Live in London: Day 3 - Travel travails, ticket wicket stickiness
blog by Victoria Mintz • July 31, 2012 @ 6:55am
It’s Day 3 and we finally got a taste of the Olympic experience as my family and I headed into London for our first sporting event. The morning started off pretty early as we all got up around 8 a.m. to get ready, grab a bite to eat and head to the Brighton train station located 20 minutes away from our relatives’ house.
We had previously bought train tickets for Monday morning so that we were prepared and not stuck in the hustle of Monday morning traffic. Unfortunately, we soon found out that tickets bought before 10 a.m. during the Olympics include a charge of an extra 20 pounds per person due to the amount of people traveling to the Games. I know that might not seem like a lot, but with four people traveling in my family, 20 pounds per person—equivalent to $32/person per way—can quickly add up! Instead, we wait for the 10:13 a.m. bus and arrived at Victoria Station in London by 11 am.
Once we got into the city, we jumped on the “tube”—the famous subway system beneath London—and made our way to Horse Guards Parade to pick up our tickets for our beach volleyball games! The great thing about London is your ability to hop on and off the tube because of how ubiquitous it is. There are tons of lines that run all over the city, which makes it extremely easy to get from one place to another without having to walk everywhere.
The most amazing thing was being able to get off the subway and see Big Ben right in front of you—definitely a beautiful site. London during the Olympics is truly INCREDIBLE. I’ve been here a few times, but have never witnessed anything like this before. The city is completely decked out with Olympic-themed colors and national flags and everywhere you walk there are thousands of people sporting their country’s attire. The best is when you find fellow residents of your country, you cheer out and wave to one another because you’re so excited to see more people in London supporting your homeland.
Contrary to some of the pre-Games jitters, the security for the Olympics has seemed quite organized. There were thousands of military members and Olympic volunteers located all over the city to help answer any questions you have or to guide you in the right direction to the different event locations. To pick up your event tickets, you must visit any official Olympic ticket office and provide full identification verification to prove that you are the legitimate ticket holder.
Keep in mind: you are only able to buy tickets online and are required pick them up in person at one of these ticket booths. As of right now, tickets are only available to the British, which makes it even more difficult for anyone else to buy additional tickets. The process was pretty easy, we stood in line for about 20 minutes and were then free to tour around as we had two hours to spare before the event started.
Victoria Mintz is a Canadian student at Canisius College in Buffalo and is serving as Buffalo.com’s eyes and ears at the Olympic Games in London.