Travel Journal #4 – Olympic Countdown

olympic countdown clock“In seven minutes, it’s going to blow up!”
Such were the words from BBC News on the 15th of March, according to Dr. Bruce Johnson (my economics professor) this afternoon at tea. (Quick note: Yes, we went to tea as a kind of class outing. The tea was lovely and the little sandwiches and pastries were delicious. How cool — a true “tea time” break in London!) But unfortunately, we don’t have televisions in our rooms at Nido to inform us of such things. And I was writing a paper for one of the English classes that I’m taking, so even if we did have a telly, I wouldn’t have heard this intriguing news.
fireworksOkay, so what exactly were they talking about? On March 15, the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics officially began — 500 days until the opening ceremonies! And as part of the celebration, the BT (British Telecom) Tower shot off fireworks. As I mentioned, I had been writing a paper for class in my room. I was sitting on my bed as I finished my paper, lightly listening to music by someone like Enya or Brian Crain, and all of a sudden there were loud noises coming from outside. When I looked out my window, there were fireworks exploding into the night sky. Simultaneously, I was trying to tell Leah to jump over to my bed so that she could see, find my phone so that I could call Trish, and locate my camera so that I could snap a photo. All the while I was trying to keep my eyes glued to the tower and basically dancing in place, overcome with excitement. But the fireworks were over almost before they began. Leah made it over to see them but I couldn’t find my phone in time to call Trish. However, I was able to take a picture of the very last set of fireworks that were shot off.
It was an incredibly exciting study-breaker, even though it left me a bit confused. We’d mentioned something about the “Ides of March” in class. But fireworks for that? It didn’t seem likely. But neither Leah nor I had any idea what the fireworks were for, so I quickly googled it and announced the news: 500 days until the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics! Unreal. Earlier that evening, they’d unveiled a clock in Trafalgar Square that has the countdown to The Olympic Opening Ceremony on one side, and the countdown to the Paraplegic Olympic Opening Ceremony on the other. I made it a point to head to Trafalgar Square the next day to check it out — and it’s pretty cool. But I’m a sucker for cheesy things like countdown clocks, so maybe I’m a little bit biased when it comes to describing how cool the clock is.
by Anne Evans ’12, currently participating in the Centre-in-London study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in England.
PHOTOS (top to bottom): The Omega London countdown clock in front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and fireworks being shot from the BT Tower.

By |2011-03-20T15:49:27-04:00March 20th, 2011|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - England|