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Up on Top of the World (almost!)

This morning, London woke up in a decidedly grumpy mood. A thick blanket of grey clouds hung low, and a persistent drizzle threatened to escalate into a full-blown downpour just as my adventure at Up at the O2 was about to begin. Visions of scaling a giant, wet dome filled my head, and my excitement began to dampen (pun intended) along with the city.

But fate, it seemed, had other plans. By the time I reached the O2 Arena, the rain had mercifully subsided to a light mist. It wasn't exactly the tropical paradise I'd envisioned, but for climbing a giant dome, it was practically a miracle. Relief washed over me – because let's be honest, battling gravity on a slippery surface wasn't exactly on my bucket list.

Geared up in my harness and sporting a grin wider than the Thames (thanks to the weather gods), I joined a small group for the climb. Our guide, Joshua, was a walking ray of sunshine, his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge about the O2 keeping us entertained throughout the experience.

The climb itself was surprisingly manageable. Sure, the initial incline got my calves working overtime, but the gradient soon eased, and I found myself confidently striding across the curved roof of the O2. And then – the views!

Even with the clouds still hovering faintly overhead, London sprawled out before me in magnificent splendour. The River Thames, a shimmering silver thread, snaked its way through the heart of the city. In the distance, the futuristic towers of Canary Wharf pierced the sky, their sharp angles a stark contrast to the graceful dome of the O2. And off to the east, I could just make out the silhouette of planes taking off and landing at London City Airport, adding a touch of dynamism to the panorama.

We lingered for a good while at the summit, snapping photos, marvelling at the cityscape, and listening to Joshua's fascinating commentary. He pointed out hidden gems, historical landmarks, and architectural marvels, bringing the city beneath us to life. It was a truly unique perspective, one that allowed me to appreciate London in a whole new way.

The descent was a tad more nerve-wracking, mostly because you're looking straight down! But with the help of the trusty harness and Joshua's watchful eye, we made it back to solid ground safely. And guess what? By the time we were done, the sun had even managed to peek through the clouds, casting a warm glow over the city.

 It felt like a perfect metaphor for the entire experience – a bit of a grey start, but ultimately an amazing and sunshine-filled climb to the top!

Article & Photos By Sal Fasone

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