At one point or another everyone dreams about exploring the world and experiencing all that it has to offer. I first developed the travel bug when I was a young boy and its stuck with me for my whole life (and I'm not exactly a young boy anymore). ...by dcampFriday, 13 December 2013
I think I must have been about 12 years old when I first started to seriously dream about traveling. It all started when I went with a friend to an enormous used book store (more like a barn) near my home in New Jersey. It was here that I came acro ...by dcampSaturday, 14 December 2013
When the travel bug first hit me I wrote down all of the places I wanted to visit in a 150 destination Global Bucket List. Who would have ever thought that this wouldn't end up being enough? You can find the list by reading my blog: A Tale of 2 Buck ...by dcampMonday, 14 October 2013
On my travels throughout the world, I've seen many, many great sites, met a lot of interesting people, and tasted lots of food (some good and some not so good.) Although I certainly am not a fruitarian, I do have a keen eye for fruit – and on my tra ...by neytiri12345Wednesday, 02 October 2013
Yes, I've been meaning to write a followup to my earlier blog post "Sunsets" – but, you know how things always get in the way... been busy travelling, you see... A personal goal of mine has been to see a sunrise on as many continents as possible, an ...by foamfollowerThursday, 25 July 2013
My obsession with traveling around the world came from two primary sources – both books. The first was Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Vern and the second was A Vagabond Journey Around the World by Harry Franck. Both of these books made it abu ...by dcampMonday, 15 July 2013
Zoos are a place that we've all visited at one time or another. Some are good, some not so good. Well, over the weekend I cam across a place that made me look at the keeping of animals in a whole new light. It's called the Pearcedale Moonlit Sanct ...by dcampTuesday, 02 July 2013
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” - Lao Tzu. Well, after months of planning I’ve finally taken that first step. Now I find myself in a foreign city on the first day of my Wanderjahr. Thankfully (due to smart planning) ...by dcampSaturday, 20 July 2013
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Gaining a Perspective
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” - Lao Tzu.
Well, after months of planning I’ve finally taken that first step. Now I find myself in a foreign city on the first day of my Wanderjahr. Thankfully (due to smart planning) the city is London where the culture shock of leaving the US should be manageable. But even though I can understand everyone (for the most part) I still find myself at something at a loss as to where to begin. Planning an epic journey around the world is very different from actually living it.
So, after a quick stop into an information center I decided to gain a perspective on a city that was in many ways my family’s ancestral home. And according to the lady behind the information desk, the best place to gain this perspective on London was at the top of the London Eye – one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels.
Located on the south bank of the Thames, the wheel was constructed in 1999 and reaches to a height of 135m (443ft). As you can image, the view from the top of the wheel is amazing – which is probably why it ranks as one of the UK’s most popular paid (Adults - £20 / Children - £12) tourist attractions.
However, there are a few things that you probably don’t know about this famous London landmark. Some of these include:
- The Eye receives more visitors each year the Taj Mahal or Pyramids of Giza
- The 32 seal, air-conditioned passenger capsules represent the 32 boroughs of London.
- The 32 capsules are numbered 1-33 (lucky 13 is left out for obvious reasons)
- The Eye had a predecessor (The Great Wheel) which operated up until 1906 and was significantly more modest in size.
A trip on the Eye is comprised of 1 complete revolutions of the wheel (lasting 30 minutes) with unobstructed views of the city in all directions from the top. Some say you can see as far as 100km on a clear day, but probably about half of this is more accurate. The only thing I know for certain is that it provides a fantastic view of the city with the main attractions clearly highlighted for tourist and local alike.
As the wheel slowly revolved (at about 1km/hr) I had some serious thought to what I wanted to see during my next few days in London. The list I came up with included:
1. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace – perfect place to try and crack the stony resolve of a Beefeater with my Ringo Starr impersonation.
2. The Tower of London – place where half of England’s royalty ended up getting the chop.
3. London Bridge – critical link across the Thames (not to mention a famous nursery rhyme.
4. Big Ben – perfect place for a time check.
5. Westminster Abbey – I always remember seeing Prince Charles and Lady Di get married here when I was a kid.
6. Piccadilly Circus – London’s version of Times Square.
7. The British Museum – easily the best free museum in the world.
8. Harrods – London’s most famous department store.
9. Ride a Double Decker Bus – there’s nothing more touristy than this!
10. Madame Toussads Wax Museum – see all the legends immortalized in wax.
I figured that if I could knock out this list I could at least claim the moniker of a full-fledged American tourist in England. By the time the wheel brought me back down to ground level I felt ready to begin exploring arguably the world’s hippest cities.
Let the fun begin… yeah baby! (Austin Powers reference J).