Pete and I spent the whole weekend at the Olympics.
The Opening ceremony on Friday night was stunning and I loved it (though the speeches at the end could have been shorter). It's been covered well elsewhere, but I was surprised to read that some stupid people didn't get it (mainly Americans it seemed) - they missed the wit and technical splendour and the innovative use of film inserts. Without doubt, it puts every other show to shame, especially the overly self indulgent US openings.
On Saturday, we got up early to get to Wimbledon for the tennis despite not getting much sleep. The journey was fine - though the train was packed. Wimbledon had been given an Olympics makeover (and to my surprise, there were few logos of the sponsors anywhere). We sat on Henman Hill/Murray Mount in the sunshine for a while and then pumping music started and a flash mob started dancing amoung the thousands of spectators. An amazing start to the day! Then it got better (especially for Pete, who is a fan), the Pet Shop Boys came on the stage and played 3 songs live! And with Gethin Jones as main annoucer, we knew it was going to be a great day.
The tickets we had were a bargain - a whole day of tennis, mainly on Court 1, but the outer Courts could be accessed too. We spent 10 hours there before heading for some food and then to a hotel in Bayswater.
Sunday morning, we headed to a transformed Horse Guards Parade for Beach Volleyball. The park was buzzing and the arena, seating 15,000 people is huge! The sport was great entertainment with supreme skill, pumping music, half naked dancers and even an artist on the roof painting the scene.
I must say that the volunteers have been brilliant. So happy, helpful and professional. I was unexpecting mainly older volunteers, but most are teenagers, which was nice to see. The organisers have worked hard to have signs everywhere, so getting lost was not easy. It's not until you are there that you realise that the organisation of the games is highly complex. Every little things has been planned for the athletes and audience.
A comment on the empty seats.... yes there were some, but these are early rounds so I assume that sponsors and competitors are not using yet. There are some tickets available, so people should stop moaning and try and get some.
An exhausting weekend, but a lot of fun.