Big Ben is one of London's best-known tourist landmarks, and looks truly spectacular at night when the clock faces are illuminated. You even know when parliament is in session, because a light shines above the clock face. The name Big Ben actually refers not to the clock-tower itself, but to the thirteen ton bell hung within. The bell was named after the first commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall.

The clock in the tower was once the biggest in the world, able to strike the first blow for each hour with an accuracy of one second. The clock mechanism was completed by 1854, but the tower was not fully constructed until four years later.

Behind me in this shot is the famous London Eye. I am looking up at Big Ben.....

I had to take a shot of this very cool statue of "Victory" riding a's on the bridge leading over the Thames from Big Ben to the London Eye.
The British Airways London Eye, sometimes called the Millennium Wheel (Coordinates: 51°30'12?N, 00°07'11?W), is the first-built and largest observation wheel in the world (a type of or evolution on the Ferris wheel), and has been since its opening at the end of 1999.
Mike and me on London Bridge with Big Ben behind us....
The Eye stands 135 metres (443 feet) high on the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in Lambeth, London, England, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges. It is adjacent to London's County Hall, and stands opposite the offices of the Ministry of Defence situated in Westminster which it overlooks to the west.
Designed by architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, the wheel carries 32 sealed, air conditioned, passenger capsules attached to its external circumference. It rotates at a rate of 0.26 metres per second (about 0.9 km/h or 0.6 mph) so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes to complete.
The wheel does not usually stop to take on passengers; the rotation rate is so slow that passengers can easily walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level.
Structurally the Eye resembles a huge spoked bicycle wheel, and was depicted as such in a poster advertising a charity cycle race. The wheel is not the first of its kind, one much smaller used to stand oppoiste Earls Court station during the latter part of the 19th Century and which just like the Eye was for Londoner's and visitor's enjoyment.The Eye was opened by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 31, 1999, although it was not actually opened to the public until March 2000 because of technical problems.

The wheel was constructed in sections which were floated up the river Thames on barges and assembled lying flat on pontoons. Once the wheel was complete it was raised into its upright position by cranes. The wheel was initially lifted at a rate of about 2 degrees per hour until it reached 65 degrees, where it stayed for a week while engineers prepared for the second phase of the lift. The total weight of steel in the Eye is 1,700 tonnes.

In the background is the British Parliment Building and Big Ben!

The Eye is currently listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest observation wheel in the world. The original 1893 Ferris wheel was 75 m high
After a nice ride on the Eye, it is time for more english food and an english beer of course! It was a very cold day, as you can tell by Mike's red forhead!
An enormous hot baked potato on a cold windy day really hits the spot!
Now off to Harrods, and a visit of this very famous store. I was a bit dissapointed tho. It was a huge store, but the building is so old, and the building is composed of many small rooms....and an awful lot of stuff was just expensive tacky stuff....oh well. Here is a stuffed elephant toy bigger than me!
Mike also took me to the famous toystore "Hamleys". This was a pretty cool place, about 5 stories of toys and things.
I especially liked a small set of remote control tanks. You steered it around shooting at your opponents tank, and if you sucessfully got a good shot at him, your opponents controls gives him a small electrical shock! How cool is that?
Here in the Picadilly Square area is a district called the "Swiss Friendship Plaza", after a big "friendship exchange thingy" a while back with the English and Swiss governments. I was a pretty cool place for food....I had some excellent pasta here!
Another shot of one of the movie and live theater areas....
It almost felt like Vegas with all the lights and such...but it had a very different feel.
Driving thru London, there are many nice parks and recreation areas. It looks like a great place to go for jogging, or bike and horseback rides...
Whoa....did I just say Horseback Riding? Don't hit one, Mike says if you kill a horse with your car, you owe the value of the horse, the money the horse would have earned, and the money the horse's descendents would have made.....
Some very nice old Victorian architecture was everywhere....cleaner and newer looking than that of Germany, but the German buildings felt more "authentic" somehow...
The Royal Albert Musuem....didn't get a chance to get in there this time for sure!
The Concord!.....or at least a static display of it out on Heathrow's taxiway area.....
This is what England looks like from 10,000 feet...lots of little housing areas, just like what it looks like in the Harry Potter movies.
And this is what Siberia looks like from 45,000 feet. 4 hours of nothing but snowy forrests and mountains, at 600 mph. I sure wouldn't want to be at a gulag here!
And a shot looking down at 20,000 feet above Japan. It was very gusty from Korea on....Flying over Siberia was not bad, it was pretty smooth. The air got pretty choppy the last two hours.
Looking down into Tokyo Harbor at alot of the oil processing centers. The landing was very rough, the 747-400 swayed alot all over the place as we landed. The pilot did an excellent job with the heavy gusts we had....still a "white knuckler" tho...
Here is that beautiful big bird that took me back to Tokyo from a really nice vacation in Europe!