Paralympics & Lion King

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 04, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, August 31, 2012

A couple of nights ago we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Paralympics which was a little like winning Lotto given how hard it is to get them.  The entire time we have been in London, we have been checking the London2012 website for tickets and never had any luck.  With 2 million people wanting a handful of tickets, chances were always slim so when the equestrian tickets came up we grabbed them.

After a lovely breakfast out with Matt, we took a tube in to town to catch the overland train to Greenwich.  The organisation around the olympic venues was fantastic.  At every point on the journey there are people in the pink volunteer tops available to help point you in the right direction.  When we arrived in Greenwich, parts of the road were closed so spectators could walk on a dedicated lane and the road was lined with volunteers pointing the way.

We had left ourselves plenty of time, so stopped in at Greenwich Market to have a look around. It is a great market with all sorts of neat crafts and lots of yummy food.  

Greenwich Park where the Equestrian was held was impressive.  Seating as not fixed so we found great seats with an excellent view over the whole arena.  Although we were complete novices (we needed you there Jo and Bevan!), we really enjoyed watching the riders and particularly hearing their stories and the challenges they'd had to overcome to get there.

There were some amazing stories and it was remarkable watching a rider paralysed from the waist down complete the course as well as the blind rider who had a caller in the middle prompting her.

  Our favourite moment was when the NZ rider, Rachel Stock came on.  Rachel broke her back in 1993 while eventing on her horse and since then has been diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease.  She has no cartilage in her hands, shoulders, hips or knees meaning the joints are fused and extremely painful.  During her recovery she has broken her back several more times and been diagnosed with cancer.  Hearing her story makes you feel very humble about your own life and we and the other Kiwis in the crowd all cheered her loudly and made lots of noise after she completed her round!   It was a really fun experience getting in to the Olympic spirit and seeing the elite athletes performing.  All  very inspiring.
Heading back on the train, we grabbed a bite to eat and then took the tube in to town or our last activity in London which was to see the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre on West End.  We had managed to pick up last minute tickets and once again were lucky to get great seats.  The costumes and set design were fantastic and the production was really well done.  

We were all pretty tired by the end of the night so we caught a taxi home and had a very entertaining ride with a hilarious cabbie who didn't stop talking and told us about his most famous fares including Paul McCartney, Steven Spielberg and Mick Jagger.
On Saturday morning we went out for breakfast with Matt and then immersed ourselves in the rather depressing job of packing.  Funnily enough our suitcases are getting tighter and it is a bit of a struggle keeping within the baggage allowances - we all have 2 carry-ons each at this stage!  Not sure how we'll manage on the trip hom with Singapore being such a shopping mecca!

After a quick lunch we headed for the airport and said our goodbyes to Matt.  It has been fantastic spending time with him and of course the wonderful time we had down at West Wittering with Julia and the kids as well.  

After sailing through customs (hooray, always dodgy with so many carry-ons), we boarded our plane for a quick stopover in Frankfurt as we headed off for the final stage of our trip.

I've added a few extra photos from or time in London taken on other cameras which remind me of just how great it has been catching up with family.  Happy days  :-)

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linda on

So glad you continue to have an Awesome Time guys. On the homeward run now....and the birds are singing & the grass is growing lush in West Melton, so we look forward o seeing you back here soon!!!

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