Monday, 10 September 2012

Swept up by the Summer of Sport

The Paralympic Games, 31st August 2012

After missing out on tickets repeatedly for the main Games I'd become a little disillusioned with the whole idea of the Games.  The disruption caused by the Olympic Torch Relay didn't improve my mood, then we had the Opening Ceremony and I was hooked.

Thanks to a tip off from a friend and an awful lot of website refreshing and shift negotiation with colleagues Mr Norfolkbookworm and I ended up with tickets to the Aquatic Centre and the Orbit Tower for the last day of August.

An early start from central London in glorious sunshine set the tone of the day - it was brilliant from start to finish.  We got off the Tube at West Ham and walked along the Greenway into the park and as the stadium got closer my excitement grew.  Security checks were fast and efficient and once we were in the Park we had time to grab coffee, juice and breakfast before going into the Aquatic Centre.

Our seats were right in the centre just under half way up and we could see everything.  Amazingly the pool area wasn't too hot and didn't smell of chlorine some really enjoyed seeing elite athletes give their all in the heats. We aren't ardent sports fans and so didn't recognise any of the swimmers at the time - after the past 11 days I now know many more! This didn't matter at all as we were just spellbound and cheering for everyone, especially when Paralympic records were broken.

After our session in the Aquatic Centre we wandered around the park, revelling in the space and beauty of the area and then we had our trip to the top of the Orbit sculpture...

...this was a bit of an extravagance but it gave us the chance to see over the whole Park, into the Stadium and across in to London.  I also found the structure beautiful and the red of the metal against a blue summer sky very eye catching. While we were at the top the athletics finished and we saw just how busy the park gets when 80 000 people start wandering around!

Lunch beckoned after this and we had a lovely Mexican meal in World Square before visiting the London 2012 Megastore. After this we were beginning to flag and so decided to leave before the evening rush hour but even then strolling towards the exit along the canal bank we found more to see - including Gloriana, the Queen's specially built Jubilee barge.  It was a fantastic day and we are both so pleased we got tickets and could take part in this fabulous event.

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