Now and again everything falls into place. Sunday was one of those times, as we visited the Olympic Park on the second day of the London 2012 Games.
Short drive to Ebbsfleet International station to pick up the High Speed Javelin train – 10 minutes to Stratford International. Short walk through Westfield shopping centre to the Olympic Park entrance.
Admittedly there was nothing on in the main stadium, so no surges of spectators to deal with but the marshalling and security (army personnel) were friendly and efficient.
The Olympic Park looks wonderful. I visited it just over a year ago and it was great to see how the landscaping and planting has matured – helped no doubt by the record-breaking wet weather!
We didn’t have tickets for an event, so spent the day wandering along the waterways, watching the big screen and soaking up the atmosphere, with the odd bit of retail therapy thrown in.
The infrastructure seemed to cope well although as the Park got busier long queues formed for the official merchandise shops and the mega MacDonald’s outlets.
Perhaps realising that they couldn’t shelter everyone from the British summer, the venues planners offered virtually no protection from the rain at all. At one point footpaths by the water were temporarily closed because visitors were taking cover beneath the bridges! But this was a minor inconvenience and the mood of park visitors, event ticket holders, staff and volunteers was almost universally sunny.
If you can’t get to an event, then sitting on the lawns of the Olympic Park watching live on the big screen is surely the next best thing. We’ll remember cheering on Lizzie Armitstead to her cycling Silver Medal, as thunder echoed around London skies, for a long time.
Well done to all the construction professionals, facilities and support staff who made it possible.