Monday, May 4, 2009

Cruising the Thames to visit the London Eye

27 December 08

Version 1 of events - we were very keen to go on the London Eye to get an overview of the city and its layout.

Version 2 of events - we were desperate to go on the London eye ‘cos it’s big, round and cool, and what better way to get to it from Greenwich than to take a cruise up the Thames, ‘cos boats are also cool.

Canary Wharf

Sha looking all Russian

London Bridge & St Paul's Cathedral

Tower of London & the Gherkin

The Slug

The Globe Theatre

Cleopatra's Needle

Our destination

The London Eye is one of a handful of visual monstrosities dotted around the city, others include a building affectionately known as the Slug, and another called the Gherkin. Such monuments serve to remind you that London is a modern city, which is a good thing, otherwise you could be forgiven for thinking that every spare inch of London is a memorial to some act of historical torture, poverty, social injustice or (to be fair) social change.

The Thames has clearly changed a lot over time. Its history as a place of commerce and hard work is still evidenced by the architecture and industrial remnants, however, many of the buildings along the London sections now house apartments, cafes and restaurants. The conversion of old warehouses into trendy apartments is very popular, although the property market isn't doing as well as it was a couple of years ago.

We never quite imagined how picturesque the Thames actually is, especially towards the outskirts of central London.

Contrasting views of the Thames:



Above photo taken from Jason Hawkes website



Going up the eye

Just like my sister, I am not a fan of heights although oddly enough the London Eye didn't really worry me. After queuing, you head into a encapsulated bubble and are spun slowly around the giant wheel, with the entire flight taking about half an hour. There has been the odd little hiccup in the past, as per this news story but generally the Eye is reliable. Hmmm, I just read that they do Hen and Stag parties. Oh dear. Although that could be amusing if it were to break down while one of those were going on.

In our capsule there were about 24 people which is bit of a squeeze. With that many people, it was a little hard to get a good view all of the time, but we did manage to get one for most of the time.

At the height of the wheel, the distance you can see out to is impressive. It gives you a really good sense of perspective of London and surrounds, perhaps only a helicopter could get you a better view.

Yeah, the Eye is a very touristy thing to do, but it is very cool and well worth a look in. One bit of advice is to try and go during the week and out of school holidays if possible as this should minimise numbers a little. A few days after Christmas is not really ideal timing!

On the way up

Looking South

Looking North East

The capsule behind us

Looking North East again

Looking South

Well, that's all for now. Don't forget - all the above pictures can be clicked for a close up view. Stu & Sha - bringing the hard to see even closer.

From here on in, we will be co-writing, so sit back and enjoy! Coming up, the stage show of Monkey and then a Doctor Who exhibition.

1 comment:

Ness and Dave said...

Wow, that's pretty crazy having that many people in one capsule - when I first looked at the pics I assumed it was the old standard ferris wheel with only a couple of people in each one, but its obviously a lot larger than that!!!

Funny article about the malfunction - I wouldn't want to have to use the commode in front of that many people!!!

PS - good word verification this time: "nessl"!!!!!!