This weekend we have been in London to watch a Paralympic event. It was amazing!
I had booked these tickets AGES ago. Wheelchair basketball. I actually was after wheelchair rugby being a kiwi and all, but they were all sold out. So went for wheelchair basketball instead. When I booked the tickets I had no idea who was going to be playing, it just said a men’s game and a women’s game. I wasn’t bothered at all, it was a paralympic event and I thought it was going to be amazing. When the tickets arrived we also got travel passes for London for the day. I wasn’t aware we were going to get those so that was like a bonus. It also made us think about what we were going to do for the weekend. We live about a 4 hour drive from London so neither of us fancied driving there and back in one day obviously. Plus the tickets were for 7pm until 11. So we decided to book a hotel for the weekend, and do something in Greenwich for the day before heading to teh North Greenwich Arena in the evening. We found a hotel that wasn’t far from the central line, in South Woodford.
So Friday night saw us heading down the M1 after the husband finished his job, I drove since he had been at work all day. It was a long and boring drive not much to report on that front. The child was dead excited though. Hotel for the night and the games the next day! Whoop!
Saturday morning we headed to Stratford initially to see what we could see in terms of the Olympic Park. We used to live just up the road from Stratford in Leytonstone, Stratford was where we went to the movies etc. So this was old stomping ground for us. Boy has it changed. 🙂 For a start there is a big mall, and a giant olympic stadium there now! As we didn’t have tickets for the olympic park itself we could only look from the outside at the stadium and the sculpture etc. It was still cool. We saw the olympic village with flags hanging everywhere. The atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was so friendly, and helpful. A new section of the DLR had been built as well. We had promised the child that we were going to take the DLR to Greenwich. The DLR is great as you can sit right at the front and see everything. We got on Stratford and then low and behold an official for one of the events got on as well. A referee for powerlifting. We had a bit of a chat to her while we were on the DLR. I was buzzing, I thought that was so cool.
Anyway, we got off at Greenwich. I always liked Greenwich when we lived in London. The Cutty Sark, the market, the park, the observatory, the meridian line etc. All in Greenwich. We went down to the Thames and looked at the outside of the Cutty Sark, they have moved it higher up and built a fabulous looking glass area. We didn’t go into look at the boat properly as we decided that it was a little too expensive for our blood. Down by the water they have this bright pink sculpture thing, it is made from these pink plastic shapes that can connect together. As well as the sculpture they have these pink shapes that you can play with yourself. So the child and I got stuck in and played for a bit. They were very cool.
We then grabbed a snack and walked through the market. I wanted some brownies from the market, fabulous little stall that makes good brownies there. Nom nom nom. We then walked up the hill to the Royal observatory, unfortunately because of the equestrian events that are being held in Greenwich we couldn’t walk up through the park to the observatory, I was disappointed at this as I enjoy the walk through the park. Instead we had to walk on the narrowest footpath around the outside of the park up to the top of the hill. At the top we could see the Arena for the equestrian events and of course the rest of London laid out in front of us. We then headed into the observatory. They have a new planterium there so we decided to get tickets to a show about the night sky. We looked around the observatory. Near the planterium there is stuff about space obviously. Then you get into the observatory and there is the stuff about the time, meridian line and Harrison clocks. Then it was time for our show in the planterium. This was very good! The astronomer who was talking was very good and made lots of jokes that amused us all. The seats were fantastic and we want movie theatres to all have them, although might be hard to stay awake!
We decided to head back to Greenwich and have a late lunch early dinner since we didn’t really want to eat at the venue. We used to go to a great noodle place in Greenwich that was cheap but had big portions. Obviously that noodle bar has gone, so we ended up at a different one. For London, big portions and not too expensive! The child couldn’t eat all of his. We then started heading back down to the waterfront to catch a boat to North Greenwich Arena. On the way we stopped at a corner shop and got a drink. Outside we met one of the Irish equestrian team. 🙂 She was competing today. Another buzzy moment. 🙂
On the boat we got, this was a great little trip, really fast. We wandered around the site of the venue to begin with down to where they now have a cable cars going over the river. Bit odd and not something I would like to try. I have done cable cars before, but they are usually just sitting above a mountain, that is swinging very high in the air, not for me.
We then did the security checks and got in the queue for the venue. We had no idea where we were going to sit as seating wasn’t allocated we had a vague idea we wanted to be near the middle so we could see the whole court. When they finally let us in we dived on in and started heading down. Then the husband spied some seats right near the front at one end of the goal we headed down to these seats. We ended up right at the front in the corner at one end of the court. We couldn’t have actually got much closer. It also happened to be right by the entrance where the athletes come out onto court! Double bonus! We were also sat next to one of the girlfriends of one of the GB players. That turned out to be who we were going to be watching, team GB playing Columbia! She knew the inside story and the players and the commentator who was wandering around the stadium so got chatting to him as well. 🙂 For being involved in the action was fantastic!
I went to get us some water and while I was gone Team GB came on to do some warming up. I was so annoyed to have missed them. The child was so excited though as he got to shake hands with one of the players, I think he will be talking about that for ages…I got to shake Highcocks hand! The Colombians went on to warm up as well. Then they all went off. We could see them waiting to officially come back out for the team intros and anthems. When they came out hand went out and I high fived all of them! I was completely buzzing. Even the GB coach came up to be, tapped me on the shoulder and high fived me! 🙂
When the game started, wow! The game is amazing, pretty much everything is the same as normal basketball, except they are in wheelchairs. That is the only difference! It is amazing, they are so quick and zippy and aggressive. Loved it. I was hooked, cheering, clapping and hollering. Timeouts there was music playing, half times the presenter was doing stuff. It was all go. Loved every minute of it. Then GB won as well! 🙂
The next match was Canada V Poland, again got to high five them all! 🙂 At first it looked like Canada was going to beat Poland and then Poland were ahead, was shaping up to be a tough game, then Poland missed too many opportunities in the third quarter. 😦
When we left the venue the child was high fiving all the game makers with foam hands with his foam hand. Buzzing away!
The games have changed London at the moment. The games makers are brilliant, so helpful, cheerful and just great. I should have applied to be one… 😉 Tube staff were also helpful and friendly. The atmosphere in the venue was great, but it was great everywhere we went as well.
I now want to get into basketball fullstop. The child has announced that when he loses his legs he will be in the team as well with Highcock…lol.