Well, we are back! We have had amazing time (if you ignore the force 8 gale on the ferry on the way back). We may have been in a different country but we still got caught up in the excitement of the Olympics like everyone else.
You may remember ages ago that I posted about us fulfilling a life long dream and actually getting to go to watch the synchronised swimming at the Olympics. Well, here’s a glimpse of the amazing weekend we had …
Saturday afternoon: We made our way to Biarritz airport which is only 10 minutes away from our campsite. A tiny airport which was just right for a mother travelling with her daughter on a plane for the first time. Millie was dressed in her Team GB gear – we had a lovely send off from the campsite – Loads of Dutch people were fascinated about our adventure.
We arrived safely at our hotel, had a lovely meal (have you ever sat and had a meal with your child? Highly recommended!) and went to our room where we turned the tv on. Bliss! After 2 weeks without tv and missing most of the Olympics, we were both hooked within seconds. And what a night to watch – that was the day Team GB won 6 golds. Everything we watched in the athletics, we seemed to win. Fantastic!
Next day and we set off bright and early, arriving at the Olympic park just before 11. The atmosphere around the Stratford was so friendly. There were volunteers EVERYWHERE, all intent on making our journey as smooth as possible and keeping everyone cheerful. They did a wonderful job. We saw a group of 6 volunteers who spent the whole day going round singing songs – the morning had them singing ‘I’m singing in the rain’ by late tea-time, they were singing to people putting their rubbish in the bins! Brilliant.
We weren’t allowed into the Aquatics Centre until 1.30PM so we had plenty of time to mooch around the Olympic Park. We booked tickets to go up the Orbit at 6.30PM (the ugly looking red twisty tower), did some souvenir shopping (a Team GB towel and a Wenlock for Violet) and had a picnic.
And then it was time to enter the Aquatics Centre. It was so much more special than we expected. The music was loud and added to the excitement. We could watch the divers practising for the nighttime session so we felt extra lucky.
Before we knew it, the synchro started and off went the technical duets. There were 24 countries taking part who all had to complete the same set of figures in the same order. The ones that stood out were the Russian pair, the Chinese duet and of course Team GB – the crowd went berserk waving flags, standing, cheering and clapping.
It must have been an amazing experience to perform like that in from of a home crowd. I’m not sure that I could ever watch someone I know taking part though, it was so nervewracking and we didn’t even know the athletes.
After the 2 hours, we came out to glorious sunshine and met up with some friends who were watching the 100m final in the stadium that night. When we separated, it was time to go up the lift of the Orbit. The view from the top was fabulous – a 360 view across the whole of London and we looked straight into the stadium to see Mo Farah getting his gold medal from the night before. We could hear everything, people at the top were singing along with the National Anthem and broke into applause. The timing was perfect, just 10 minutes later and it wouldn’t have been as special.
After a long walk down to the bottom of the Orbit, it was time to make our way back to the hotel as we had a 3.50am start the next day to get our plane back to Biarritz. Our feet were killing, we were exhausted but so happy – we had an amazing time and will remember how lucky we were for a long long time. Thank you to Swim North-West for our tickets (we couldn’t believe we were only 5 rows from the front) – you have helped to keep a 10yo very enthusiastic about the sport she loves and works really hard at.