Saturday, 17 September 2011

An Eve on the Eye

It's been quite a touristy week, what with the proms and the palace at the weekend I also went (for the first time) on the London Eye last night. I was amazed when we arrived around 6.35 how big the ticket queue was, are people really still interested? Apparently so.

I also had a free voucher that had come some time ago from Tesco (when she scanned it turns out it was from May-not as long as I thought!) having had a look on the website I knew the last flight is at 8pm-quite early really but even though it has just turned September we are in 'winter hours...' yes it made me depressed too.

They also seemed to remove a lot of 'cashier' type people not long after we started queuing...but never the less it did go quite fast. I wouldn't fancy doing it on a sunny Saturday afternoon! Now for some reason only known to myself I thought the flights were every half an hour as this is how long the trip takes, logical so I thought. Once we bought the tickets and was told to proceed to queue I asked when the next flight was, and was politely reminded the thing is doing a constant circle...your wait will be about 5 minutes. What a dope.

We had also been prompted to buy a guide and the '4D experience' being £1 and £4 each respectively, we politely declined. When en route to the wheel we were again prompted to go via the 4D experience...'it's free' we were told. Where that breakdown in communication had come from in the space of 27 seconds I don't know. However yet again we politely declined. due to my eye sight I can't actually see 3D it just gives me a bit of blurred vision and a headache. Apparently this is common for people with a prescription such as mine (which is very rare...go figure)

So we had been advised of a 5 minute wait time so we dutifully joined the back of the queue. It was however pretty entertaining. On the walk down the south bank there were the sprinkling of street entertainers/artists etc. There were also two really random ones...a guy dressed as a chicken and 200m or so further along a guy dressed as a rabbit. Now the people on the south bank generally make a lot of effort...not these two. They were literally just people in costume standing around begging. The rabbit was absolutely hilarious. His costume was pretty manky and he was actually a bit scary, donny darko esque! He was also making absolutely no effort to 'entertain' not even a wave as passing tourists. At one stage he did a sort of shuffle on the spot but we decided he probably just needed the toilet. What may be a good idea is if you're in the south bank area and have a fox costume just lying around maybe give him a little chase.

When we got on the eye and it was a really nice evening, a few clouds but good visibility. It was sound 7.10 at this point (as you can tell from the Big Ben pics!) so we had a nice view and tried to work out what we were looking at. We also felt as if we had gotten into a carriage with the paparazzi, people were literally going nuts taking photos and we had barely left the dock! I felt like saying to them, honestly the view is going to be better up there, and you may enjoy it more if you look with your eyes not your lens. We took a couple of the mandatory pics but mainly enjoyed trying to work out the major land marks. It's very different to the other 'visual' attractions I've been on-for example in New York I have done both the Empire State and Top of the Rock, with Manhattan you can basically see it all; park, Yankee stadium etc also in Vegas the 'top of the world' in the Stratosphere - you're looking at the strip an you can see it all. With London however it's so vast and all the sights are spread out. We spotted the main things pretty fast (you know, the Thames..Big Ben...) and it was quite fun trying to work out others. It's a shame you can't see any of the parks or green spaces or the palace. It is amazing from up there working out the route from London bridge (shard) to Liverpool street (gherkin) and my house (total guess). It's also a shame you can't see any of the Olympic developments, I suppose they are just so far away.

Once we got to the top the sun was setting so we got to experience it both in the day and then with the buildings all lit up..perfect timing or what.

I'm glad I've been and done and appreciated both lights. I wonder what's next on my tourist tick list?! I suppose it's good to start doing these things after living in London for 3 years

Parliament by night and day
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