I'm loving all these photos! And now I'm craving a Guinness...

Sabrina said...

beautiful pics!!! compliments!!!amazing blog!!! i'm following you!!! if you like mine,do the same!!

Amanda L @Tales from a Kitchen Misfit said...

The London Eye was one of the first things we did when we went to London. We went late at night, around 8 or 9 and it was still light out!! It was amazing!

kfenton917 said...

When I get to London I will definitely take this in. Photos look amazing.