Visit to the Olympic Park - Wednesday 9th September

The day started fine and continued all day. Today was our (Jill and Myself’s) 48th Wedding Anniversary. I decided to go on the visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (as it is now) and Jill went to Age Concern as Wednesday is her day for helping there. We did meet up for an excellent meal in Marlow afterwards. Beers all round.
We got there in excellent time, via the M25 and M11. We skirted through the dowdy suburbs and soon arrived at the Park. So much has changed since 2012. The iconic buildings were still visible but the secure area of the original site has of course been opened up and everything is very accessible. We went round the site in the coach and then got out to have a look around. We visited the Velodrome to view the site of GB’s cycling triumphs. It struck me how sweet it smelt, no sign of sweat anywhere. It’s a magnificent building. We also got
coffee and biscuits there. It’s good to know it’s well used but no one in our party offered to try a circuit. The banking is tremendously steep and should only be attempted by those with bravura who’ve practised a bit.
On to Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics centre. It looks good and by golly it is good. A huge pool area with lots of people enjoying the water.
Again there were no offers to go off the 10 metre board, I don’t understand why not? These buildings are both unique in shape and
truly iconic.
Lots of tree planting has taken place and the 500 acre park is lushly landscaped with the trees and flowers and is criss-crossed with
waterways. Competitor accommodation has been converted to flats and apartments, as was intended and a vast block for student
accommodation has been built together with a new school. Designs are good, very modern, so the whole area is gradually shaping up. We had lunch in the food court within the Westfield Shopping centre where there was a huge choice of foods of all nations (well almost). The fish and chips were excellent.
On to the coach again and off through the surprisingly leafy suburbs to Broxbourne and the River Lee. We went through the Edge of Epping Forest to our destination. An area new to me and I have to say how good it looked. Not what I expected of the Eastern side of London. Some beautiful houses and not too much traffic.
At Broxbourne we embarked for a 90 minute cruise up and down the Lee. We boarded a narrow boat, well strictly it was a wide beamed barge, but I think that was its structure rather than a comment on our sizes. A delicious cream tea was served on board, courtesy of the
skipper’s first mate (his wife), who had baked the cakes herself. Marvellous and a great end to an excellent outing. Not enough time
to see it all but it was a great taster (particularly the cakes).

Roger Smith