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Globetrotter Gaffes: My Foggy Failure on the London Eye

If you have come here to delight in spectacular views of London, I regret to inform you that you have been misguided. The following tale is not even slightly uplifting, and the grey haze overwhelming the accompanying pictures will not inspire any #wanderlust or retweets.

To those who read this post to its tragic end, I can offer one consolation.  Such accomplishment merits a drink, and I have provided a tasty recipe that may just be enough to drag you out of your impending depression. Alas, the London Fog is not an alcoholic beverage, so you will almost immediately be met with further disappointment and woe. You’re probably best skipping this blog post altogether and visiting happier places on the internet such as here or here.

Still reading? This isn’t reverse psychology, I promise. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Foggy london eye up close

A tragically artsy-fartsy photo from my miserable misadventure.

The bad beginning

I woke to the swoosh of curtains parting, and a heavy groan. I wiped the crust from my eyes to see my boyfriend, Daniel, gazing gloomily at a wall of fog. This was the day that we had booked tickets for the London Eye Ferris wheel so that Daniel could see the city for the first time. Great.

“In England the mornings are always foggy,” I rationalized. “By the time we get there, the sun will be shining like it has been all week.” This reasoning reassured us. Plus, optimism was warranted since we had spent upwards of 80 euro on this tourist attraction.

London Fog on Mount and South Aldley

The futile journey begins…

We drank our coffee and ate our toast in our AirBnb, looking anxiously out the window hoping for the clouds to disperse. But, on exiting our suite, we entered a persistent mist. Our optimism wavered.

Accustomed to southern Spain’s mild winters, we braved into the cold with scarves wrapped around our necks and our gloves tucked into our jumpers. The wind nipped at our noses, but on we marched, careful not to slip on the black ice that had formed on the cement.

After ten minutes of brisk walking, Daniel shot me a pained glance. I recognized his characteristic look of anguish.

“I have to pee!”

Several times we attempted to slip into pubs and cafés along the way so that Daniel could answer Nature’s Call.  Alas, the waiters stopped us each time as if trained to identify freeloading bladder bandits. Our tight budget and timetable did not justify a £4 coffee in exchange for a toilet.

Victoria Memorial, consumed in fog

Victoria Memorial, consumed in fog

We approached Buckingham Palace through Green Park. Crowds were forming for the changing of the guard due in 30 minutes.

“No puedo más!” (I can’t hold it).

Daniel’s reverting to Spanish revealed the urgency of the situation. We searched desperately around for a coin port-a-potty, but embarrassing relief could only be found behind a few sparsely-planted trees.

“Just wait until we tell everyone back home that you peed in front of the Queen’s residence!” I laughed, as I stood guard to defend Daniel’s decency.

Green Park, a.k.a. Nature's toilet

Green Park, a.k.a. Nature’s toilet

We continued towards the River Thames, fog still clinging to every building. Big Ben appeared to suffocate in its hazy grasp. Crossing Westminster Bridge, we observed the grey nothing along the river and could barely discern the bottom of the giant 135 metre Ferris wheel. Daniel and I exchanged disheartened looks and a synchronized sigh, aware that our views of the London were doomed. Alas, we were too stubborn to skip the attraction and forfeit our non-refundable tickets.

Big Ben under a blanket of fog

Big Ben under a blanket of fog

foggy london eye

Not even photoshop can magic away this haze.

The prisoner’s march

Queuing in fog for the London Eye felt like a slow march towards Azkaban prison. The line was dead silent and collectively gloomy: everyone knew their money was wasted, but we punished ourselves on principle. We trudged past a concession stand – a forced detour designed to snatch yet more money from us. The only colour that lit the scene mocked us – the red logo of Coca Cola, the London Eye’s sponsor.

london eye queue

The excitement was uncanny.

Next we were ushered in front of a green screen by a London Eye employee. We politely declined for our photo to be taken to mark this historic event, but were abruptly instructed to smile and subsequently handed a receipt for the photo stand. Already in a foul mood on account of the weather, the shamelessness of trying to squeeze a few more quid out of us represented another attack on our pride. At the front of the queue we were herded like sheep into passenger capsules, which at this stage felt more like prison cells.  Characteristically, we were advised to “mind the gap”. Ironically, falling through the narrow opening would likely offer more adventure than the foggy half hour that lay ahead.

london eye pod

Our vessel arrives.

london fog jailbirds

Waving to the prisoners next door.

Serving the sentence in the London Eye

Misery loves company, and that company comprised of about a dozen other dejected detainees being denied of London’s wonders. I’ll admit, I found a glimpse of humour in an overcompensating mother taking selfies with her family, a big overenthusiastic smile plastered on her face. She made a game of guessing what was hidden behind the fog with her daughter, who wasn’t nearly as keen. Only looking back can I really appreciate the irony; at the time I could only feel sorry for myself.

London Eye Ferris Wheel Fog captives

My fellow captives. You can see the happy mother rear-center.

Mind the doors London eye

Morbid, I know, but the warning served as cruel, cruel temptation.

Finally, a robotic voice declared the end of our sentence and instructed us to exit to the left of the pod, where yet another touristic photo was to be taken. Only the chirpy “selfie-mom” rushed over, dragging her family with her to capture the memory, while the rest of us hung back.

I gripped Daniel’s hand when we were released and let the air greet my cheeks. Rolling our eyes as we passed by the gift shop and tourist photos, we resolved to cast aside our negativity and enjoy the rest of our day.

another photo op

Like hell we will..

spectacular foggy view from london eye

A spectacular view…on other days I’m sure.

foggy london dungeons from the london eye

Looking down on the London Dungeons (or looking from? I can’t tell)

ticket for the london eye

Money well spent!

A fraudulent refreshment

London Fog Latte

London Fog Latte

Despite warning you to click away, I do feel responsible for putting you through this disastrous travel story. I know that you probably would like something hard, but I cannot advise consuming alcohol to help relieve you of misery (at least without you signing several tedious release forms). Instead, the aptly named “London Fog” latte should bring up your spirits. This drink’s name is a misnomer: it pretends to be all British and fancy, but was actually invented in Vancouver, Canada. It’s a fraud, but it’s a delicious fraud. If you want to veganize this con, use almond or coconut milk. Yummy vegan trickery.

london fog latte

Cozy, warm, and not at all staged London Fog latte.

Print Recipe
London Fog Latte
Ironically, the London Fog was invented in Vancouver Canada. It offers a unique twist on a latte blending Earl Grey tea, vanilla and milk. Try it with coconut milk for a creamy vegan twist that compliments the floral notes of bergamot.
London Fog Latte
Course Drinks
Cuisine Canadian
Prep Time 30 seconds
Passive Time 5 minutes
Servings
cup
Ingredients
Course Drinks
Cuisine Canadian
Prep Time 30 seconds
Passive Time 5 minutes
Servings
cup
Ingredients
London Fog Latte
Instructions
  1. Fill a cup half-way with hot water, and steep your tea for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
  2. Warm your milk in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. If you have one on hand, use a steamer or milk frother to make it thicker in texture.
  3. Fill the cup up with the milk and stir in a drop or two of vanilla extract. Add brown sugar or sweetener if desired. Enjoy!
Share this Recipe

What is your most upsetting #travelfail? Let’s weep together in the comments!

34 Comments

  1. I like your spirit and the london fog recipe 🙂 Will need to try it out. I can imagine the disappointment being on London eye on such a foggy day. Reminded me of a couple of times when we went to hill stations to watch far and wide from a cliff and it got foggy all around. Glad that you decided to enjoy rest of your day despite it.

  2. Love this post. It’ reminds me so much of Lemoney Snickett. And I am so sorry that you didn’t get to see the view from the London Eye. That’s a real bunmer. But thanks for the drink recipe. Looks delicious.

    • I think the fact that I had been watching the new Netflix series of A Series of Unfortunate Events maaaaaay just have been an inspiration to set the tone of this post 😉 You caught me!
      Let me know if you try the drink! It’s so yummy.

  3. I have been in Daniels situation before in big cities, thankfully the trees I went to pee in were not as sparse! It’s a shame about the weather when you guys were in the London Eye, at least you had clear views of the other carriages! On the other photos, I love the effect the fog gives to them.

  4. Despite your bummer of a day, I thoroughly enjoyed this article. The misty haze actually heightened the beauty of Green Park though I think…transforming it into something rather mysterious and alluring. Like maybe it would beckon me to pee on it one moment and then strangle and hide my body beneath the fog the next. I busted out laughing at the photo of the double doors from the Eye and its solid white sheet of nothingness view. And the London Fog Latte was a clever added touch. Your self-deprecating humor and storytelling style made this article a delight to read. I love bloggers with good humor and will be booking your site to check out more posts from ya in the future.

    • That’s so nice to say about the photos… there’re too many misleading sunny photos of London on the net already, keeping it real over here! Glad you enjoyed the read! Let me know if you try the recipe 🙂

  5. At least you will have the everlasting memory! If it was sunny, you would have better photos but probably forget about the experience in few days.
    When I lived in Dubai, I planned to go to Burj Kalifa viewpoint for full 9 months. At first, I thought it was too expensive, then when I said I will go anyways every day was so foggy or sandy I just skipped it. I would have the same view as you, just with more sand lol.

    • Ah! Hate it when you put something off and then once you get around to it, it doesn’t work out!
      Yeah, I was in a really bad mood that day, but it’s a story to tell for sure!

  6. That is unfortunate about the lack of visibility you had while you on the London Eye. 🙁 I’ve been to London four times, and only once of those times it turned out to be a nice & sunny day, so I definitely can understand your disappointment. Other than that, the drink recipe sounds so yummy, I’m definitely going to try it! 🙂

  7. I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out as planned for you and Daniel. 80 Euros is a crazy amount of money to spend on a ferris wheel even if it wasn’t foggy. My memory must be fading as I don’t remember it being that much when I last visited the London Eye but it was over a decade ago. I find it disconcerting that the no one would let Daniel use the toilet and hilarious that he had to use a tree. Don’t worry I won’t tell the Queen!

    • Well the tickets were a combo package with the bus tour which was 40 each. Otherwise I think it costs about 25 pounds each. Still pricey, especially if you get stuck in the fog!
      I appreciate you keeping mum about the pee-tree… Hopefully Lizzy II doesn’t read this blog post! haha

  8. It was actually so refreshing to read this post. Travel blogs are about the experience. And this is very much true for all travelers, not just in this case. We all have had those experiences wherein we are so anticipating something because we picture it to be what we read in travel magazines. But nature can get in the way and ruin it for us, but it’s okay. At least you got to live that experience.

  9. Honestly these types of posts are good! It’s not all sunshine and roses when we travel and it’s good to set people’s expectations. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t the best, but thank your for sharing anyways. The recipe at the end was a good touch. I wonder if there is an option to buy the tickets day of, so you can test out the weather, before spending so much money?

    • Keeping it real here! Travel fails happen to the best of us!
      You totally can buy tickets the day of, but of course you’ll have to suffer the queue, and I think you get dinged an extra 5 pounds or so. In hindsight though, what with London being notorious for this type of weather, that’s what I’d do next time!

  10. Aww what a shame for you guys 🙁 Although on the upside it did make for a funny and entertaining post, I had to laugh. Your tea sounds delish 🙂

  11. I’m laughing about the bathroom situation because that kind of thing always happens to me! Great read!

  12. Love it! Glad to see that not all travel blogs are all fun and filled awesome views that make me feel envious that I’m not there too.

  13. Too funny a great read! Thats the UK for you weather is not terribly co-oprative! (Brit x-pat!) Some family members had a very similar experience in Hong Kong a week ago! Fog more fog and smog! You will not forget your London Eye experience!

  14. “Freeloading bladder bandits” made me laugh out loud. This is a great post and how wonderful that you were letting people know that not ALL travel is perfect pictures and experiences. On the flip side, you had a true London experience!

  15. A great story at least! I had the same experience when trying to see the statue of liberty. There were a couple of us with our GPS on our phones saying ‘it should be right in front of us’ and nothing…just more fog.

  16. He he….bladder bandits was the funniest part of the story…I dare say…I want to steal this term that you have coined. Its terrible when weather ruins your plans. We went to Hallstatt in the middle of summer, expecting to see the reflection of the Alps on the lake…fog fog and more fog!
    Hope you get to go one more time and see stuff without fog from the London eye!

  17. Oh, sorry to hear that your London Eye experience was a bit foggy. I rode it a few times, and always bought my ticket day of based on the best weather conditions and if I felt like going on. The London Fog is part of the city charm, but that probably does not make you feel better.

  18. Fog is the bane of many an experience while traveling. Or it can make it into a different experience, at least! You’ll probably laugh about this in times to come, I hope Daniel’s bladder has recovered, though 🙂 I do love the atmosphere the fog creates in the pictures, especially of the park!

  19. That was really hilarious. I can’t believe that Daniel managed to pee in front of the Queen’s residence due to the interference of the staff stopping the freeloading bladder bandits. I like the term. But we do not have control over things like this. So better take it with a pinch of salt.

  20. Sorry about your experience but, thank you for keeping it real. I liked the photos because that it how London can be. I liked the recipe.

  21. I shouldn’t find this as funny as I do! Just think at least we got a few good stories out of this foggy experience. I did giggle at the pee-behind the tree happening. I always find that the markets in London have bathrooms if needed.

  22. I couldn’t justify paying the admissions fee for the London Eye and also didn’t want to wait in line (I didn’t pre-book anything), but I actually think your photo of the London Eye in the fog is really cool! I totally get that you’d want to see everything on a clear day, but the fog adds an element of suspense to your photos that is really unique that you couldn’t have gotten on a clear day. 🙂 I also didn’t realize that each pod on the ferris wheel is so large and seats so many people. The biggest ferris wheel I’ve been on seated maybe 6 people. Way to stay positive through it all though, and sounds like you still had a fun time. 🙂

  23. Oh, what timing! 🙁 I have to laugh with the happy mom who was trying desperately to make lemonade out of lemons with her daughter. Bless her heart! Even though the views weren’t….at all, lol, at least you can say you rode the iconic London Eye! Were you insulted by wonderful weather the very next day????

  24. This reminds me of the trip to London for my 30th, we visited Winter Wonderland and wonderful it was but the weather was not! Reminded me of home this post 🙂

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