Live in London: Day 7—Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park & British Olympians
blog by Victoria Mintz • August 03, 2012 @ 10:54pm
After an exhausting Thursday, my family and I decided to sleep in a bit and head into London later in the day to do some more sight seeing and shopping. Getting to London around noon, we caught the 12:30 p.m. train from Brighton and arrived at Victoria Station a little after 1:30 p.m.
The city was exceptionally busy, crowded with Olympic fans and tourists taking pictures, jumping on and off the tour buses and walking around taking in all the remarkable sights of the glorious city.
Having suffered from a lack of tourists and general human “traffic” within the city over the past few days, all was well and booming once again as we left the station. (British news reports state that both London tourism and general resident travel dropped a whopping 20% the first week of the Games due to concerns regarding the overwhelming volume of “Olympic traffic” that would consume the city during the duration of the Olympics)
It was a beautiful day and a great opportunity for us to walk around the city, visiting different areas we hadn’t yet seen. While visiting a variety of cute boutique shops along the main streets of London, we ran into the mother of the infamous Kerri Walsh—U.S beach volleyball player and three time Olympian now competing in her fourth Olympic Games. She was extremely down to earth and chatted with us about her time in London and her daughter’s exciting matches coming up this weekend.
Once parting ways, my sisters and I decided on visiting Buckingham Palace where we noticed an overwhelming amount of people crowded around the gates. At first we didn’t think anything of it because usually the traffic around the Palace is crazy due to the changing of the guards etc but suddenly we heard people clapping and cheering as two women exited the gates and headed down the street with camera crew in hand.
Of course being the Olympic “creeps” we are, my sisters and I decided to follow the crowd and find out what all the fuss was about. Turns out the first-time British Gold medalists for rowing—Women’s Lightweight double sculls pair Bronwen Watson and Hannah Every-Hall had just received a tour of the Palace and met the Queen. We put our true lurking skills to the test and followed the ladies down the street to try and get a picture –don’t worry we weren’t the only ones!
Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a picture with them because they were running late to a meeting—the life of an Olympian. Clearly we are bad luck charms when it comes to pictures with the athletes.
Lastly, we finished our day in Hyde Park (located right by the beach volleyball events) where we were able to sit and relax while watching live Olympic footage streamed on jumbo screens all over the park. In order to enter the park however, you had to go through security clearance just like that of the other Olympic venues to ensure the safety and security of the public.
The line up lasted a good half an hour due to the steady crowd of people but was constantly moving to ensure everyone got in. Housing millions of people for free, it was an amazing sight yet extremely packed which made it difficult to find a good spot to sit down and enjoy the Games. After walking around the Park for 15 minutes, my family and I were able to find a great spot and enjoyed a lovely few hours of Olympic coverage.
It was amazing to see everyone so excited to watch the Olympics and I love that London provided an area like this for those who weren’t able to buy tickets to any events or couldn’t afford them. It’s a great idea and is actually a fantastic way to bring everyone together!
Yet another great day in London—two-day countdown till the first synchro event begins Sunday afternoon at the Aquatic center in the Olympic Park! Can’t wait, stay tuned for more Olympic coverage. Cheers!
Fun Fact: The 2012 Olympics will have 2 significant milestones for female athletes. It’s the first Olympics where every country has at least 1 female athlete. Also, Female Boxing was included this year, which means that every sport in the games will have male and female competitors.