The past two days have been awesome! I will probably have to divide this post into two due to the overwhelming amount of awesome.
Yesterday I got up early to go on a tour around the Olympic park. Since we didn’t have tickets to the games we could only see the venues from afar, but the tour was still interesting. Our guide emphasized how the location of the park was meant to rebuild that area. The area was very industrial and the first thing I saw out of the tube station was a big abandoned building. It seemed like the success and shininess was contained to the park, but our guide said it brought work to 21% of Stratford’s population, so that’s good.
My favorite part, though, was afterward when we were left to explore the giant new mall that connects the Olympic village to the park. It was absolutely massive, like 3 malls put next to each other. I could go right up to the gates of the park which was really cool. There were thousands of people there and I’m sure I saw some athletes.
After that I went to Covent Garden, which is a big outdoor market and performance space and shopping center in one area. Near there I found Cecil Court, an alley full of little bookshops. In one of them I found a Harry Potter book signed by JK Rowling!!!! Sadly it was 900 pounds, but I stroked it fondly….
Then when I thought the day couldn’t get any better I found a huge M&M store in Leicester Square. It had four floors and was like the happiest place on earth… I wandered around Trafalgar square and Piccadilly circus after that, and then headed back to the lodge.
I talked with my new roommates until about midnight and it was a lot of fun. Kate is from Canada, Mary is from Oxford, and Kathy is actually from Ann Arbor! We compared the way scouting and universities work in our countries and it was really interesting!
Lots more to tell later!