Life highlight: in London at Games time
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.
To 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.
It'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?