Olympic Memories

With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to look at a little recap of my experience during the 2012 Summer Olympics I wrote for Chits & Giggles last year.

I'd love to share with you a little vacation we took in 2012 to England. Oh yeah, did I mention we went to the Olympics too and I was 3 months preggers with my second child?!

First off, I wouldn't exactly recommend taking your first big vacation away from your little one overseas during a pregnancy. Talk about emotions on overload. I think I cried the entire flight over there and my husband (as well as a few others on the flight) thought I was coo coo for cocoa puffs. I don't blame them.

Secondly, even if you are exhausted, go see EVERYTHING on your to see list - no excuses! If I can drag my tired pregnant butt across England, you can certainly drag your hungover self out of bed to sightsee all day!

Now, on to the good stuff.

As you can see from my second little tip above, I was not thrilled to be up early to spend all day walking around the Olympic Park. Our tickets were for a night event and I would have rather slept in then gone to see the handball a few hours before the event.

Fortunately, I got myself out of bed, put on my comfy shoes, and headed out for a day of long lines and lots of walking.

London did a great job with the park! I think I only stood in one line all day! Surprisingly, there was never a line to the bathroom + there was plenty to do + plenty of little gardens everywhere. It never felt crowded despite the thousands of people surrounding you at all times. Plus, the event volunteers (yes, almost everyone who worked the event were unpaid locals just in it for the thrill and excitement of the Olympics) were hilarious and extremely friendly at all times. It was a fantastic experience and I almost forgot that we were there to see Handball and not just walk around the park.

The day ended with sore feet and lots of new friends! I could talk for hours about the nice people we met during our trip. Londoners aren't exactly know for their hospitality, but the Olympics brought a sense of pride in their country that Londoners and the rest of England was very eager to share with us foreigners.

If you find yourself at the Olympics one day or even just somewhere you don't believe you'll ever visit again, be sure to fill your itinerary to the brim with activities + talk to every local willing to tell you a story. Exhausting, sure, but you will be so glad that you saw everything you wanted to see and you'll have a blast listening to locals describe their life in their own country to complete strangers!

Sorry, Sochi. Nothing can beat the generosity and friendly spirit of London during the summer of 2012.

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Goodbye London

 We had a blast staying with our friends in London.  Their place was amazing!  It was a basement condo, but it was huge and had high ceilings with large windows, so you never really felt like you were  on the bottom floor.  I really wish that I had taken some pictures of the interior of their place.  It really was the perfect place to live in London.  Gorgeous floors, lots of light, a large patio, and it's conveniently located right next to Paddington Station (the center of all things train / subway related).

Hopefully, we'll make it back to London when they are completely finished decorating for a little 'house crashing' tour.
Goodbye London!  See you again soon. :)

A Mini-Tour of London, Part 2

For our second day to tour London, we were joined by our newly married friends - Kat and Rob.
This was the Olympic mascot... a little strange.  Why can't the Olympic committee ever just have a normal mascot, like a teddy bear or something?
Here we are on the Millennium Bridge, which originally opened in 2000.  Unfortunately, it was closed down again just 3 days later because it was a bit wobbly and it did not open again until 2002.
We also made a little visit to the Tower of London.  Tons of history and little stories that I could write about for pages, but I won't bore you with the boring history details.  I'll just give a few facts that I found interesting.
There was no photography allowed while viewing the Crown Jewels, so I don't have any pretty pictures of diamonds to show off.  I did find it a little funny that they put you on a conveyor belt to pass through the exhibit.  It was a little funny, but very smart because nobody could stop and linger = no long waits or big crowds in front of the jewels.
The Tower of London is not only where they house the Crown Jewels, but it's also where King Henry VIII beheaded his wife, Anne Boleyn.   A glass sculpture now stands where many beheadings took place within the tower walls.

Another interesting fact is that there are 6 ravens that live at the Tower of London.  It is said that King Charles II disliked the ravens and ordered them to be removed, but was told that killing the ravens would cause the Tower to fall and the King to loose his kingdom.  The King said that he didn't believe that superstition, but then ordered 6 ravens to be kept on the Tower grounds at all times (with one backup raven just in case).  :)