A Scottish Viking in London Part 1
First up I have to say I don't really agree with moving regular season
games overseas. It's unfair to the home teams fans, and the players
also lose the advantage of playing in their own stadium. Goodell seems
to be pushing for a London franchise so the games are going to keep
coming and I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, am I?
So anyway my wife and I drop the kids off at relatives and fly down on
Friday morning. Staying in a nice hotel with a view of the river
Thames, this is where the university boat race starts and rowers were
out on the river quite a bit....
It's also very close to a London Underground tube station so getting around isn't a problem. I've always liked the tube, it can get pretty crowded at times but to me it's part of the whole London experience. Spent the rest of the day doing tourist stuff, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, then went up the west end for a meal and to see a show. We've been to London a few times and you could definitely tell the NFL was in town with a lot of fans showing their colour's whilst walking around. I made sure I represented the Vikes with some item of clothing which always got some friendly comments.
Saturday we headed to Regent Street, one of the main shopping areas, which had been closed down for an NFL "block party". This consisted of the Lombardi Trophy in a glass case, which you could get your picture taken beside if you waited in an extremely long queue. If you got to hold the thing I'd have been in that queue, but not to stand in front of a glass case, besides my camera has a pretty good zoom.....
There was something going on all the way up the street such as flag
football for the kids, FG kicking tents, inflatables, food stalls, also
Jaguars and 49ers areas as they play in London this month.
We headed to a game day merchandise stall that didn't seem to be all that busy, only to find out that there was an extremely long queue at the other side. Picked up some items and headed to the stage where players of both teams were scheduled to appear. This stage was situated to the side of the street so although Regent Street is pretty straight you could only see if you stood in front of the stage. This in turn caused a log jam so although we managed to get a relatively decent vantage point, spent most of the time listening to security trying to implement a one way system through a loud speaker. The Steelers players were on stage when we arrived, and after about another half an hour of waiting it was the turn of the Vikes. It was also at this precise moment that security decided to move a metal fence right in front of where we were standing, my wife pointed out this was outrageous, and they moved it back out of everyone's way! As I said it was tricky to hear what was being said thanks to our friend with the loud speaker but managed to get some pictures....
After the Viking players departed, we headed for the Nike store which had given the entire lower level over to the NFL with jerseys and other items from all 32 teams. I bought a new Peterson home jersey, this was the first time seeing the jerseys up close and I do like them and prefer them to the last unis. The one thing which has been said and I do agree on is how some of the number combinations do not look right, eg Smith's 22 not having the same 2's. It's handy that 2+8 and 6+9 look good together though, coincidence?
Next we took a trip to Buckingham Palace where we got talking to 2 pilots who had flown some of the cheerleaders and fans across earlier on. They thought we were maybe on the flight, so they were surprised we were from Scotland. It turned out they had flown from Prestwick airport (in Scotland) a lot which is near Troon golf course and had stayed at the same hotel there we did earlier on this year, small world. Saturday night headed into China town for a meal and a few drinks, but not too many as I wanted to keep something in reserve for game day.