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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

London Eye - Try it - Even if you are afraid of heights!

Visually stunning, the London Eye has become a center piece for the skyline of central London. Originally built for the year 2000 celebration – and subsequently scheduled for demolition after 5 year, it has become the only profitable attraction that was built for the celebratory Millennium event. Appropriately, it was originally named the Millennium Wheel.

London Eye - Approaching the Ferris Wheel
Taking the 30 minute ride on the London Eye was one of the things that I really wanted to do on our trip. Ashley on the other hand is neither a fan of heights or Ferris wheels, so it took a little convincing to have her agree to go. After our visit, she was glad that she went on it – or at least she wants me to think that. Our timing for the week was very good as it was a relatively clear and sunny day in London that made viewing spectacular.

There was about a 15 minute wait to get our $31 USD (each) tickets for the ride. In retrospect, we could have purchased the online. But, my difficulties in getting reliable Internet connections combined with our careful weather watching for the best view possible made it less practical. Since the line was relatively short with comparable summer waits, we simply proceeded to the line for the London Eye and boarded within 5 minutes.

Boarding our capsulized pod for the London Eye
The pods or capsules can hold up to 25 people, however in ours there were only approximately 10 visitors. We had plenty of space and I was able to take pretty much any picture that I desired to around the 360 degree view.

London Eye - A look up to where we will be going
As we started to move, I was immediately shocked by how smooth the ride was. There was not jerking, swaying, swinging or any other types of movement that you associate with your typical Ferris wheel. It felt like we were simply floating through the sky as we rose towards the sky over London and took in the view. In all, it took about 30 minutes to make the revolution and complete the experience.

Ashley takes a photo of Ken looking out over the skyline with Big Ben
This is definitely an attraction the caliber – perhaps not with the historical significance yet – of other major cities such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris – which we get to see in a couple of days. The ability to rise 135 meters (about 500 feet) above and soak in the skyline of London is well worth the price of admission, even if it is a little pricey.

London Eye - Photo of Millenium bridge from our capsule
The biggest story here is that if you are afraid of heights, or have a tendency to experience motion sickness on your typical carnival Ferris wheel – no need to worry. The rotation of the London Eye is so slow and the experience is so smooth. Ashley can tell can definitely tell you this from her experience as she typically never will step foot on such a contraption. However, she felt quite comfortable throughout the ride -- do not be afraid to try it!