At breakfast in the hotel on Sunday morning, I met a Twins fan and got to talk a little baseball before getting in Olympic mode for the day. We had scouted out a prime spot along the course of the men's marathon and headed straight there once we had our morning's fill of beans and toast.
The course was a circuit that the racers ran three times and we found a spot in the shade on a two-way strip by which the competitors would pass six times during the marathon. We ended up situated next to a family from New Jersey on our right with whom we could root for the American runners but we stayed much longer than planned thanks to a quick friendship we struck up with the Western family from Essex.
Father Guy and I found a lot of similarities with our mutual at-home dad/weekend warrior lives while mom Hayley, daughters Amelia (14), and Verity (10) along with son George (13) shared treats, stories and impressions of one another's countries that made the experience truly memorable. (Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org, Westerns. We'd love to see you guys again someday!)
Our view of the race, the support vehicles, the media and the fans representing so many different countries gave us a great - and free! - Olympic experience.
We were able to follow the drama on Guy's phone and we were well aware of the battle for first throughout the race. Here's a shot of Ugandan winner Stephen Kiprotich as he passed by us for the last time with just two miles to go.
After the marathon we made our way back to Chinatown for a dim sum lunch that topped any I've enjoyed in the U.S. The kids are all now BBQ-pork-bun fans for life. Unfortunately, Betsy needed to return to Brussels for work on Monday so we dropped her off at the train station after watching a bit of the USA men's gold medal victory over Spain back at the hotel.
After our farewells, the kids and I headed for The Globe to take in a performance of Henry V. The venue is the only thatched-roof structure in all of London; the lone exception to a law enacted after the fire that gutted the city in 1666. Today's Globe is an accurate recreation of the theatre as historians believe it looked in Shakespeare's time and is just a couple of blocks away from the site of the original Elizabethan playhouse.
The venue was amazing and what we saw of the production was superb. We paid only ￡5 per ticket to be groundlings which gave us a uniquely historical experience but we were required to remain standing throughout the show for safety.
Since visibility and comprehension were both on the low side for Xander, Vaughn and Quinn, I relented and we departed midway through Act II. Sorry, no photos are allowed during the production so I can't show examples of the outstanding period costumes, props and instruments but at least we were allowed plenty of pre-show photography.
On the way back towards the hotel to grab a quick dinner before settling in for the evening to enjoy the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, we passed this giant human body statue on the ever-changing exhibition space in front of the Tate Modern Art Gallery. No privates to be seen, but he is showing plenty of skin...and more. Kids love guts.