Tag Archives: Olympics

London, 2011

In September of 2011, I received word that my grandmother has passed away in England. She was the last of my grandparents left, and even though you are not meant to have favourites, she was mine.

My mother and I flew to London to meet my father in Weymouth. My bestie was living in London at the time, so I decided a detour was in order before the funeral.

My bestie was living in the suburb of Forest Hill in a lovely large house with a cute English garden and patio. Her partner was working on the London Olympics hence the temporary move from Australia.

We went shopping on Oxford St where I very much enjoying being back in familiar London with the beautiful old buildings, red double decker buses, telephone booths and John Lewis.

A visit to Harrods was a delight. The detailed ceilings in the jewellery and food halls and that made it seem more like a museum than a shop. Then there was the life sized beefeater and policeman teddy bears and the London themed Christmas decorations section. We found Paddington Bear, an indoor merry-go-round filled with stuffed animals and shared a glorious ice cream sundae.

The next day we had tickets to The Lion King in the West End, but we decided to explore the surrounding area first. I spotted St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Whitehall Palace, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from a bridge.

We went to Covent Garden for some Christmas shopping. I also picked up some England only products for myself, saw the biggest paella I have ever seen and spotted one of the many White Lion pubs in England. The show was in the beautiful old Lyceum Theatre and was very entertaining, especially the costumes.

Too soon it was time to bid farewell to my bestie and head to Waterloo to catch the train to Weymouth. A brief, but fun packed visit where I was glad to have been able to catch up with my bestie in her new home.

Related posts: England, 2006, Europe, 2003, England, 2002, England, 1997, England, Singapore and Malaysia, 1988

Spain, 1997, Part 1: Barcelona

Sarah and I arrived in Barcelona train station to lots of paraphernalia about the 1992 Olympics which still remained on the walls.

We walked through the famous Las Ramblas (not knowing what it was at the time) to meet one of my Dad’s friend’s from Weymouth- Leigh- who had a flat right in the middle of the city and was letting us stay with him.

Leigh took us to Sagrat Cour at Mount Tibidabo for a view of Barcelona. We also went to the monastery at Sant Cugat and ate patas bravas in the town square.

The real life in Barcelona begins at night and Spain is the home of the free pour.

So, that night we went to 4 Cats– the bar that Picasso used to go to, Barri Gotic at night and the Dipuctacion Provincial with the balcony where the football team stand when they win a game which a very important landmark to Leigh and most of the locals who are lovers of football, but not to me who didn’t know the first thing about soccer.

I was much more interested in the French bar that we went to next that was called Pastis and sold wine out a barrel. Leigh took us past the Columbus monument and to the newly renovated port area with modern architecture and neon lighting.

Finally, we went to dinner at midnight. This seemed ridiculous to me who is used to eating dinner at 6pm, but in Barcelona, to have dinner at 11pm is normal and to go home at 4am is an early night.

The next day, Leigh took us to the small town of Vic and Ponta de Sau which is a village flooded to make a dam. You can still see church steeple sticking out of the dam lake. Very eerie.

We continued our tour of drinking plus a little sight-seeing with lunch in a hotel near the dam lake and onto a bar overlooking Barcelona at night called Bar Tomas.

1am found Sarah and I at the Bikini night club with its pink neon sign and boys telling us that we had beautiful eyes, although I am not sure how they could tell on the strobe lighted dance floor.

Sarah and I met up with one of my Australian friends from high school at cafe in front of Segrada Familia. He had fallen in love with a local and was now living in Barcelona.

We went to Montjuic Olympic park to see the Olympic stadium and the telecommunication tower that was the symbol of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

On numerous occasions, the locals thought I was a native Catalan, which may have contributed to Barcelona becoming another one of my favourite cities in the world. Perhaps I had found the city where I belonged? If I could keep up with the night owl hours.

Republished on Travel Spain daily paper.li.

Related posts: France, 1997, Part 2: The South of France, France, 1997, Part 1: Paris, Belgium, 1997, Holland, 1997, England, 1997, I first started travelling, By special request, Home is where you make it, I first started writing

What’s your handicap?

As the whole world goes soccer mad, I thought it would be timely to address my handicap- sports.

I am about the least sporty person I know and in a country that is obsessed with sport, this can sometimes be a problem.

At school, I was horrified that sports afternoons and carnival days were mandatory. I am very uncoordinated, look funny when I run and never did learn how to catch a ball.

We never watched sport either live or on the television at home- unless you count the cricket matches my mum sneakily watched while dad and I were asleep.

Even now, I couldn’t tell you what the difference between rugby league and rugby union is, even though it has been explained to me many times.

When the Olympics were on in Sydney in the year 2000, I did get caught up in the PR spin and may have an Olly the kookaburra and a Sid the platypus lying around somewhere.

My bestie roped me into playing social soccer and even touch football as only a bestie can. Social being the operative word as I don’t think I ever scored a point in either game.

I have been to some sort of football match in Canberra where there was a mascot of a horse, but I’m not really sure who was playing as my friend and I talked through the entire game.

I have also been on a weekend trip to Melbourne with friends to watch the tennis. Melbourne and friends being the draw card in that scenario, not the tennis.

My husband loves watching games of anything and has tried over the years to gain my enthusiasm for all things sports. While I admit that some facts have gotten in by osmosis and I can on occasion appear to know what I am talking about, I still don’t really know what is going on most of the time.

The only time I have really gotten into the swing of things, was when I was at university and the World Cup soccer was on. I have to say, that Sydney did the World Cup well that year. There were big screens everywhere in all the large public places with parties going every night and the atmosphere was amazing.

So enjoy, sports mad people! I realise I am in the minority, but you can find me tucked up in bed with a good book instead.

Related posts: The Seven Year Itch, By Special Request, Friendship: Great Expectations?, Home is where you make it, I first started writing