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An Eye on London

19 December, 2007; 12:00 Leave a comment Go to comments

Nelson and Westminster
Originally uploaded by joelpf

My Holiday World Tour began in London, stopping for a few days to visit Christina, who used to live in Stockholm, and Karin, a traveling buddy from years back. London is an unusual place for me, because I’ve technically been to it several times, and I’ve traveled through it as an adult, but never really visited the city itself as an adult. So even this time, I really felt like a newcomer….

At left is an actual photo that was actually taken by me, although it’s the kind of thing you see in a lot of tourist shots. I’m standing at Trafalgar Square, and part of the Nelson column is at the right edge. In the distance is Westminster Palace, the seat of parliament, with the iconic Big Ben clock tower. Somewhere along the street we’re looking down, along the right side, is a gate that leads to 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister. But there’s not much to look at for the casual tourist, just a guarded iron gate. One can’t even see the iconic door to the residence itself.

Christina at Trafalgar
Originally uploaded by joelpf

Christina and I stopped here at Trafalgar Square for a break after walking around a bit (and here’s a photo of that at left), but we actually started the day with a view over the city, courtesy of the London Eye.

The London Eye is something like 135 meters (443 feet) high, which made it the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world when it was built, but since then it’s been surpassed by The Star of Nanchang, China, at 160 meters, and soon by the Singapore Flyer, at 165 meters. Seems like the Asian Tigers have begun a race-to-the-top with Ferris Wheels much like they have already done with skyscrapers.

Eye on Westminster
Originally uploaded by joelpf

However, being 3rd-tallest instead of 1st-tallest really didn’t detract from the experience. It was quite a pleasant ride, and we benefited from some uncharacteristically sunny weather. Still a bit misty, but the views were long nonetheless. And the ride is slow enough that you don’t feel rushed, and it wasn’t so slow that it bored someone like me who is relatively new to London. The construction is also setup so that you travel in a plexiglass-enclosed pod, one of 32 in total, that extend out from the main wheel, so for much of the time the views are unobstructed. It really starts to feel like you’re floating over the city. All in all, I recommend it.

More posts coming soon from London.

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