Friends, if you haven’t had the chance to visit London while jet-lagged, low on sleep, emotionally unstable, and in the middle of the summer Olympics, you are missing out!
We had a layover in London this August on our way back from Uganda. Rachel and I had both been to London before, but it was a new adventure for Jessica, and I had only been 10 years ago in the winter, so it was mostly new to me as well 🙂
We dropped off our stuff in the yotel in the airport (which was awesome) and headed in to see some fun olympic-ness. Mind you, Jessica and I have been in Africa for 2-3 months at this point and have seen no Olympic coverage. In fact, at one point when the Olympics were starting, we asked the Ugandan staff if they ever watch it on TV. They responded, “The Olympics are on TV?”
London was super visitor-friendly during the games (not that it isn’t otherwise – I just thought they did a great job for the Olympics). There was plenty of clean sign-age and plenty of friendly Brits ready to help you. We walked to the Olympic park and see it. We couldn’t get into the actual park area because we didn’t have tickets to any events, but we could still see the stadium from a short distance. We also are pretty sure that we saw some Russian athletes. So that’s neat.
We enjoyed gazing on Big Ben while eating our first non-African meal of… McDonalds (we tried for something else, but we had no cash and no one else wanted our credit cards…)
We also rode on the London Eye, which was cool for a lot of reasons. First of all, when I was in London back in college, the London Eye was closed and so I have a picture looking sad with it in the background. Secondly, it has beautiful views of the city. And thirdly, we discovered that we could see down into the beach volleyball stadium! I mean, obviously we were too far away to really see anything, but it was still exciting.
To round out the adventure, we headed to the Tower of London to see the Tower Bridge with the Olympic rings on it. We were SO tired at this point that we didn’t think we could make it (I envisioned crawling to our destination at one point). But I’m glad that we did, because it was the highlight of our evening in London.
With much more effort than we’d been led to believe, we made our way back to the Yotel, showered, and got a couple (literally a couple) hours of sleep before catching our flight back to America.
And thus, Africa Part 1 is officially concluded. Thanks for coming along for the adventure!