Sunday, August 12, 2012

London Olympics

As you're well aware, the Olympics have come to England! We were able to get tickets to a football match close to our home in Durham and went with some friends to see two matches. We saw Honduras vs. Spain and Japan vs. Morocco. It was fun to finally get to see a football game here in England and great to be able to see an Olympic event so close to home.

Japan vs. Morocco

Last week we headed down to London (a 3 hour train ride from Durham) with some friends and stayed in a cute little flat while experiencing the crowds and events. We had an extra day to walk around London and made it to the Olympic park, though we didn't have tickets so we weren't allowed in.

Olympic Park from the outside

On Friday, we went to Wimbledon to watch tennis. The first match was Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro.

Roger Federer

The match lasted four and a half hours! It was the longest match in Olympic history. It was a great match, but as it began at noon and we figured we would eat lunch when it was over, we were all very hungry by the end!

Longest match in Olympic history.

We also got to see the gold medal winners Serena Williams and Andy Murray play in their semi-final matches.

Serena Williams
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray

After eight and a half hours of tennis we were ready to head home, but not before having a beer and a traditional Pimm's and Lemonade at Wimbledon.

Todd and I at Wimbledon

On Saturday night we headed over to the Horse Guards Parade arena to watch two games of beach volleyball. The venue was spectacular and we were very excited to be able to see Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh win their game.

T & K at Horse Guards Parade

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh

When we weren't at an event we headed to Hyde Park with the masses of other people to watch Olympic events on the large screens in the park.

Watching Olympics at Hyde Park

We also made our way to a famous London bakery- Hummingbird Bakery where we bought cupcakes of which Todd had "thee very best red velvet cupcake of his life".

The Hummingbird Bakery

Mostly, it was just fun to be in London and part of all of the Olympic craziness with lots of other out of town/country people.  We also got to see bits of the city at night that made our trip extra special.

Big Ben at Night

Monday, August 6, 2012

London 2012 Observations

A few observations from our London 2012 trip this past weekend:

-Wimbledon = awesome. Not a bad seat in the house. It's the only place I know where all 15,000 people sit completely silent during play. Even crying babies are shushed by everyone.
-If Serena Williams were to play Andy Murray tomorrow, she'd win in 4 sets.
-A 4.5 hour tennis match would be more enjoyable if the whole stadium wasn't starving for lunch.

-Brits must be very concerned about drunkenness in sporting events. Beer was pretty scarce in every venue.
-Surprisingly, food at the events was modestly priced.
-That said, London is still way more expensive than Durham.

-Riding the subway was very easy and not too crowded.
-Discovered London's Soho area. No longer a shady area (unless you think hipsters are shady), it has great food at a reasonable price.
-The Hummingbird Bakery is a must. Best red velvet cupcake I've ever had.

-The "party atmosphere" of beach volleyball was indeed fun, but somewhat distracted from the games themselves.
-The Horse Guards Parade venue was picturesque, situated right in the historic downtown.
-It seems that the British will always root against the US, even if it means cheering FOR Russia, of all places.
-For the record, both American teams won convincingly.

-Watching the Olympics in Hyde Park with thousands of people was one of the highlights of the trip.
-Serbians are FUN spectators, especially when you don't understand what they're saying.
-After seeing thousands of Brits disproportionately cheer for such small sports as rowing, sailing, and cycling, I can safely say that Americans aren't the only country with an unbounded enthusiasm for its own greatness.

(Pictures coming soon!)