The London Eye - also known as the Millennium Wheel - is a majestic phenomenon situated in the heart of the City of London. Incredibly close to the Houses of Parliament, this impressive and towering icon highlights the masteries of archeological achievement (being an incredibly beautiful structure that is also completely functional) and also serves as a representative of the City of London.
Opened to the public in March of 2000 shortly after its official opening by then Prime Minister Tony Blair, this giant Ferris wheel - one of the tallest in the world – is located along the South Bank of the River Thames and offers millions of visitors the opportunity to climb into one of its thirty two capsules and experience the opportunity of a panoramic view of the city.
With the opportunity to experience this cultural icon that is a requirement to anyone visiting the city I, along with a few other girls here in London as part of a study abroad program queued up at the designated time. Having come with the expectation that getting through the line would take a while due to the London Eye being a major tourist destination, I was remarkably pleased that it moved fairly quickly (although with each capsule capable of holding up to twenty five people, it really should not have been a surprise).
As the capsule slowly made its way to the top, the city opened up before our eyes. Familiar sights that had been seen before from the ground, such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Southbank Centre, came to have a greater impact because now, instead of those locations seeming larger than life and almost foreboding in a grandiose way, seeing them from up on high turned them into tangible destinations, capable of being accessible to everyone and fully explored in every detail. It was remarkable to see how in every direction one looked from the top of this structure the great sense of connection the city has to its history.
At one point during the trip, I found myself pacing from side to side, just looking out at the city and I had a slight moment where my inner sadistic storywriter thought that these little capsules would be a great place to hold prisoners in. In this way they would be able to see the temptation of freedom but would be unable to get out. This observation, however, did not seem to make sense to anyone other than me.
At the start of the trip, we were informed that the rotation completely around the wheel would take thirty minutes. At that moment, it had seemed as if that was a shocking long time for the journey, but in the end it really was not. It was not nearly enough time to truly explore and find every building and remarkable feature laid out from the center of the city to the edge of the horizon. I guess I will have to do it from the ground.