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First glimpse of the London Eye

December 31
The London Eye. Basically what this is is a ferris wheel on LSD.

Now when I first heard of the London Eye, I thought, "Big deal, a ferris wheel." But man. This thing is huge. It's amazing. It revolves a few feet above the Thames River, right across from Parliament, and despite its height and weight it's held up over the river by two huge legs which look like something out of Star Wars. And as you can see the legs are both on the same side, yet somehow it hasn't fallen over into the Thames--not yet anyway.

Five capsules

Yes, I think huge is a good reason to go see an attraction. You might not think so, but really, think about it...the Grand Canyon is just a big ditch. Niagara Falls is just water changing altitude.

You'll have to forgive all the grey-looking pictures, but what can I tell you, it was another grey day in London.

London Eye with a tree of some kind in the way

So basically it's a nearly 500 foot high bicycle wheel.

We saw the Eye on the last day of the year, and later that night we discovered that London hosted a huge fireworks display which was launched straight from the London Eye over the Thames River. If we had known we might have come back to view the show; this was a spectacular sight to see, even on television--picture the fireworks shooting into the sky, the Eye turning, the reflections in the water--so I can only imagine what it would've been like in person.

Why doesn't this thing fall over again?

But we would've had a crowd of about 4 million stinking drunk Londoners to contend with, not to mention we would've had to figure out how to get to and from our hotel with the Underground closed down (they close the Tube every New Year's apparently).

Okay, we're still pretty far away from this thing

With 10,000 visitors a day, you really have to plan ahead. The girlfriend asked the concierge at the hotel about reservations, and he arranged them for us, and a good thing too since when we got to the Eye in the early afternoon to pick up our tickets they were already turning people away. And be ready to wait, even with reserved tickets, you still have to spend an hour in line.

So what I'm saying is it's big

The Eye never sleeps. When it's running it doesn't stop to let people on or off--you step right into the moving car. But the cars move at only ½ mph, so don't worry, you can manage it. The Eye is so vast that a single rotation takes thirty minutes.

London Eye's fat thigh

If we make another pass through here and release our tow cable, we might have a chance to bring the Walker's our only chance!


A view of London from the top of the London Eye.

Hey that guy has my wallet
Your average typical run-of-the-mill normal ferris wheel will seat around four or five people comfortably. But the cars on the London Eye could provide comfortable, spacious permanent housing for a family of five. And their pets.

Seriously, one of these cars, or 'capsules' as they call them, weighs ten tons,and is at least as big as some of the basement flats we walked by in London.

Nice digs for politicians, eh?

A view from the eye looking across the Thames to Parliament (the British equivalent of Congress).

The obligatory Big Ben pic

The girlfriend poses in front of the Thames River and Big Ben. Did you know Big Ben is not the clock tower you see behind you, but actually the name of the bell? Well my girlfriend did.

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