Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympics tickets

Way back when the UK won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, we decided that we would take advantage of it being in our hometown and go to see it.  We hadn't actually set a budget at that stage but, both of us had reasonably well paid jobs, so we had agreed that we would be prepared to spend quite a lot on tickets in order to get a great experience.

Of course, by the time the ticket sales process actually came around, we were already in the throes of being made redundant, had taken the decision to go travelling, and were planning our first year away.  We considered forgetting about the Olympics and saving the money, but quickly dismissed that thought.  After all, if part of our plan for travelling was to be in places when big events were happening so that we could be a part of them, why on earth wouldn't we take the opportunity of our own home Olympics.

We spent hours planning which tickets to apply for in the ballot.  We applied for our permitted twenty sessions each, but decided to try to maximize our chances for our ten favourite ones by both applying for them.   Unlike a lot of people, we weren't bothered about going to the opening or closing ceremonies.

Rather more predictably, we were keen to see some athletics, and also fancied the swimming, track cycling and gymnastics, so probably like the majority of other applicants, they formed the bulk of our application.  But we also included events like equestrian, BMX biking, hockey, table tennis, water polo and badminton, which we thought might be generally less sought after.  And of course we wanted to try to go to some finals, trying to get a balance of our personal favorite events with those where Team GB had a chance of making it into the finals and maybe even winning a medal.

In terms of price, we decided that if we were going to have a decent chance of going to some good events, we had to be prepared to spend a lot of money, and set ourselves a shockingly high budget of £5000.  And then because we knew that we had no chance of getting everything we applied for, we actually applied for £16,000 worth of tickets.  If we had by any freakish accident got them all, we would have had to put a lot up for resale, but we figured and hoped that if it came to that,  people probably would buy them.

It took us a long time to decide on price bands for the events.  We eventually settled on a mix of some only in the lower bands, but going up to the mid to high levels for those we most wanted to see.  We drew the line at any of the £300 plus tickets though.

When the results were announced, we ended up with just one pair of tickets each.  Initially we were disappointed, but as we spoke to others, we soon discovered that a lot of people didn't get anything.  And we were lucky in that the tickets that we did get are for athletics finals.  They are in the higher price ranges, so we are paying a lot for them, but we were thrilled that we would be getting to see some fantastic events within the stadium itself.

I know that the ballot process was tricky, and that it was disappointing for those who didn't get anything - lets face it, we were hoping to get more than we did so I understand that.  But I did think it was rather sad when I heard that some people I knew were actually resentful of the fact that we had got a pair each and they had got nothing.  I could see why they might feel that way if they had applied for the amount and value of tickets that we had, but these are people who only applied for a few, and only at the cheapest prices.  That was always where the competition would be strongest.  They wouldn't be prepared to spend what we have on the tickets, so it seems odd that they begrudge us having done so.  Happily, most people didn't react that way, and I am pleased to say that most people I know who really wanted to go along to something did eventually manage to get at least one set of tickets.

Although pleased with the tickets we had got, and content to use our leftover budget to offset what we overspent on in our first year away, we did still think it would be nice to try to get along to another type of event too.  And, after a lot of time on the Olympics website and many unsuccessful attempts, we finally managed to buy some tickets to the gymnastics.

So we have ended up with four sets of tickets.  Our gymnastics tickets were for the ladies all round team final that was on Tuesday, and the men's individual  all round final on Wednesday.  We had a great time at these, which I will do a blog on soon.

But we are even more excited about our athletics tickets for next week.  For our first day we will be seeing the mens' 200m final, 800m final, triple jump final and the last two two decathlon events (javelin & 1500m), as well as the ladies' 800m semis, 4x400m round one, and the javelin final.  On the second day we will be seeing the mens 4x100m relay round 1, 4x400m relay final and the pole vault final, as well as the ladies' 4x400m relay round 1, 4x100m relay final, hammer final, 1500m final, and 5000m final.  I have no idea whether we will actually get to see any Team GB athletes in these events, though I think we have a reasonable chance in a few of them, but it should still be an amazing couple of days.  And if we see a Team GB medal then all the better.

But regardless of whether you have tickets, are watching events on one of the big screens, or from the comfort of your own home, I hope you are all thoroughly enjoying the 'greatest show on earth'.

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