Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Iceland-UK-Olympics Vacation PART I

The 2012 London Olympic Games

I know I said I was going to tell you about our recent Iceland-UK vacation in one post, but I'm sitting here watching the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony on TV right now and am feeling inspired to at least tell you about the Olympic games part of our trip!

Many years ago we decided that we wanted to visit England one day. Then when London was announced as the host to the 2012 Summer Olympics, we decided that's when we should go. So this vacation has been part of our plans for a long time. Over a year ago, we bid on tickets to several Olympic events and ended up with tickets only to women's court volleyball. Our entire trip was then planned around these tickets for Olympic volleyball on August 2, 2012.

We left the USA for Iceland on July 26, 2012, visited Reykjavik for a day, arrived in London late July 27, 2012, took a train to Scotland for several days, returned back to London where we spent the rest of our trip, save for one day when we left the city for a whirlwind tour of Bath, England, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. I'll tell you all about the rest of our trip in another post. For now, here are some photos from the Olympic games we attended.

In the afternoon of Tuesday, July 31, 2012 we met a family from Canada who had extra tickets for women's football [soccer] that night so my husband and eldest daughter were very lucky to be able to go to that game. They saw Great Britain vs. Brazil! So fantastic to see these two teams play each other. Let me tell you that any Olympic game is just AWESOME to see in person. But when the host team is playing? The crowds go WILD! It's like nothing else. You can imagine what it's like to be there in person when you're watching the games on TV and you see and hear the spectators cheering, but when you're there it's SO much louder, more thrilling and you cannot help but feel so lucky and so happy to be a part of something so spectacular. Great Britain won that game, by the way. GBR vs BRA 1-0.

Earl's Court Venue for Court Volleyball
2012 Summer Olympics, London
Two days later, on the afternoon of August 2, 2012 we headed to Earl's Court for women's court volleyball. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably saw most of these photos already. We had only picked up our tickets that morning in London, but when we got to the stadium we noticed that our seats were split up! Not good. I guess this happens often enough because we were directed to the ticket reconciliation counter to see if we could switch our seats. I was worried that we'd get worse seats, but no! They were even better! We were in the FIRST ROW! Yay! How's that for luck?

We saw two matches that afternoon. First was Turkey vs. Serbia, in which Turkey won in three sets. SRB vs TUR 0-3 and then Great Britain vs. Italy in which Italy won in three sets GBR vs ITA 0-3. We had a fantastic time. We were all smiles and kept on the edge of our seats watching these fantastic athletes compete against each other. Here are some photos from women's Olympic court volleyball:

Women's Volleyball
TUR vs SRB 3-0
2012 Summer Olympics, London 

Team GB Women's Volleyball
GBR vs. ITA 0-3
2012 Summer Olympics, London

The court sweepers for women's volleyball.
2012 Summer Olympics, London
Whenever we were in our hotel room we had the BBC coverage of the Olympics on the television. On Saturday morning, August 4, 2012 we caught the women's triathlon on television and I remembered that I made a note to myself WEEKS ago that I wanted to try to see some of this event! You know, since I became a triathlete myself last year and all. ;) So I did some super quick research on the triathlon course and where would be the best place for spectators without tickets to go for viewing this event. We booked out of our hotel, hopped on the Tube and raced over to Hyde Park where we were able to catch the last few laps of the running component of the triathlon. Even though it was really crowded and we had a limited view of the course, it was still SO thrilling or me to be able to catch part of this event in person. I was quite happy. Here are a few shots of the athletes in women's triathlon:

Women's Triathlon
2012 Summer Olympics
Hyde Park, London
Women's Triathlon
2012 Summer Olympics
Hyde Park, London
And that my friends, is how we were spectators in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Truly an experience of a lifetime. And if I could do it again, I would. In a heartbeat.

A view of Beach Volleyball
as seen from the top of The London Eye

Now I want to go to Sochi in 2014. :)


  1. Wow! It must have been awe inspiring to be that close to the Olympics. Glad to hear y'all had such a good time!

  2. Brandy, it was VERY awe inspiring. And simply a very exciting time to be in the UK. Thanks for taking the time to read about it. :)

  3. While you were over there, the media was reporting that hotel rooms were undersold in London--so many people were expecting it to be crowded so they stayed away. Rooms were available very cheaply for anyone who could find a way to London. Apparently this often happens during an Olympics. So, I told a friend. Let's go to Rio in 4 years. Only we won't book anything in advance.

    Anyhow, I enjoyed following your trip on Twitter. So much fun. I'm glad you all enjoyed yourselves.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I've been to London once with my mother-in-law. This was 2 years ago. We both fell in love with the city and with all those extremely polite people. Our intention was to go there again in the spring, but spring came and went. Then we decided to go there now this upcoming autumn, but we haven't booked anything yet, because my possible hormone treatments are starting probably next month and we'll have to see how it affects me (can I travel, what is the schedule for the treatments...)

    I hope you liked your tour. We went to a tour that included Windsor & Stonehenge & Oxford. Loved it! If I ever go there again, my intention is to visit Bath like you did :)

  5. I'm soooo jealous, Christine!! That's a pretty awesome experience and your daughter and husband were so lucky to go see the football game! Also, it's great you got to see women's volleyball! So, does Maria want to become an elite athlete? :P And you were able to catch triathlon!! It was heart-breaking for Canada in both the women and men T_T It was also great you were in a country you could understand the commentary :P

    Awesome pics as usual :P

  6. You had amazing seats for the volleyball! Love the photo of the court sweepers, and your London Eye one is fantastic. And very cool you managed to catch a bit of the triathlon.

    I'm so with you on Sochi.


  7. *SIGH* Guess what? Where you saw the volleyball? About 10 minutes walk from where I used to work! So glad you had such a wonderful time! I was watching it (the Olympics) pretty much non-stop. Will definitely be doing the same for Rio!

    And I've done the train trip from London to Edinburgh and back again - the scenery is beautiful!

  8. What a terrific time -- thanks for sharing this with us. I loved getting a first person report.

    I spent my Olympics planning our trip to England in 2013. So I'm looking forward to hearing about Bath and Stonehenge because they are on our list.

    Joy's Book Blog

  9. Hi guys. Here I am weeks later replying to your comments. I'm such a bad blogger.. *hangs head in shame* I don't know how people keep up. I really don't.

    Phyl, Good thinking about going to Rio at the last minute! haha!
    Thanks for following along with my vacation via twitter. :)

    Carrie, Thanks for taking the time to read my Olympics post! :)

    Maikki, I hope you're able to get back to London sometime. I'm sure you'll enjoy a second visit. I think you'd love Bath. It was so pretty and the history just fascinating. It really gave me pause at how so very very young the United States is. I don't really think about it day to day, but when you visit a country that has a written history thousands of years old, the US is just a BABY!

    nath, I don't think Maria plans to become an elite athlete or even to play sports in college. She's just psyched to have made Varsity team. ha! YES! It was a HUGE plus vacationing in countries where people spoke the same language. France was challenging last year, but good golly Germany was nearly impossible for me and I took 4 years of German back in high school! Well, that was a very long time ago..

    Li, I'm still so sad we weren't able to meet while I was in London. NEXT time I am going to insist on a more leisurely visit. It seems the only time we got to sit was on the tube. And even then we had to stand a lot. LOL!

    orannia, You're kidding? The Earl's Court area is so nice! How strange for us to have been in the same neighborhood... almost like we crossed paths.. but in the wrong year. One day, my friend. I'm sure.

    The scenery between London and Edinburgh is indeed beautiful. Oh wait.. we did London to Glasgow. Glasgow to Edinburgh then back to Glasgow then back to London. LOL. STILL gorgeous scenery. LOTS AND LOTS OF SHEEP. lol

    Joy, Hope you're enjoying your trip to the UK RIGHT NOW! Can't wait to hear about it. :)

    Sochi! Sochi! Sochi! Sochi! SOCHI!


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