diamond geezer

 Friday, May 22, 2009

London 2012  Olympic update
  Bloggers bus tour

I find it hard to believe, but it's only a year ago today that construction work began on London's Olympic Stadium. Last May an expanse of knocked-down warehouses; this May a towering bowl visible for miles around. It still takes my breath away walking home from my local supermarket, because I'm not yet used to there being a shiny international sporting arena poking out above the Bow Flyover. But it's not easy to see what's going on around the rest of the Olympic Park, even from my favourite vantage point up on the Greenway, because this is one vast construction site and only the bits around the edges are really visible.

London 2012 tour busYesterday I got rather closer to the heart of the 2012 action when a motley collection of ten-or-so London-y bloggers were invited on an hour-long bus tour around the Park, from top to bottom. We had to report to a lay-by outside Stratford station where the official Olympic tour minibus was waiting, and we had to wave some official form of ID like a passport or a driving licence to prove we weren't evil nation-hating terrorists. When it became clear that we weren't going to be allowed off of the bus at any time during the journey many of us wondered whether the ID check had been entirely necessary, but I guess the Games organisers can't be too careful. Even media-savvy tourists are potentially dangerous these days, especially when they're armed with zoom lenses, Twitter-enabled iPhones and audio-blogging devices.

The first 20 minutes or so of the tour were spent crawling very slowly through the rush hour streets of Leyton, but at least we had a motivational video to watch instead, like you do on an Olympic tourbus. There was also a brief quiz to fill the time, which I might have tried harder at if I'd known what the prizes were going to be. And then we got to stare out of the dirt-speckled windows for a bit, wondering whether it would be worth taking any photos when we got to the Park or whether everything would be all splotchy.

I'll tell you rather more about the main bit of the trip tomorrow (yeah, I know, it's a bank holiday weekend and you won't be around to read it, but sorry, I'd quite like some sleep). In the meantime I can direct you towards what some of my fellow passengers have already written. Here's Ham's stadium shot over at London Daily Photo, and here are some of Enzo's Twitpics. For rather more detail (including several chunks of audio commentary from en route) the Onionbagblogger has an impressively full review.
6pm update: Ian's written a marvellous lengthy illustrated post over here, and there's a gallery of excellent photos in a Londonist update from M@ here.

And I can let you look at some photos. They're not too splotchy, thankfully. There aren't too many reflections of the bus window (although there are some). And because the vehicle was moving most of the time, I won't be showing you the 90% of photos that were either too blurry or where a big fence suddenly got in the way (or more usually both). You can leap to my selection of ten best shots here. Or you can pick and choose from the list below. Or you can just enjoy all the other bloggers' photos and come back here tomorrow.

» Former allotments; Olympic Village; A new bridge; Soil washing
» Olympic Stadium; Upper bowl; Riverside view
» Aquatic Centre; Ooh!; Aah!

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