You’ve probably seen the wonderfully produced Opening Ceremony on TV (and if you’ve missed it, see my pictures from the night from inside the stadium). The gigantic Olympic Stadium was built in east London, which until a few years ago was a contaminated industrial wasteland.
Now, apart from the permanent and temporary Olympic venues, the decontaminated area boasts lovely canals, alleyways, a sprinkling (sadly, just a sprinkling) of art and some lovely views – not just of the venues and the omnipresent Westfield Shopping Centre, but also of other London Landmarks: from the Shard to the Gherkin and Canary Wharf.
I spent a couple of hours in the park yesterday, and the gallery below has a selection of images I took there. It’s a vast expanse of land, which still feels rather temporary and, well, bare.
But despite that the atmosphere is really great – visitors mingling with the athletes and all of them helped by the uber-friendly volunteers. However, what I really loved about the experience were those little quirky and totally unexpected street performances I came across several times.
There was a group of people with swimming caps on, ‘swimming’ through the park and either singing ‘Splish-splash’ or doing a synchronised swimming routine to one of Strauss’s waltzes. Outside the basketball arena. Weird and wonderful.
And speaking of basketball, another troupe recreated a wonderfully choreographed basketball match – without the ball – including a couple of slo-mo scenes. Really cool.
I did wonder though how the area would change once the music is turned off, the street performers and security fences are gone, the temporary structures are dismantled and the athletes village is turned into regular flats. There are probably several possible scenarios, but for now let’s enjoy this delightful, if slightly bare, public space…