When deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, a coworker of mine mentioned going to the Summer Olympics the following year in London. What a great opportunity! I asked if anyone was going with him and he said no. I thought this would be a great chance to see London and to see the Olympics. So, I was on board! We purchased tickets to the bronze medal match of men’s soccer. We were shooting for the gold medal match, but tickets sold out in minutes.
Finally, nine months later in August, it was time for our trip to London! We were both pretty stoked. We drove to Frankfurt after work and hopped on a plane headed to London. After we arrived we got on a train at the airport to get to the heart of the city. We had one afternoon to explore London, for the actual soccer game was in Cardiff, Wales.
We walked all around London to see all the major sites such as: The London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. And, of course, we checked out those popular red telephone booths. We headed to Olympic Park, but we had to have a separate ticket to enter; our soccer tickets didn’t suffice.
The city was covered with Olympic signs and apparel and there were people everywhere. Some Olympians were even running around the city.
After our afternoon visit in London we took the train to Cardiff, Wales to find our hostel. We had a full day in Cardiff to do some exploring because the soccer match wasn’t until the following day. We walked down to a bay area and even found an old antique store.
The day of the soccer match had arrived and we were very anxious for the experience. The soccer match was Japan verses South Korea. For as quickly as the tickets sold out for the match, we were surprised by how bare the arena was.
There were some Koreans sitting in front of us, so I said hello to them in Korean. They were very shocked that I knew some of the Korean language and wondered why. I told them I lived in South Korea for a year and took a language class while I was there. It was a pretty cool experience to be cheering for South Korea with a group of Korean natives. The best part…they won!
After the soccer match, the streets were filled with lots and lots of people. We ran into a couple Cardiff natives who showed us around the town. Considering they were from there, they knew all the great spots to grab a beer. And, they were fun!
After the long day of our Olympic experience, we were exhausted. We grabbed a cab back to our hostel to get some rest. The next day we made our way back to London, grabbed some lunch, and then headed to the airport. It was time for us to head back to Germany. Good-bye, London! You were a great time!