Travel Postcard: 48 hours in London just ahead of the Olympics

Fri Jul 6, 2012 9:43am EDT
 
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By Josie Cox

LONDON (Reuters) - When the Olympic Games founded to honor Zeus began in ancient Greece around 776 BC, London didn't exist. More than two millennia later, the city of nearly 8 million people is in the final stages of redeveloping whole boroughs to accommodate the swarms of spectators who have been able secure a ticket for the 2012 Olympic Games.

With less than a month to go before the opening ceremony, here's one way to spend 48 action-packed hours warming-up those limbs and getting into shape for the biggest sporting event on the globe.

FRIDAY

8 p.m. Friday nights in the British capital are often about hitting the pub and downing some pints to drown the stresses of the working week. But as Olympic fever spreads across the city, why not get your pulse racing and secure yourself a natural high by strapping on some skates and joining the London Friday Night Skate? The marshaled street skate event kicks off at 8 p.m. most Friday nights at Hyde Park Corner. The route meanders through Hyde Park - the largest of London's royal parks, where the Olympic triathlon and marathon swimming events will finish. (www.lfns.co.uk)

9 p.m.

After dismantling your wheels and stretching out your aching calves, head over to The Sports Café (www.thesportscafe.com) in the heart of London's West End to rehydrate and replenish those calories burned off, before turning in for the night and dreaming of gold.

SATURDAY

9 a.m. The true extent of Londoners' obsession with running and fitness is best demonstrated on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. when athletes of all shapes and sizes meet in various parks across London to compete in parkrun - a free 5 km timed running race which gives you a chance to check your sporting progress and compete with like-minded hobby and professional athletes. (www.parkrun.com)   Continued...

 
A flag on the back of a river boat flutters above Tower Bridge after the Olympic Rings were lowered into position for display from the walkways in central London, June 27, 2012. The London 2012 Olympic games will begin on July 27. REUTERS/Andrew Winning OLYMPICS)