Posted by Lauren
My final London Olympics recap is here… does that mean it’s really over?! Reality check. Yes.
This might be the first time I fully chronicled my travels for a particular trip. Case in point: I am missing the final posts for April’s Costa Rica trip, May’s Portland trip, June’s Seattle trip, and July’s New York trip! (hint hint expect those soon)
Before I kick it off, here are all my other eurotrip posts!
- Amsterdam: Beginnings
- Amsterdam: Continuation
- Amsterdam: Extended
- Brussels: Beginning
- Brussels: Continuation
- Brussels: Extended
- Brugge: Semi-Wordless
- London Olympics: Basketball Day 2
- London Olympics: Women’s Marathon Day 3
- London Olympics: Women’s Soccer Day 4… reading this one!
- Leaving London Olympics
Monday morning we ate a filling breakfast at the hotel and then boarded the bus for Covent Garden. Katie, if you’re reading this, you know what comes next – Muffinskis!
My bff Katie used to be a study abroad program planner and always told the London students to go to Muffinskis for quality muffins. After surveying our options, we picked a fresh, honey banana and raisin muffin from Covent Garden’s cutest muffin shop. I’m so glad we picked one up! This independent muffin shop isn’t your typical CG tourist trap.
Plus… Muffinskis was right next to the Royal Opera House’s free exhibition – The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games.
We were not allowed to take photos in the first part of the exhibit, but I’ll do my best to describe it:
- A theatrical story of ancient Olympics using clever multimedia (ie. projections on a humongous Grecian urn)
- An audio/photo storytelling of the modern Olympics and its French founder, Pierre de Coubertin
- After the history, we passed into a room displaying all the Olympic torches. Each torch looked so different than the prior year’s, especially the more modern ones! There was also a space devoted to facts about London’s torch (ie. 8k holes on it for the 8k torch bearers).
- The final room displayed each Games’ gold/silver/bronze medals – they keep getting bigger and bigger!
After the museum, we took a bus to the Kensington Gardens area of London.
We spent about 8 seconds at the USA House. Unless you are a bajillionaire, there wasn’t much to do. :( Basically you could buy Ralph Lauren or Nike gear and look at some photos. All the other perks were behind closed doors.
Speaking of doors…
Here’s the place I studied abroad! Kerry, Megan, and I were on the first floor… fun times!
The only other “House” we experienced was Africa Village. A bunch of African countries had knowledge areas, local art, and folk music. They also set up a large viewing area with two huge screens. USA could learn a thing a two from Africa’s hospitality.
We walked on through Hyde Park and saw a few athletes swimming laps in the Serpentine lake.
Past the triathlon (swim) bleachers, we reached BT London Live – a massive open area for Olympics enthusiasts to frolic around. You could watch the games on big screens, shop, get a meal from a variety of food trucks, interact with vendor installations (Cadbury had something huge going on). Sailing was on, so we caught a bit of that before we left.
Just as it started to lightly rain, we decided to go grab lunch from one of the cheapest spots around – the grocery store! Tesco had all we needed for a easy picnic lunch at St. Regent’s Park.
Side note: I love Pringles.
Our next stop? Wembley Stadium for the women’s soccer semi-final game Japan v. France!
We got there plenty early to watch the ladies warm up and check out the iconic stadium. The people in charge of ticket sales really messed something up, because the stadium was still HALF EMPTY by the time the game started.
Japan scored twice (in the first half I believe), while France tried oh-so-hard to get back in it. During half time I grabbed a cup of coffee and, when I returned, France had on a new game face. They were more proactive and scored in the 75th minute. But it was Japan that came out with the “W” and proceeded to the gold medal match against USA… we all know how that ended ;)
The crowd for the tube was never-ending! I can’t even imagine what it would be like with a sold-out stadium after an intense soccer match.
To add to our daily mileage…. we walked to dinner. I wasn’t sure what restaurant to eat at, but I knew we had to go to Brick Lane!
Brick Lane is in the heart of east London’s Bangladeshi community. During our last week of the study abroad program, our entire class went to an Indian FEAST at a restaurant on Brick Lane. The area is famous for all types of curry houses and I was so excited to go back!
We chose Saffron (53 Brick Lane, London) willy nilly. The small restaurant packed a ton of flavor into our two dishes. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which dish is which… but both were very good. Minus the slow service, I was really impressed with our random pick – just goes to show, you can’t go wrong with Brick Lane! Please take note of the huge, slivered peppers (with seeds!!) in the last photo. That dish was hot hot hot! :)
We walked back to our hotel…
And then went to bed! What an eventful day!
Question: Do you like the winter or summer games better?
All the excitement in London has me pumped for the winter games in Russia. (By the way, Team Russia had the neatest track suits)… Salzburg lost the 2014 bid, but if they get the chance to host in the future, I would love to fly out there!
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