It’s not everyday that my younger sister is able to visit me in my adopted city of London. Nor is it ordinary that the Olympics happen to be in town. So, whilst my parents are jet-setting to Milan, Italy for their wedding anniversary (jealous? I am!) she spent some time with me in the place that I – for now – call home.
Now, I’ve blogged previously about favourite places of mine around London like Borough Market which is open every day during the Olympics. Whilst our day started out there, we soon found ourselves to Spitalfields Market by Liverpool Street Station before taking an extended route home along Embankment.
Spitalfields Market is a place that I was keen to introduce to my teenage sister. It being a flea market, we had a great time browsing the stalls and checking out the range of clothing, accessories and food on sale. Despite the Olympics being in the city, attractions like this are, for the time being, pretty quiet and a great way to get affordable and fashionable items whilst mingling and chatting with the friendly stall owners.
With some shopping out of the way, we followed this up with a bus trip to Blackfriars station where we then began our stroll, taking in the sights along the river. Below are a few photos from our walk.
We then stumbled upon the Belgian House representing the country of Belgium. As part of the Olympics, some countries are arranging ‘houses’ or events in London to promote their destination. Not only is this a fantastic way to learn about the culture and embrace multiculturalism in London, but it’s also a great way talk to staff that are keen to tell you about the country and share elements of their Olympic aspiration. In the case of Belgium, they had several buildings as part of their house, to educate visitors and encourage interactivity at the same time; this is always likely to remain more memorable and the staff are very friendly.
We had a great time at the Belgian House, both deciding to hop on board the stationary bikes in the Cycling Paradise and ‘ride’ through Antwerp which has over 3000km of cycle lanes in the city – impressive. The bikes are set up with a screen for you to do sightseeing along your 2km ride, choosing either Antwerp, Brussels, countryside or village scenes.
After our ride through Antwerp, we took another wander around before heading off, looking at sports artwork, some of which are shown below amongst others.
Overall, we had a great day out, completely unplanned in true ‘Ad-lib Traveller’ fashion. Whilst the country houses are in London to commemorate the Olympics, I think that this is a great way to experience the culture of a country or city that you might not have been to. I can’t wait to visit a few others in the coming days.
Do you have any plans to get involved with the Olympics through attendance at their hosted houses or otherwise? Please share in the comments below.