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Travel ian 2/1/2013

Prithee, M’lud… it doth seem that yon shard projects too much.

February 1, 2013, and London’s tallest building and newest tourist attraction is open for business.

At 76 storeys, the Shard will also be Europe’s tallest building, until an erection nearing completion in Moscow pips it.

Your humble blogger won’t be hopping in shiny new lift to sample the view and for more reasons than being prone to vertigo.  You see that wee circle down below in the photo?  That’s the London Eye and that was a high enough view for me.  Mind you, from the top of the Eye I couldn’t see the top of The Shard… not a distance issue, just that it was overcast and it had its head high in the smoggy clouds.

It seems that some people think it sensational and others are thinking, “An architect, an architect, my kingdom for an architect…”  The architect is an Italian, Renzo Piano, and he may just be a step ahead of his time.  After all, his fabulous Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea, once controversial, is now much loved… and the Eiffel Tower is now the pride of all things Parisian for the French and it was initially considered a temporary eyesore.

Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, it costs half as much to go to the top of it as to The Shard’s viewing platform.  That costs £24.95 ($38).  It is envisaged that 1.5million people each year will hop in the high-speed elevators for the 360 degree some 244 metres up.  That’s more than £37million recouped, not that the oil-rich developers, Qatar, is looking for that to survive.  Qatar forked out £450million for this vertical city and it won’t be out of pocket for long when the 8,000 inhabitants move in to the residential apartments, luxury shops, posh offices, restaurants and the five star hotel.

While I’ve got the calculator out… high-speed lift... six metres a second… 244 metres… why, that’s only forty seconds you have to hold onto your lunch!  No, sorry, it is definitely on my empty bucket list.

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