Following on from my last post, I am pleased to say that both my father, brother and I managed to make it to the top of the O2, and back down again without any incident.
The mini-holiday to London started off as I wanted it to, and I returned to the spot on the south side of the river from almost a year ago to take some pictures, kindly escorted there and back by my brother. This year with a tripod, and DSLR the results were so much better than last year’s attempt. All the photos are at the bottom of the page, but below is my favourite one of the evening:
Climbing the O2 meant an early start, as our expedition was due to start at 9:00, and being around 40 min away by tube, meant wakeup was at 6:30 for breakfast at 7:00. The safety briefing of the climb was done by a pre-recorded video, which comedy value would probably appeal to the tourists, but was mediocre at best. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take up big cameras, as there was only one small pocket for a phone or little camera. Thankfully my mother was able to lend me her compact Canon PowerShot S100, which was perfect at taking a few snapshots of us at the top, and some HD video.
The climb itself took around 15 minutes to get to the top, and around 15 minutes to descend to the bottom, giving us approximately 15 minutes at the top, where we were uncoupled from the climbing rope system and able to move around freely. Although going on the first climb of the day probably wasn’t the best choice if you wanted a lie in bed, view wise it was the best possible choice as it meant that pollution was kept to a minimum.
At the top of the O2 you really could see the city, and how compact it was. Having stood on the top of the Empire State in New York, and The CN Tower in Canada, London although crowded, is perhaps the least of all three, but as there were plenty of cranes around, perhaps this wont be the case for long. The O2, or Millennium Dome as it was previously known, was built with ‘time in mind’. It has 12 towers, one for each month of the year, stands 52m above the ground, one for each week of the year, and has a diameter of 365m, one for every day of the year. When we were stood on top, we were told that if it were turned upside-down, it would take Niagara Falls 15 min to fill it, and on the top looking down we didn’t think this was correct. However when we exited the climb and walked through the building, she sheer scale of it meant that this fact was probably true.
Climbing to the top was by no means a tough experience, but by no means a walk in the park as the inclines were up to 35 degrees, so using the walking boots provided was vital to get a good grip. As with any tourist attraction they try to take even more money from you by selling you pictures which were taken prior to walking up, but the truth is, if you take your own camera with, and ask your guide nicely, s/he will take a photo for you, which wont cost you anything, and will look better than the one taken on the ground.
If you travel to London, this is an experience that is different from viewing the shops, or going on a boat ride on the river, and I think it was well worth it. Booking in advance is highly recommended, and can be done online, however be warned, even if its raining, windy or snowing – its highly likely your climb will still go ahead, although probably not be anywhere near as enjoyable.
Saturday night we went out for a family meal to The White House Express, whereby I had a fantastic meal consisting of Chicken Shishlik, Lamb Shishlik, Cutlet, and Steak, there were of course the obligatory side of chips and salad, meaning, the table was almost, but not quite full! The meal itself was beautiful, and as the weather was nice and warm we sat outside and watched the world go by. It was the perfect end to a high intensity day.
As for Sunday it was a more relaxing day, where I spent quality time with my father, we travelled to Embankment tube station, and then walked some of the river, and watched some of the street performers. It’s amazing to see so many different acts, and different styles when it comes to getting the public enthused to leave money. We had everything from Michael Jackson, to a guy with massive balloons – photos of the latter are below.
All in all, although it wasn’t a summer holiday per say, it was a fantastic little break away whereby we did lots of new things, with the added bonus of not being jet lagged on our return!