Getting high in London

With a height of 154 metres and a diameter of 123 metres, the London Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and offers the highest observation point in London. The 32 pod-like passenger capsules (representing the 32 boroughs in England), affords the viewer the safety of being sealed and water proof, as it boasts the sobriquet of ‘’the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.’’ Now why would anyone want more to be any ‘’higher’’ than that?? Who needs drugs! Get it? High on drugs…… high as in tall……no? Never mind, you must be already high!

Like most worldly attractions, with 3.5 million visitors annually, this is one of the most popular attractions in London. This popularity is aided by the fact that it sits on the South bank of the Thames, just across the street from the time icon, Big Ben and the seat of parliament. A few blocks down the street are the Westminster Abbey, and 10 Downing Street (British PM’s office & residence). If you watch the show ”Yes, Prime Minister,” this is the famed set of the entire show.

postcard perfect, isn’t it? Big Ben and Parliament building across the Thames

Now with all this fanfare buzzing around, how could the London Eye escape the scourge of being a ‘’major attraction’’? Not to forget that the main port of embarkation to the London Water Taxi is just below the Westminster bridge (the bridge that connects the south and north side of the Thames), and the City Bus Tour conveniently pass through this bridge and stops at every major point of interest, conveniently arranged along this main course. Coincidence? Nah! Design impelled by pecuniary interest.

It is actually quite convenient if you are on a time budget. You can zip through the main attractions in London via boat, or bus – a similar tour plan to Paris in a day (you must begin early). Now, we won’t argue the point of intellectual property for this particular tour plan; we don’t want to start another decade-long haggle between these two! Might begin WW111; oh wait, that’s Iran and Iraq……..or wait, is it the US and……? Never mind, this is a politics-free blog……………focus!

Westminister bridge over the Thames, with Big Ben in background

Big Ben is, well…….big! But then so is the leaning tower of Piza, ah, but that is in Italy! And like the leaning tower, there is an architectural flaw in the Clock Tower (well, in this case it is more an intellectual handicap), there is no lift inside the tower, so viewers eager to catch a glimpse from within, must climb 334 limestone stairs to the top (it is not open to the public anyway).

Now after spending all that money to get there, who wouldn’t want to be photographed next to the big guy?? On the Westminister Bridge to boot!

BB (yes, we’re on familiar terms of address) is known for its stability in keeping time, worldwide (except for the many times it malfunctioned, but who’s counting?! The monastic shepherds won’t tell; I don’t think they can, they are sworn to secrecy – wait, isn’t that against the whole idea of piety? Ah, who cares! We reside in a world where dysfunctionality is the new norm), and like the leaning tower of Piza, this big fellow is also leaning – yes, it is! Not due to an engineering or design defect (thank goodness, as that may have caused poor Pugin to lose his head – literally!), but through changes to the ground levelling, caused by the recent construction of the Jubilee line (the newest addition to London’s underground line).

The tower now leans – visibly! – and continues to do so annually. Alright, the perpetual flux of nature, while some are going up (skyrisers, etc.) some are going down: Piza’s tower, Big Ben, the island of Venice, and Hawaii, or Kansai International Airport in Japan. Let’s wait to see who will win this international sinking/ tilting race. I have no bets out, but all I’ll say is that the water comes to knee-level in Venice; often; I’m just saying! Okay, enough literature………………enjoy the photos. They are good, yes I know! Someone should be paying me, I swear!!

across from the London Eye, one of the points where you would take the taxi boat for the water tour along the Thames


looks just like a bicycle wheel, doesn’t it? London Eye, at night


and this is what the capsule looks like, with its pod-people (daytime)


yes, it changes colours; London’s now bluish-purple eye


   A two-toned Parliament Building, taken at twilight


The Shard, by day; more on this in the next post