Our last days in London
Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
32Trip End Aug 25, 2012
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Today we had tickets to the Men's Table Tennis team quarterfinals at ExCel in the Docklands area at 10.00, so we dragged the kids out of bed and headed off there, this time catching the Overground at Dalston Station, a short walk away and connecting with the DLR train to the complex. It was impressive that we got to our seats there within an hour.
There were two tables playing at once, and as usual the Chinese guys were looking strong, beating Singapore pretty comfortably while the Japan - Hong Kong match was much closer, Hong Kong eventually winning in the doubles. The speed and spin with which they hit the ball is extraordinary at this level, and Tom had his eyes on stalks as he explained to us the finer points of what they were doing.
From ExCel we headed into town. We were searching for a tennis backpack for Tom and visited many stores along Oxford St and the Strand, before finally finding a good Babolat one at John Lewis department store. Then we found a nice little pub where we had lunch while watching Andy Murray play Roger Federer in the gold medal tennis singles at Wimbledon. It was a great game and Murray blasted Federer away, while the whole pub cheered on uproariously!
Michael and Tom had tickets to the Athletics, so after doing a bit of clothes shopping with them, finding some nice tops for Tom, they headed off to Olympic Park leaving Rachel and me to go shopping in compensation. We traipsed our way through various stores and eventually found Abercrombie and Fitch where Rachel was desperate to get a tracksuit. We walked straight past the store at first as it looked more like a night club! It was quite dark inside with loud music pumping and buff looking topless men hanging around the entrance – apparently that’s part of their image. Anyway, Rachel managed to find a top and some pants she really liked so we bought them at vast expense and then headed out back into the light and comparative peace of a London high street. Next we went to Zara, where I found a nice shirt and cardigan and Rachel found a great dress and cute little tennis jumpsuit/dress. Satisfied with our purchases, we finally caught the tube and bus back to the flat.
Monday August 6
Today was our last day in London – hard to believe it would go so quickly. After a good sleep-in we spent the morning making arrangements for where we would go next. Originally we had planned to go to France and then Ireland, but decided to swap that around so that any Olympics we watched on telly would be in English, not French! We booked some airline tickets to Belfast with Flybe, and found a nice hotel, the Wellington Park, to stay. I also got lots of washing done before we were heading off out of range of a washing machine!
Then it was time to go and visit some of the London landmarks we had missed out on so far. We hopped on the bus to town, connected with another and got off at Trafalgar Square as Rachel wanted to sit on a lion! It was fun wandering around there in the sunshine, and then we headed off to the Embankment to find somewhere to eat a late lunch/ early dinner before the Olympics. Eventually we found a nice little pub, just as it was beginning to spit with rain. After a pleasant meal we headed on out where the rain had cleared, wandered around a bit more and then caught the tube to the Stadium.
For our final night of the Olympics we saw the finals of the men’s 400m Hurdles, the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, the Women’s Shotput, men’s 400m and women’s Pole-Vault – a pretty incredible line up! Also they had the medal ceremony for the men’s 100m so it was exciting to see Usain Bolt get his medal in person, even though Rachel and I had missed being at the race.
It was a great night at the stadium, so it was sad to farewell it at the end and go home through the crowds, knowing that our Olympic experience for this year was over.