Sunday, March 19, 2006

"The Gherkin" and other amazing London architecture

In 2004, London's skyline changed in a way that is probably not known to most. That's when the Swiss Re building, a.k.a. "The Gherkin," was completed ("gherkin" is Brit for "cucumber," that's me "licking the cucumber"). It's unlike any building I've ever seen- a 40-story phallus spiking up like a bullet into the sky, right in the middle of London's staid and historic financial district. It looks AMAZING and so innovative, really an architectural inspiration.

Then there's the Millennium Eye, a. k. a. the British Airways London Eye, which unfortunately suffers from very unfortunate names. I say "unfortunate" becuase this is an engineering and architectural marvel that has become the most popular (read "overcrowded") tourist detination in London. I can only imagine what a zoo it is in the summertime! The ride takes about 30 minutes- just for a single revolution- which means that you get to go nice and slow and see the entire city of London from a 360 degree perch that can be found nowhere else in London (that's Parliament and Big Ben over my shoulder in the photo).

I think the (smart) city leaders were trying to create a millennium-inspired viewing platform that would act as an iconic tourist spot, just like the Eiffel Tower does in Paris, or the Empire State Building in New York.

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