Happy birthday to me! I woke up at 4am (doesn’t everyone want to wake up that early on their birthday?? Thanks jetlag), so it was a really long day.
I went for a quick run and then came home and decided that I needed to figure out what I was going to do that day. After tea (naturally) and quick mid-morning nap (much needed), I had to decide between the Olympic Park and Richmond Park. Sometimes you want to go all out and do something crazy for your birthday.
So this year I decided that since I’m already in London for Olympics, that’s pretty BA, right? So I decided to do something low-key and it was the PERFECT decision. After my nap, I took a long hot shower (ahhh relaxation. Almost like being at a spa?), had another cup of tea (you really can’t have enough), and headed to the bus stop on my long journey. After a bus ride, 2 tube rides and a short walk, I arrived at Richmond Park, home of the Olympic Cycling Road Race on 28 and 29 July, so it was deserted of tourists.
I walked around Richmond Park for about 2 hours taking in the scenery, watching the dragonflies (there were so many bright blue dragonflies all around that lake) and the deer (there were signs that said ‘beware of wild animals’ at the gate entrance, but I thought “meh, squirrels.” No no, there were full on deer randomly roaming around, just feet from the paths. I had a Bambi flashback). After a couple hours, I decided if I didn’t get a move on, I’d be late getting to my friends for birthday dinner!
For those that don’t know, when I was in college, I studied abroad for a year in Germany. I met some pretty fabulous people, and while most were European, so I haven’t had a chance to see them since we all left, we still keep in contact (thank you Facebook, email and Skype!) One of the major reasons I’m in Europe right now is for our 5-year study abroad reunion. I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that it’s been 5 years since we left. It just so happened the Olympics and my birthday were at the same time, too 🙂 One of the friends I met the first week we were in Germany now lives in London. She invited me to dinner at her flat for my birthday and it was really great being able to catch up with her for 4 hours, and meet her husband for the first time! That year in Germany changed my life, and after seeing someone for the first time in 5 years and it felt just like we were back again, makes it all worthwhile! It was exactly what I needed and wanted for my birthday.
I saved (what I thought would be) the chaos for today. I was going to the Olympic Park, where many of the venues and the London 2012 Megastore are. I put in a bid for tickets ages ago, but wasn’t chosen, so I was hoping we could at least walk around to see the architecture of the venues, visit the store (why wouldn’t they want all that extra money?!) and watch some events from the big screens. WRONG! Without an event ticket, you could barely get close enough to see the Orbit from far away 😦 I spent a lot of time (not to mention about £8 to get there and back, so I was a bit bummed).
Since I had planned my day around chaos, I decided it would be a good idea to head to the Westfield shopping center right around the corner from the Olympic Park (clearly, sometimes I don’t make good choices). I had to battle through about 535,208 people (I’m pretty sure that’s accurate) to get to one of the GB/London 2012 shops to get souvenirs. Queue after queue! I got a mug with the British lion on it, a 2012 pin and a London 2012 water bottle that has the freezable center to keep my water chilled (win!)
And as a bonus for making it this far, another picture from the womens marathon on Sunday. There’s Shalane and Kara in the front pack, passing by me on the first lap (they were SO close!)