The London Eye is one of those tourist attractions that makes you question whether it is “worth it.” At more than $40 per person for a thirty-minute ride in a glass bubble filled with other snap-happy tourists this is a serious question. Add to this a travel partner who is truly uncomfortable with heights, and the decision becomes harder. In the end, like all tourists, we ended up taking a ride on London’s waterfront eyesore. During my last visit I was lucky enough to have a nearly empty pod during the day time. This time we will go at night, and then our trips to the Eye will be complete, was my thinking as I pre-ordered our tickets online (regular, queue pricing is even higher!)
Even with the poor (in both senses of the word!) Frenchman sitting on the pod bench muttering that he was not enjoying himself whatsoever and was feeling queasy as our podmates quietly and quickly eased away from him, this second (and last) ride on the Eye was very much worth it, for me at least. The lights of London at night along the Thames are marvelous with Big Ben stealing the show.
Though we did not go into Big Ben, we loved the monument, and it was the first thing the Frenchman requested to see upon our arrival in London. En route to the famous clocktower we spent quite a while discussing the positives of London’s architecture, which is easily comparable to Europe’s other capitol city – my beloved Paris. While, I, of course, rooted for the white limestone uniformity of Paris, the Frenchman found London’s mixture of older buildings closely resembling Haussmann’s Paris with newer architecture to be the best of both worlds.
Another best of both worlds may have been allowing the Frenchman to instead drink his $40 in beers at the bar with his feet planted firmly on the ground while I took a spin with my camera on the world’s largest carousel.
Another tourist attraction in the form of a carousel that may or may not be worth it is Paris’ Grande Roue. Even though it is *only* 10 euros per person compared to the 30+ euros per person for the Eye, the Roue is not worth the money, in our opinion at least. Unlike the Eye, though also enclosed it is chilly; the ride is quick; and the view virtually the same as you can get from other Parisian landmarks that you are surely bound to scale, most notably the Arc de Triomphe. Save your money and buy another chocolat chaud instead.