Post-Olympic Nostalgia: London Calling

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in London, Travel | 2 comments

Post-Olympic Nostalgia: London Calling

Any city fresh off the heels of an impressive Olympic display is bound to have some nostalgia, and London is no exception. The city hosted the third Olympic Games in its history this past summer, after showing in 1908 and 1948. Then the city hosted the equally important Paralympic Games from August 29- September 9, 2012 to further extend cause for celebration.

As with any city, the Olympic Games produce much fanfare and large tabs: it is estimated that some 9 billion pounds was spent on this event. Add to that the cost of promotion, increased security and cleaning up after the pomp and circumstance. The brilliant Olympic opening and closing ceremonies reflected on the incredible culture and literary legacy that England has given the world, and for that I will always be grateful.

I remember my first brush with London, when I was barely ten years old. It was snowing and the city had not seen anything quite like it. I was a little girl from India who had barely seen snow herself. I danced with an umbrella on the streets. It was one of the best winters of my life.

Paul MCCartney at CitiField

Paul McCartney at a live performance at Citi Field

And then I had the good fortune to live in London while I was an Investment Banker. I worked in the glassy, newly minted Canary Wharf section of London, and lived like a princess in a stylish flat in Sloane Square. And that was ten years ago. I miss that period in my life so very much because I was heavily into the arts scene: writing poetry at night, traveling to the Costwald region on the weekends, making several trips to the gorgeous city of Bath for  a breath of fresh air. And then there were trips to Edinburgh, which was probably one of the most favorite aspects of living in London. I still have so much of Scotland left to see, but I remember the craggy landscape, the wet cobblestone streets and fun loving people who loved their Guinness and ale.

Post-Olympic London is a destination I’d love to visit if anything to see the city’s metamorphosis. Some experts say that the effect of the Olympics on well being will be an intangible (for the record, the Office of National Statistics has published its first index of wellbeing, discovering that UK happiness is 7.4 out of 10, according to The Guardian). But other cities that have hosted the Olympics have either fared brilliantly (e.g. Barcelona, whose 1992 Olympic Games has been lucrative to the city) or been economically stymied  (e.g. Athens).

Personally, the decisions to visit post-Olympic London are no brainers. These include:

Catching the post-party lull: If you’re a crowd hater (which I am), post-Olympic London is the right time to go. You can visit the same museums, Olympic Stadium and pubs that most would have visited during the summer, but with the assurance of much fewer crowds. And you can also take some notable photos of these Olympic venues and remember the great events that transpired a few months ago.

Catching London Fashion Week: Yes, fresh off the heels of New York Fashion week is London Fashion Week. With a pretty accent too!

Getting some good airfares: Let’s face it, summer is definitely peak season when it comes to getting fares to Europe. Add the Olympics into the mix and you have a big financial headache. Catching some good airfare deals after the Great Olympic Gatsby makes some good financial sense.

Athletes too, have nothing but great things to say about the London Olympic Games, with the British transport system coping admirably under the weight of the mass exodus. Which leads me to believe that the city can just about handle anything, including a post-Olympic stampede.

I still have several friends whom I  miss, all living in various parts of London: Primrose Hill, Stanmore, Central London. Add to that the brilliant and ubiquitous parks and idyllic afternoons in Kensington Gardens…all great excuses to visit. One of these weekends, I may just end up skipping my oatmeal for breakfast, and catching that flight to Heathrow.

This post made possible by Kaplan International