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Citius Altius Fortius - Castaways on the Isles of Wonder


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Yesterday was the best day of my adventures on the Isles of Wonders - I had to get up very early (4.30 a.m.) to get to Eton Dorney in time. It was a little bit hard to get up after I had been the whole day in the Olympic Stadium/Park in the day before yesterday.

I had to hurry from our GB sharing flat to Greenwich station - the sunrise was great - the church of Greenwich was bathed in golden light...

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I took the train to Waterloo East and had to change into a train from Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside - I felt asleep in the train, which was packed with people heading to Canoe Sprint (it was a special train for the event). In Windsor & Eton Riverside were many shuttle buses, which brought us closer to the venue. During the trip we drove through the little village Windsor and got a view onto the castle - I have to say that it is a really nice village and I will definitely go there again to make some sightseeing after the Olympics

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We left the buses and had to go appr. 25 minutes to the venue - it was a great atmosphere in the audience. There were a lot of Hungarian fans, which supported their athletes quite "loud"... By the way I recognised that one guy had a map of Hungary on his jacket, which showed the borders of Hungary appr. 300 years ago - which included e.g. the complete Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, parts of Austria, parts of Serbia and a huge part of Romania... That was pure political propaganda...

There were a pre-show - a K4 dragged a waterskier

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Then the competition started

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... the best thing was that I had the luck to see a German Olympic Champion at my first attendance to Olympic Games in person! And not one, but two!!! C2 (men) and K2 (women)

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And I had the luck to see an Aussie Gold, too - the woman must had been the girl friend or a family member of one of the four Australians who won the K4

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Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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Well, I was in "cloud nine" and headed to Slough and took the train to Paddington - due I had a tix for the final in Beach-Volleyball I stayed around Bond Street and walked finally slowly to St. James Park... There I was standing together with a nice Brazilian Lady with her english husband and we had a great chat about Rio 2016 and the World Cup two years before the Olympic Games.

We were talking about the impact of the two major sports events onto Brazil and time flew by. We got into the venue - the spectator zone had something royal like Wimbledon. A band of the British Armed Forces entertained the waiting audience.

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St. James Park was prepared for the Olympic Games - e.g. the beds disappeared and their grounds were protected with bark mulch - and an artist created some amazing reliefs out of sand

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Wenlock in Sand

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Horse Guards in Sand

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Horse Guards Parade in Sand

The venue at Horse Guards Parade is fantastic - I think it is my favourite one - you can see Big Ben, Victoria Tower and the London eye - the stadium speaker was great, too - he made jokes and asked for support for the different teams and asked to bug Downing Street No. 10, which is right next to the sight.

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By the way on the roof of the Horse Guards Barracks stood a woman, who looked from the far like Margaret Thatcher,

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but when you zoomed you saw the difference - I suppose she must had been the wife of one of the generals of the Horse Guards

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It started with a pre-show

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first the military band played some great songs and afterwards the "Horse Guards Parade Ballet" danced

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Then the matches began!!! I just got goosebumps again...

It was really an terrific experience - the bronze medal match first - I supported our neighbours, but the Netherlands lost and Latvia won the bronze medal

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It was getting darker and the London Eye was illuminated:

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Then the special pre-show for the final started - one of my favourite 80s British Pop groups played some songs and I had the feeling that I was in the disco again and I danced and sang the whole time waving my German a photographer from Brazil took some pics of me and I might be in the Brazilian newspapers today...

It was Bananrama

by the way music - they are playing music the whole time in between the play moves and one song was often played, which sounds very Brazilian, but is from two German musicians - "Samba de Janeiro" from 1997 by Bellini (the video was shot in a small street in Cologne - the two musicians are visible in the video with the suites and the sunglasses)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq7AoCiF8Uc

The final started - Brazil was the huge favourite, but the Germans played just great - most of the audience supported the two Brazilians, but there were a lot of Germans supporters, too and I have had one of my greatest experiences during the London Olympics so far - we organised supporting chants for the German team in our block and finally the german duo won!!! I was on "cloud number nine plus" - after the match I was totally happy and when I walked down to the Westminster station - I felt so great - I gives me showers of goosebumps, when I think on that

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Many athletes of the German Olympic Team were in the audience too

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I would like to add that there was a British couple in our German two rows and I think they might were a little bit "shocked" about our behaviour, but I think they loved it at the end they even shouted: "Deutschland" with us finally...

The "Underdog" won!

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I thought the Rowing Federation did not want platforms because the 8s and the 4s don't use them. Now the 2s do. Where is the consistency?

This is for Kayaking. They have always had medal dias... Rowing still down't have them.

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This is for Kayaking. They have always had medal dias... Rowing still down't have them.

Oh. Forgot that Canoe & Kayaking have separate IFs than Rowing. Still, it's so bizarre that they're using the same venue...yet 1 IF rejects the medal dias whereas the other 2 like it. It just seems so petty and trivial. It's like, if it's Tuesday, it must be dias day!! :wacko:

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I don't have an Olympic event today, but somebody waited for me to give me a lift

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He even offered me a Martini, shaken not stirred...

I was in the Barbican Centre today, where an exhibition about the design in James Bond movies is shown at the moment. It was very interesting to see the costumes, props, the Q-devices, etc. etc., but it was a little bit deillusionary, too

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When I arrived in London 16 Days ago I didn't know what I really can "expect" from my first Olympic Games, which I attended in person. One day before the closing ceremony I just can say: THANK YOU LONDON, THANK YOU UNITED KINGDOM - YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!

For me the most important thing of my first "Olympic Adventure" is that my approach toward the Olympic Games, Opening Ceremony, Athletes, the Bid process, etc. etc. has change. It is an eminent difference to watch Olympic Games on the TV or to watch it in person.

Personally the London Olympics will be always something special for me - and I will always remember the great venues, the friendly and helpful volunteers, the likeable soldiers, who did their job very fast and efficiently, the smooth working transportation, the sport events, which I attended, and the opening ceremony, which was just brilliant!!!

I have no events today and I might go a little bit sightseeing (but really just a very little bit, since I have to look after my feet (Olympic Adventures are great, but not good for feet)). Tomorrow I will rest and prepare for another event before I will leave London on monday.

I will try to do some further blog updates today and tomorrow, but I can't promise anything!

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I would like to share with you a nice chat with woman and her two sons, which I had yesterday on my way back to the flat in the Jubilee Line.

The younger son (maybe 5 or 6) hold a Wenlock plushie in his hands and I asked him if he is following the Olympic Games and what he has liked most so far - he told me the "running". I spoke with the mother and the younger son in turns about the Olympic Games in London and the legacy.

Sometimes the younger son mentioned that when the Olympic Games come back to London in 8-10 years he will be older - I looked at him and said to him - it would be lovely if the next Olympic Games in London are in 8-10 years, but that is very unlikely, since many other cities would love to host, too - and when London receive every 8-10 years the Olympic Games that wouldn't be possible...

I was in a way fascinated by this "young man", who was on one hand so delighted of the Olympic Games that he wants to see in 8-10 years Olympic Games in his home city again, but was totally unaware of the "political world of the Olympic Games" on the other hand.

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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You should have told him that by the time the Olympics returns to London his mummy and daddy will have have been dead for many years - and you may not be around either little one.

I couldn't do that - he had too big, dark, innocent eyes...

But I want to add that the talks in the underground, buses, restaurants, on the streets with strangers were really interesting/amazing - we all shared an experience, a feeling - the Olympic Spirit...

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I had my last "free day" before the London Olympics end today - I decided to do a little bit of sightseeing and Rols and I took the DLR to Bank for the Tower Bridge.

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We wandered around the Tower and took some pictures - then we walked over to St. Katherines Docks, which Lee showed me in February 2012, when I was the last time in London.

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... and then we saw, that THE DICKENS INN was the Danish House during the Games and suddenly we were in the Olympic Park!!!

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After lunch in THE DICKENS INN we went back to Tower Hill Station and took the Circle Line to Westminster

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Westminster is always interesting, but today it was totally crowded - and I got quite tired...

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Due I was tired and my feet hurt like h'll and Rols has tickets for an event tonight we took the Jubilee LIne back to Canary Wharf...

I am sitting right now in our GB Shared Flat and rest for my last event of my Olympic Adventures here in London - during I am typing my blog I hear the crowd shouting in the Equestrian Venue, which is only appr. 5 minutes away - Modern Pentathlon just ended...

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After I had got up (Rols had to leave very early today in the morning) I wandered around in Greenwich - I decided spontaneously to take a good English breakfast - then I visited the Greenwich Tourist Information, which gives a small introduction into the history of Greenwich and I have to say that this part of London has a very interesting history (I do love history)

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St. Alfege Church - Henry VIII. was baptised in one of the preceding buildings of this church

some interesting historic facts about Greenwich:

Henry VIII., Mary I. and Elizabeth I. were all born in Greenwich - Henry VIII. married Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves in Greenwich

Greenwich Palace in the times of the Tudors (quite similar to Hampton Court Palace)

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Greenwich Tourist Information with a shot put ball...

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Canary Wharf in a sea of flowers

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... and I bought today a nice London souvenir at Greenwich market - I found a little shop of a graphic artist, who draws London themed silhouettes/skylines and I bought two graphics of him - one is showing Greenwich and the other one London...

I have to admit that I was always in drawing and painting, but I didn't make a profession out of it...

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I am back in Hamburg and I am watching the Opening Ceremony on TV right now and I have to say I can't understand how people can't like it - there are so many brilliant ideas in the ceremony!!!

It is great to watch the TV version to get the details, but I never want to miss the atmosphere in the stadium, which isn't really recognisable on TV....

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Loved reading your blog Martin, thanks for sharing everyhing with us. I think you probably know parts of East London better than I do now! So, for all your efforts in this thread, you can count yourself as an Honourary Londoner. I'm sure others would agree!

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Thanks Rob - I had just a ****'n brilliant time in London - I don't want to miss any second!

By the way my blog isn't finished yet - I shot a lot of photos during the Closing Ceremony, but I am too tired to post and write about the last day in London...

But of course I will do it this week - and I will do a kind of chart of my favourite moments during the London Olympics!!!

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I took the DLR around 4.00 p.m. from Greenwich to Stratford - like always the trip ran very smoothly and arrived around 30 minutes later Stratford...

The crowd walked slowly from Stratford Station to the gates of the Olympic Park - everyone was in a very happy and expectant mood - the volunteers were cheering and the soldiers in the security check were friendly, but efficient at the same time.

In the entrance/exit part of the Olympic Park was an one-way-policy implemented for the closing ceremony ticket holders and the people, who left the Olympic Park.

First I went to the Orbit circus to find something to eat and to drink - then I went to the bridge, which I had to use for the Stadium - on the tickets were the bridge given, which you have to use to get over the canal, which seperates the Olympic Stadium from the rest of the Olympic Park.

We had to wait a little bit longer at the entrance of the Stadium island, since one artist (I think it was George Michael) hadn't finished his rehearsal...

After the rehearsal was finished the gates were opened - I got to my seat - the inside of the stadium wasn't finished prepared (Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Gherkin, London Eye etc. etc. hadn't been erected) - everywhere were construction workers and prepared the field of the stadium.

Somebody explained what we have to do during the ceremony (like before the Opening Ceremony) and "mechanics" were there again, who helped the audience during the show to do what we got taught.

Then the Closing Ceremony started - it was just brilliant - of course you have to bear in mind, that a closing ceremony is different - it shall be fun and at the same time a kind of farewell - London did a marvellous job again - the Brits should be very proud - I had a lot of fun - I sang, dance and did what the guy told us before the ceremony...

Here are some pics:

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When I got home I had to download some songs, which were played during the Opening and the Closing Ceremony - e.g. "Going Underground" by The Jam - I hadn't heard it for a long time, but when it was played during the Closing Ceremony I got it into my mind again - it is "so" British, "so" London!!!!

I fell even more in love with London during the 18 days were I lived there!!!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmz554_the-jam-going-underground_music

here are some more pics, which I took:

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I have had already most of the music, which was played during the opening and the closing ceremony - but I had to download these songs, when I was back in Hamburg:

Going Underground - The Jam

Survival - Muse

I Still Believe - Frank Turner

Parklife - Blur

What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction

Dynamite - Taio Cruz

Rule The World - Take That

Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

I didn't download that new song by George Michael - I didn't like that he was allowed to sing a new song during the closing ceremony...

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I do like Taio Cruz's Dynamite. It used to make me think of gym classes but now it reminds me of the Closing Ceremony. And I like Written in the Stars.

I thought the second George Michael track really killed the mood in the stadium for a while too. Wish he'd just stopped at the first one! And I really thought that we'd get Duran Duran singing Rio if they were truly going for cheesy!

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