Winter definitely arrived in Belfast and NI this weekend and we weren’t even here to see it! We were however kept very much up to date with the snow situation courtesy of good old Twitter.
We had ventured over to London for as cheap a trip as we could organise, with flights paid for by air miles, £29 accommodation, £7.99 all you can eat breakfast, which included consuming enough food to feed a large family for the day, dinners were funded by Tesco vouchers for Strada and Pizza Express and the hugely overpriced Heathrow Express was replaced by a good old underground day pass. Cheap as chips as they say. So imagine our shock after a bargain trip away to go to the cinema and be stung for £30 for 2 people and 2 bottles of water! Wow! We clearly don’t appreciate how good value Belfast is!
Our first stop on the itinerary, before we hit the window shopping, was a trip into the new Olympic park to watch a ‘London Prepares’ game of Goalball. The opening weekend of the Paralympic preparations have just begun in the Olympic Park and we had access to the HandBall Arena for a game. When I say we had access, what I really mean is that from our hotel room at Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre, we could see people walking into the Olympic Park and we immediately hot footed it over the road and blagged our way in. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
The whole Olympic Park area looks fantastic, but I wouldn’t fancy trying to get around London during the Olympics as I’ve never seen the place so busy, so imagine adding a few more 100,000 visitors.
I guess I should mention Westfield Stratford shopping centre, as busy wouldn’t be a word I would use to describe it really, I think mobbed would be better. The place was bunged. Every restaurant had a queue, every shop had a queue, even our favourite fashion export Primark had a person standing in the middle of the store with a sign up saying, ‘the Queue for the tills starts here’ and from that point, we couldn’t even see where the tills where! Seriously….what recession?
Apart from the crowds there was a lot of inspiration coming our way for the BelfastTimes2012 season. We checked out postcards, artwork, PopArt ideas and generally got all inspired to start creating and preparing for next year…so watch this space.