Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Day After the Night Before


Well it was all pretty quiet and calm in Stratford early on this morning, which after all the drama and spectacle of last night, was a pretty big contrast. Like most Brits we scored absolutely zilch on the Olympic-ticket-application-front so a while back Woody hatched a plan and has been busily consulting timetables and maps for months.
Today was Day 1 of the Games and we travelled down to London on a pretty civilised 8.12am train and thanks to an amazingly smooth journey, hundreds of spectator advisors of every corner and London Transport seeming to have things all under control, we were strolling into the Olympic Park for 10.45am. Worth a gold medal alone I'd say.
No queues, no hassle just the friendliest faces, lots of fun and a really warm welcoming atmosphere. We came in past the Aquatic Centre and the cheers were immense, really lifting everyone and made us feel that we weren't on the edge of the venues looking in, but part of this amazing show.

Just as we arrived The Queen headed home and we had a fabulous view of her with the Duke, Princess Anne and Lord Coe sweeping out of the Park. The boys were amazed and were impressed she was up and about so early today; that parachute jump must have taken it out her.
It's a truly magnificent place the Olympic Park. The venues are enormous and very imposing and the wild flower meadows are just stupendous, like flowing rivers of jewels. I'd seen them featured on Gardener's World and was hoping they'd not been washed out by all the rain. But they're stunning and there are buds and other plants maturing to take the display through the Games and right on to the end of the Paralympics.

Paths and rivers wind right through the meadows and they sort of settle and link everywhere together and whereever you look people stop and stare and gently let their hands waft through cornflowers, corncockle and poppies. Its magical.
When you think that this part of Stratford was one of the most polluted places in Europe, the Games has transformed it into a beautiful oasis, full of colour, nature and the most fantastic facilities that will bring so much to so many for the future.

That and the amazing attitude of all the volunteers and staff we met made me feel all wobbly and quite teary I can tell you.
Still not sure about the Orbit though - whoppingly expensive and it looked strangely out of place and even quite old fashioned to me. 
It really felt as if all the world was there today, we heard so many languages and saw people from every continent.
Part Two of the day was all about the bikes.You know we're cycling buffs in our house so the chance to cheer on the GB boys who've only just returned from the Tour de France was all part of the plan.

We headed for Green Park right alongside Buckingham Palace and with the sun still shining, deckchairs out and ice-cream on tap it was a brilliant and very British-style spot to while away some very nervous hours while we listened to commentary of how it was all going a bit wrong for them.
Such a shame but they gave it everything and being the best team in the world has big consequences in the politics of the peleton. Most of the riders out today have spent the last month shadowing and learning our guys tactics on the Tour and with a team only half the size it was never going to be totally in their control, (especially when the other teams decided to sit back and let GB do all the work), and would never be the walk over the press would have us believe.

Just to cheer them as a sort of thank you for the Tour was such a great opportunity for us bike nuts (not that I go anywhere far on my bike with a basket!)

So despite the disappointment we had a most brilliant day and all for nothing bar the travel to London; (a free family travel card came with the free Park tickets). Roll on the rest of The Games!

27 comments:

loveandlilac said...

Fabulous photos, thanks for the tour!

loveandlilac said...

Fabulous photos, thanks for the tour!

Sue said...

Wow, it looks wonderful. My mum and dad are going down tomorrow to watch football and hockey (last minute tickets including 5 star hotel for £150). My mum says she's only going to see the wildflowers.

Karen said...

What beautiful flowers. You have captured beautifully what I love about the Olympics. I am very moved by the feeling of everyone coming together - the whole world on our doorstep and for once for a positive reason. I loved the Olympic flame being lit by young people who are already working towards excellence in the future and the fact that so very many are giving up their time just to be there and to be part of something we can be truly proud of. I am totally loving this and if we weren't off to Ireland tomorrow I would be getting on a train to London myself. Yours looked a perfect day.
Sorry seem to have gone on. Also did you see 'Bert and Dickie'? Think you would love it if you didn't, 1948 Olympics story and lovely.

Katy Noelle said...

Too fun for words!!! We're 'standing' in teary awe over here, across the pond, at how beautifully you Brits are hosting the games! =]

xo

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I wish I was there.

Betty said...

Until I read your post I hadn't thought it would be worth going up there just to see the venue itself, but you have changed my mind - those wildflower meadows alone would be worth it! you had such a good day and all free - thanks for sharing. Betty

KC'sCourt! said...

It all looks perfectly stunning!
Julie xxxxxxxxxxxx

Ali said...

Looks brilliant! We have some volleyball tickets for Thursday and I am beyond excited about going. Though it is at Earls Court rather than The Park so I appreciated your sneak peek very much.

gartcott aka Penny Hannah said...

At last! Some proper pictures of the venue. Television skims over everything, so it's wonderful to see the detail. Those wildflowers and your photos are wonderful; thank you so much. I'm with you on that ugly great structure - no doubt very clever and ecologically commendable, but just looks too industrial somehow. Glad you all had such a great day out. Well done, Woody.

Magic Cochin said...

What beautiful photos! I didn't realise tickets were available just for the park - that's all I wanted to see! We walked round the perimeter last year to see the venues being constructed and 'practice' plantings were in flower.
Were the tickets really free?! Or have I misunderstood?
On our way to a party in Kingston yesterday we took a short detour, parked and walked to the cycle race route - amazing warm hearted support for all the riders. Even though they passed in a blur of colour in seconds!!!! Really exciting!
Now trying to work out a plan for seeing the park!
Celia x

itsjustperi said...

Thank you for showing us around , love your little mosaics but the wildflowers ahhhhh awesome. Wouldn't you just love a little wildflower meadow like that. They should sell ' Olympic seed packets' and give all the money to charity :-)

VintageVicki said...

It all looks lovely - the gardens are stunning and I'd love to see the venues close up.

Shame about our cycling lads - shame the rest of the world had no 'olympic' spirit :(

dancingonabladeofgrass said...

What a beautiful blogpost. It captures the spirit of The Games in a way that is totally missed on television so thank you very much for that.

Your wildflower photos are brilliant and I agree about the Olympic Seed Packets from the commenter above.

Shame about the cycling ...

Christy said...

I'm so glad you shared the wild flowers with us that are around the stadium so beautiful.

I watched the opening ceremony over here in the States and I must say for once I felt Wow they got it right.

Christy
Lil Bit Brit

knutty knitter said...

One of our boys got 10th in that bike race and it looked stunning from here. The meadows are just lovely. Pity about the orbit - it's just ugly!

viv in nz

Kate said...

Thank you so much for sharing those wonderful photos Steph, what a wonderful day to share with your family! I'm off to Greenwich Park for eventing tomorrow with my girls, we're very excited (and you have eased my worries about the journey somewhat)I so want to see those meadows for myself, maybe I'll plan another trip in the next couple of weeks.

Jacqui said...

Wow, such lovely photos!! I had no idea about the wildflower meadow, it's absolutely beautiful!! Love the deck chairs in the park! Looks like you all had such a great day out.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoying your photos and very nostalgic for me - used to live in Stratford in the early 1960's before emigrating to Aust. It has certainly changed, but then so have I!! Although I dont think I have become prettier!! Love reading the local's take on things, rather than what the tele choose to show us. Thank you..... Joy

driftwood said...

oh wow, those flower meadows are incredible. and what an amazing experience and to see the Queen too! lucky you! x my boys went to see Olympic football last night in Newcastle, not quite such a glamourous venue! but they said the atmosphere was amazing.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I'd love to be able to visit the Olympic Park and your gorgeous pics have made me long to even more. Those flowers are absolutely glorious! Sadly though it's a bit too far for a day trip from North Wales. Will you go again?

LandGirl1980 said...

I have loved reading this and seeing inside the park properly. Such beautiful flowers!

Hmm - i am not a fan of The Orb - i think it is hideous and looks like a bit of left over scaffolding from the build.

Frances said...

Your fabulous photographs of the wildflower fields really do present a view I'd not seen anywhere else!

Thank you so much.

Country Rabbit said...

How wonderful Steph to be part of the british olympic atmosphere - I was not at all into the swing of the olympics until the opening ceremony - myself and my sister were in tears...there's been a lot of boohoo political moaning about it on the radio but i for one was a changed woman! I absolutely loved it!...its made me appreciate sport in a new light ;0) Come on GB!!!! hehe ;0)x

Hope you are having a smashing summer too Steph x

Sew Recycled said...

Those meadows are amazing, really inspiring too. It looks like you had lots of fun x

Sophia Merrill said...

Your coverage of the Olympic Garden was so much better than anything I could have hoped to catch on the U.S. channels here! (Big media doesn't understand the importance of flower garden coverage!) Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful adventure to London! - Sophia

cheri said...

What fabulous photos and the park looks beautiful.
I too was there to cheer the boys on in the cycle race but I wasnt able to find out how to buy tickets into the park.