We split up first thing this morning. Brandon and I headed to the London Eye.
Katrina headed to the Tate Museum. The Tate has the best collection of British art in the world. It specializes in works from the 16th century to the 20th century.
The London Eye is the world's largest observational wheel. It is designed like a giant bicycle wheel. The British and Dutch did all the engineering, with Czech, German, French and Italian mechanical parts. Approximately 25 people ride in 32 air conditioned capsules for the 30 minute ride. Yes, it takes 30 minutes to complete a complete rotation. At the top, visitors are 443 feet above the city.
Near the top
At the top
At the top, looking straight down.
The London Eye was built to celebrate the millennium, but due to its popularity, it's 5 year lease has been extended as it becomes a fixture of the London skyline.
Brandon and I really enjoyed the ride and the views.
Our next stop was Hamley's, near Piccadilly Square. Hamley's is the biggest toy store in Britain. In 2010 it is celebrating 250 years in business. It boasts 7 floors of toys (for those from Corvallis, imagine the main floor of toys at the Toy Factory then multiply by 7). One floor was just stuffed animals. Another floor was full of games. One whole floor carried just 'girl' stuff and the next one had 'boy' stuff. The store carries over 28,000 toys and is staffed by 200 employees, some dressed in costumes while others give demos of the latest toys. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed in the store.
Katrina sent us a text that she was done, so we agreed to meet in Piccadilly Square to find some lunch. While walking back toward Piccadilly, we spotted firemen pulling a firetruck down the street. They were raising money for testicular cancer research. They were hilarious and very blunt, shouting things like "Whip em out, check em out!" "Testicles, everyone loves balls - men love them, women love them." We donated several pounds.
They passed this wedding party and invited them out into the street for a picture. They are all laughing because the firemen were explaning to the bride how important her new husbands testicles are.
We found some lunch, then headed to the London Transport Museum. This museum covers the history of tranportation in London, Europe's third largest city. It has displays of transportation from the 1800's to present day.
Brandon with a famous black London taxi
This evening we went to the cinema to see Toy Story 3! We were so excited to find a movie we could all see in English. The movie was fantastic. I liked it just as much as the first two. We saw it at the Apollo West theaters, near Piccadilly Circus. We paid the equivalent of $67 for the three of us to see it. No popcorn or snacks - just admission. That is a lot, but in this instance it was money well spent. By the way, this was the nicest movie theater I have ever been in. It had stadium seating with wide cushy seats. If you wanted, you could get wine, beer or even a bucket of ice with champagne.
Tomorrow we will visit Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard ceremony.