Life highlight: in London at Games time

Last updated 13:35 30/07/2012

My life has peaked before on this trip (hello New York). I didn't expect NYC to be anything short of spectacular, though. London, not so much. I love the British capital, but when we discovered our trip was serendipitously timed for the Olympics, I groaned. "It's going to be such a nightmare getting around," I thought. Wrong.  

Being here for the Games makes up for all the FOMO (fear of missing out) I endured away from home during the Rugby World Cup. I hear the atmosphere was indescribable. Now I too am euphoric witness to one of the most spectacular shows on earth.

TorchTo wander around London at the moment is to feel like a small but necessary cog in the Olympic machine. The excitement of each individual contributes to elation you can feel beating through your veins. London has done it! Everywhere you look there's evidence of how much work the city has put into making this a smooth ride for locals and tourists alike. Pause to get your bearings? Look up and there's a pink Olympic-branded sign pointing your way. Lost? There's a volunteer handing out a free map.

Signs telling us how long it takes to walk between each tube stop abound; everyone is doing their darnedest to avoid public transport. Many businesses have their employees working from home and cyclists have multiplied like rabbits.

Walking has its advantages during Olympic time. You won't bump into the torch doing its rounds on the tube. It was thrilling to step out of a shop on Oxford Street on Thursday and into a crowd armed with phones, video recorders, cameras - anything with which to capture the flame going by.

Hyde ParkIt's impossible not to get caught up in the hype even if you're hard up like me and can't afford to attend any events. London sure knows how to throw a party. Its go-to venue, Hyde Park, is so abuzz with Olympic festivities they've had to throw down bark, the ground is so torn up. The torch lighting ceremony on opening night eve started the show with acts like Dizzee Rascal, the Wanted and Mark Ronson.

But the moment I realised this was my ultimate life highlight was when I stood at a bar a 10-second sprint from Olympic Stadium and watched the Red Arrows fly overhead. I shook off the previous night's hangover, grabbed the nearest drink and joined the screaming throngs. I haven't stopped shouting since.

Are you here? What are your experiences? Where have you come across an unexpected life highlight?

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Hazard   #1   08:17 pm Jul 30 2012

OMG I am not there but you have successfully made me green with envy! that sounds spiffingly amazing! Keep up the olympic blog updates so I can live it through your experience. So jealous.

May   #2   10:48 pm Jul 30 2012

Sounds amazing! Great to hear such a positive review of the atmosphere. Can't wait to get there myself!

JMid   #3   11:00 pm Jul 30 2012

Totally agree! I've been living in London for over a year and nervously watching the dreaded day creep closer - it hasn't helped that there have been ads everywhere warning us that the city will be "exceptionally busy". For a commuter, it was an incredibly daunting prospect. But when I stood on the pavement in Ludgate Circus on Thursday (about 100m from my office) and watched the flame go past, something clicked and I truly began to appreciate how amazing it is that I am living in an Olympic city. Watching the opening ceremony with tens of thousands of other Brits/Aussies/Kiwis/misc on Friday night in Hyde Park added to the excitement. You haven't lived until you've sung Bohemian Rhapsody with 50,000 people. Go NZ!!!

Ml2b   #4   05:37 pm Jul 31 2012

I'm feeling the London pulse at the antipodes. What a great buzz you exude. And how wonderful to get in with it all. One would have thought you had a few tickets to show off about but you have passed on the thrill and appreciation of the Olympic City as though you own it. Keep it up. Maybe you could organise an Olympic tour next time round. You obviously have a zest for life. Go Roil!! You will definitely make the heats!!

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