Take 2 — London Calling
Olympic Games deliver all of the hype, none of the hassle
In the days leading up to the Olympics, many people prepared for the worst. There were warnings about Tube travel, long lines to get into the events and general mayhem in London. I am happy to report that I have had the exact opposite experience. My neighborhood hasn't changed, despite being a hub for Olympic journalists. Also, I haven't had any issues riding the Tube, and I've spent barely 15 minutes in a security line.
I have visited three venues so far, and none of them have disappointed me. Wembley was my first stop, and I arrived a little more than two hours before Sunday night's men's football game. The tube ride from Euston Square to Wembley Park was pleasant and I even had a seat. After I arrived, I immediately grabbed a place in a short queue and was let in the venue a few minutes later. A nice woman gave me a quick pat-down and a young man peeked through my purse before sending me on my way. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.
Wembley hosted 80,000 fans that night, and I thought it was going to take hours to get back to the Tube. Again, I was surprised. I made it to the Tube in record time and only had to wait at one street. The thousands of fans who were waiting with me were very polite. No one pushed, shoved or tried to weasel their way to the front. Most people just stopped and had a conversation. When I made it to the station, I hopped aboard a southbound train and was home in less than 30 minutes.
My next stop was Earl's Court for women's volleyball. Again, Tube traffic wasn't bad and the security line was even easier. Later I ventured to Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball. Since my flat is in Bloomsbury, I decided to walk the short distance to the Mall. Again, the British military was on its game and moved me through security in five minutes.
I think part of my luck has to do with arriving at venues two hours before the event is scheduled to start. It means waiting inside for a while, but that's just an excuse to eat and make new friends. This week I am off to Greenwich Park to watch show jumping and then the Aquatic Center to check out diving. So far, London has done a great job with these Games, and I am excited for the second half of my Olympic experience.