London 2012 - Water Polo and Olympic Park

On the second day of our Olympic adventure, we squeezed ourselves onto the commuter rail for the hour plus journey from Twickenham to the Olympic Park in Stratford (clear across town).  Fortunately, I'm not overly claustrophobic.
We emerged from the train and followed the helpful signs to the park.
The complex was striking with Olympic rings gracing almost every surface.
We cleared security and were welcomed in both English and French, the two official languages of the Olympics.
We could see a crazy, modern tower in the distance and went in for a closer look.
The Olympic stadium rose in front of us.
We took a slight detour along this canal.
The path was strewn with an amazing array of wildflowers.
One thing I found living in Dublin is that Europeans love to drape themselves in their country's flag and the Olympics provided the perfect opportunity to don the national cape.


We saw Belgians...
Brits...
and even Irish!
We had tickets to see Water Polo and made our way to the arena.
Crossing the canal, we spotted the Queen's barge which had recently been used in her Diamond Jubilee.
We cheered as Kazakhstan and Croatia were introduced.
I have to say I blushed a bit when I saw the skimpy outfits the players wore featuring the player's number on his bum.
This match was a bit one sided as Croatia is ranked Number 1.
Between matches, we climbed the outside stairs at the arena and admired the stadium in the distance.  We were just slightly disappointed that we weren't able to get tickets to a track and field event.
Soon the second match got underway with Greece taking on Australia.
Water Polo reminded me a bit of ice hockey and even featured a penalty box area of the pool.
Australia went on to victory.  Check out this clip if you want to get a sense of how fast paced the matches are.
After the matches, we took some time to explore the Olympic Park.  
The crowds were intense but that's just part of the experience, I'd say.
Our attention was drawn to visually stunning elements as we walked about.  This 'RUN' sign caught my eye.
Coke had an unusual audio-visual structure that you could tour and create and share sounds.
Of course, we had to stop into the London 2012 Shop despite the long queue.  I even bought an American flag to drape myself in.
We passed the BMX stadium.
Not far away, we saw a film crew working and I spotted a familiar face - Al Roker!  The Today Show was broadcasting live from the Olympic Park.

I took the opportunity to wave the old Stars and Stripes and cheer.
Nearby, we saw the apartments where the athletes were housed.  Flags from different countries hung from the balconies.
At this point, we were about ready to leave as we needed to dash across town for our evening Beach Volleyball event at the Royal Horse Guards.  There was quite a crowd at Stratford Gate and signs recommended hoofing it to West Ham station.
We took the advice, passed under the viewing platform, and exited the park.
Directional signs conveniently pointed the way...
We walked and walked and walked admiring some Victorian era architecture from our vantage point on the overpass.
We spotted a couple of high tech Mormon missionaries with QR codes on their packs.
After walking for more than 20 minutes, we finally arrived at West Ham Station!  Whew!  It was quite a hike.  We hopped on the train and headed for Piccadilly.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: London 2012 - Water Polo and Olympic Park
London 2012 - Water Polo and Olympic Park
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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