“Look kids, Big Ben!” — Those Crazy Roundabouts

One of the best travel-related scenes in a movie is from European Vacation when Clark and family enter the huge roundabout in London and can’t get out. “Look kids, Big Ben,” he says over and over again each time they round the circle. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s the scene on YouTube.)

My family and I found ourself in a similar situation once. We were in Paris; Dad was driving a rental car and we accidentally ended up in the hectic mess of cars that surrounds the Arc de Triomphe. I was pretty young at the time, but old enough to remember plenty of expletives coming from the front seat as I tucked my head between my legs and prayed. What’s worse is the only reason we found ourselves in that mess is because I wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe. Here I was in one of the largest cultural centers in Europe — home to places like the Louvre, the Pantheon, and Chateau de Versailles — and I wanted to see the Hard Rock Cafe. Let’s never speak of this again.

The photo above is of what’s known as the Magic Roundabout — “the world’s ultimate traffic-control system” — in Swindon, Wilshire, England. It was built in 1972, and features five mini roundabouts inside of one larger, parent roundabout. Check out more pictures and video after the jump. Yikes!

You can buy a t-shirt with this design on it.

Here’s video from the driver’s prospective. Note: wicked techno soundtrack included.

Easy, right?

This scares me.

And yes, we finally made it to the Hard Rock Cafe. I’ve got a shirt to prove it. [via]