Sunday, 29 July 2012

traveling, going into Orbit at the Olympic Park....and a birthday

It's been a week of trains, boats, planes, buses and lots of walking!

I flew to the Channel Islands on Monday to chair Tribunal meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In a rare opportunity to mix business with pleasure, on this occasion I was able to get the bus to a beach on the west coast of Guernsey in the early evening and fit in a round trip by boat to the neighboring island of Herm to walk to Shell Beach before flying home the next day.

Cobo Bay, Guernsey

Alderney Point, Shell Beach, Harm

Flying home over the Isle of Wight

A day of unpacking and catching up on Thursday, followed by a round trip by car to Bristol on Friday to see Steve's mum, pay a fleeting visit to son Jack, but sadly not go up in a hot air balloon (again!). 

Yesterday, we traveled to London by train, met up with daughter Katie and partner Ed at St Pancras International and caught the Javelin train to Stratford where we spend the day at the Olympic Park. A smooth journey, lots of happy helpful staff to point us in the right direction, a thorough but speedy security search and we were in the Park!  

Katie, Ed and Steve at the Olympic Park entrance

Aquatics Centre
Basket Ball Arena
Seeing it from the outside or on TV is one thing, but being there in person you really appreciate the size of the place and the atmosphere....although we didn't have tickets for any of the sporting events, we could hear the cheers of the crowds in the Aquatics Centre and Basket Ball Arena, all helping to create a good mood.

We spend the entire day walking the park, meandering along the River Lea, photographing eye catching buildings, the outdoor art works, wonderful soft landscaping of trees and wild flowers, and the groups of entertainers who were wandering about...

The entertainers
Wild flowers at the Olympic Park

Walking on the Olympic carpet!

Water Polo centre

After lunch, we found somewhere to sit and watch the Cycle Road Race on the big screen and relax in the sunshine until it was time for our visit to Orbit, the quirky observation tower designed by Anish Kapoor.  
Watching the Cycling Road Race on the Big Screen

Orbit from below

Great views over the Olympic Park, including views down in the Stadium where the flame was burning as the sets from the opening ceremony were being dismantled, out over central London and beyond, then a slow walk down the spiral staircase and time for tea!

Steve, Ed and Katie look out over London from the top of Orbit

Looking down into the Stadium and at the Olympic flame from Orbit 

Walking down to ground level

Our last walk of the day took us to the Velodrome, which is huge!  A simple, but very beautiful design.  

The Velodrome

By then, we were all pretty tired and foot sore, so caught the mobility buggy back to the Stratford Gate entrance, where we said our goodbyes to Katie and Ed before heading back on the Javelin into central London and on to Paddington to catch the train home.  One very special day!

I woke up this morning to Steve's birthday card, lots of birthday greetings from my Facebook friends all over the world.  That's pretty amazing too - thank you all for your kind wishes!  

We are out for lunch today with friends Jonathan and Sally, so I will think about my birthday wishes tomorrow.  It's been quite a week, one way or another, and another family milestone we've been able to share, over 37 months since Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma. 

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