One of the most inspiring and iconic symbols associated with the Olympics is the Olympic Torch. The Olympic torch, which travels from country to country being hoisted by local heroes to children who have fought back from a devastating illness, gets people geared up for the Games. Holding the Torch is a privilege, or more so, a rare opportunity that very few people will ever have. Just recently I am now one of those few that have experienced holding the Torch.
Anthony and I were again curious to see what the United States Hospitality House looked like so we were again on the hunt. Asking a few more guides they were still unsure about where it was. After about an hour of speculating of where it may be, we decided to hold off on it. However, we have heard of a place called the House of Nations that was in King’s Cross. The House of Nations was the host to multiple large screens that showed all the Olympic events happening that day. There was also a little bit of a treat for its guest; we were told that a person could hold and even take pictures with the Olympic Torch.
Anthony and I made our way over there with great excitement. However, we were a little unsure about everything that we had heard. Yes, the House of Nations did have huge screens and we did not even have to pay for entry. Even though both those aspects of the House were good, we could not find the Torch anywhere. The place which seemed to be a luxurious club with seats, televisions, viewing screens and even foosball tables littered around, did not have its most important attraction. We stayed for a few events but then left to explore more of the city that we had not seen.
We took a train back to Big Ben to walk around some more. We were able to see the Eye of London, which is a Ferris wheel that at the top a person could view every part of the city. We also saw street performers, similar to Chicago; there were break-dancers, human statues, and even music. Although that was all fine and good, being an English major the prize of the trip was seeing Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. The theater was located next to the river and it had a ton of people waiting in line while they set up to host a play. Anthony and I went into the gift shop that had everything Shakespeare from pencils, mugs, key chains, fancy copies of Shakespeare’s stories, to t-shirts. We both bought a shirt to commemorate our presence and headed back on our walk.
Along the way we stopped and watched a viewing screen in a park while the 200-meter women’s round one heats were happening. After it started to rain and having worked up an appetite we decided to head back to the hostel and get some food. Not wanting McDonald’s again we decided to go back to the House of Nations to get food.
To our surprise they were now charging people to get in, but since we were there earlier and had a wristband we were able to get in for free. While walking in there was a lady holding a large golden device of some sort. It was the official Olympic Torch. After waiting to get a picture we were both able to hold it, and it was a powerful moment. Being able to absorb the journey of the Torch and how much it meant to fuel the tradition, it proved to be a great experience. I can honestly say I am one of the few people in the world that have ever had the honor to grasp something of that caliber.