olympic park 2 years on
It's now been 2 years since London hosted the games. I took a stroll through what is now called the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park. It's a bit of a mouthful, but I'm sure it will very quickly be turned into an acronym of sorts [QE2OP sounds a little like something from Star Trek].
The splendour is long gone, but the park still retains a little of that Olympic spirit that inspired so many in 2012. Being the first time returning to the park since the games, walking past the Aquatic Centre and towards the grand stadium still gave me goosebumps - albeit from memory rather than from what was in front of me.
Stadium lights and public address systems have been replaced by cranes, scaffolding, metal fences and security gates. All the temporary Olympic structures such as the Basketball Arena are now gone, but the Aquatic Centre, the Stadium and I believe the Velodrome still stand. Tottenham Football fans had better enjoy this park now as come 2016 it will be awash with West Ham supporters. The stadium will be theirs.
One thing hasn't changed. The most pointless but most visible part of the Olympic park back in 2012 - the Orbit, is still there being pointless and visible. It is however making a whole load of cash for whomever. It is now re-opened to the public who for a fee can take the elevator to the top, and come back down again. Ah, why not? It's one of the things tourists the world over are guaranteed to do [I've done it several times] - pay to go to the top of something, and come down again. I've done it in Paris, Rome, Prague and God knows where else. Why not in Stratford?
All the construction work aside, the vegetation has matured and seems more organic which is really pleasing. Fresh looking green grass, trees and flowers all over the park make it a great place to go chill. Granted, it was a little noisy on the day because of the car racing/stunt driving event that was on in the park, but I can imagine a normal day without that noise would be relatively blissful. There are also attractions for the little ones such as water fountains they can run through and wall climbing. I didn't take any photos. People are sensitive.