Sunday, 29 July 2012 the Olympic Park

Today I walked through the Olympic Park... But it was not the first time. I was there when London 2012 was just a hope for the local authority and Government; at a time when the area was the mostly derelict and polluted Lea Valley.

I've visited it a couple of times since.... as part of a bus tour of the developing Olympic site and have been lucky enough to see the transformation. The last time was in July 2011 when I could see the main buildings but the landscaping had only just begun.

July 2011

July 2012

What can I say?  They have done some amazing things to the area. The site was reclaimed from a polluted industrial wasteland. I learned some new facts about the place today...

the first plastic: made on the site of the Olympic Park

Yardley soap!

It was amazing what a different a year can make

Velodrome July 2011
Velodrome July 2012

I remember feeling quite sad when I heard they were going to bulldoze the industrial heritage. I remember walks along deserted canals with hardy wildlife living amidst the old buildings and colonising polluted riverbanks. Well, today I felt happy.

It was hard not to! There was a such a positive atmosphere in the park, I must have said hello to at least a hundred smiling volunteers as well as taking hundreds of photographs of the flowers.

I think they've done an amazing job cleaning the place up and creating a new park.

I thought the planting was inspiring and the choice of walking routes through the park gave different views and experiences.

 There was colour everywhere (and not just in the bright pink and blue hockey stadium!).

The planting was magnificent, inspiring... but hard to replicate I think. Once the Olympics and Paralympics are over I look forward to visiting the park in years to come to see how it grows and develops.  That will be the true test of the transformation, how it stands up to the test of time.

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