A Journey Across the Thames on the Olympics Cable Car, a set on Flickr.
On August 6, as I explained in a previous article, Jamaican Independence and a Giant Tent: Photos of a Visit to the Olympic Site at the O2, featuring photos and commentary, I cycled along the river from Deptford to Greenwich peninsula with my wife and son, to visit the O2 (recorded in that previous set of photos), and also to travel on the Emirates Air Line, the cable cars across the Thames, which run from North Greenwich, near the O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome) to the Royal Docks. The visit was for fun, but was also part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, which I have been recording here since June.
Intended to transport Olympics visitors from one venue to another, the Emirates Air Line project — named after the Emirates airline company, the biggest sponsor of the cable cars, who provided £36 million in a ten-year sponsorship deal — also provides a useful way of crossing the river at a point where there are few other options — just the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to the west, and the Woolwich Ferry to the east — and it is both remarkable and commendable that bicycles are also allowed.
After first visiting the O2, our little family group queued for the Air Line, in a queue that, though long, was also fast-moving, and were then ushered into the cars, which move in an out of the terminal very swiftly. Because we had bikes, and only two are allowed in each car, my wife and son travelled in one car, and I had the following car all to myself, which seemed like a particularly good deal for just £3.60.
And then there was the journey! Although it lasted just five minutes, it was extraordinarily exhilarating — a rush into the air, to what seemed like an impossible height, with the most wonderful panoramas of the whole of east and south east London. I hope you enjoy the photos, and if you’re in London, and not nervous of heights or of travelling at speed high above the Thames in a slightly wobbly vehicle, then I encourage you to try it. See here for details.
Not everyone will like it, of course, as I found out on arrival, when one of our party had had the opposite experience to my own — a response that led to a lightly longer than expected return journey, by bike through Silvertown and Poplar, via the East India Docks Basin, and then down the western shore of the Isle of Dogs (which I photographed here) to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and home — a lovely journey that am always happy to make, now that I have discovered that there are few things better in life than cycling around London “with no particular place to go,” as Chuck Berry used to say.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Sue Glenton wrote:
Great photos Andy
Thanks, Sue. That’s very good to hear!
Sujata ॐ Barot wrote:
Thanks for sharing Andy. Great pics.
You are most welcome, Sujata!
Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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