My dad is a huge sports fan, and as sports were pretty much the only thing I ever saw on TV as a kid I’ve inherited this love, although I’ve narrowed down the addiction to just Formula 1 and the NFL (American Football). Last year I treated my dad to a visit to London for the Pittsburgh-Minnesota NFL game at Wembley stadium for his birthday/Christmas, and this year he decided to return the favour for the Detroit-Atlanta game. As he’s a little less organised/decisive than me, we ended up with a bit of a luxury package this time around – seats in the premier seating area and a stay at the Hilton London Kensington! I wasn’t complaining 😉
Dad had a very early start on the Saturday as he was flying down from Scotland, whereas I’d been visiting friends in Cambridge and left there at a sociable hour after a leisurely breakfast of pancakes. Somehow though (I’ll blame it on winter sun and excitement), I was the one with a splitting headache by the time I made it to London! Thankfully it cleared up a fair amount after some lunch, water and painkillers, and we made it to Trafalgar Square in time for the fan rally, which was good fun, and got to briefly meet one of the main UK-based faces of NFL, Kevin Cadle.
As you can see we were supporting the “home” team, the Atlanta Falcons – Dad’s #1 team is the New York Giants and I’m a “Cheesehead”, aka Green Bay Packers fan, but we have family in Atlanta so we’re fond of the Falcons too. They ended up losing to Detroit right at the last moment, but it was a really exciting game throughout and we really enjoyed it.
When I go away I often try to spend as little on travel and accommodation as I can, because it’s the seeing new places that I love and I’d rather go on as many trips as possible than spend money on fancy hotels… but with that said, I still really appreciate quality, and the Hilton London Kensington definitely has that. The staff were not only attentive but seemed genuinely friendly, and we got chatting to a few other guests, some of whom were real regulars and wouldn’t really consider staying anywhere else because the service there is always spot-on.
We didn’t travel back to our respective homes until the Monday evening, so as well as our NFL fun we had time (and perfect weather!) for a little sightseeing. Despite my best intentions, I seem to always end up just loitering in Covent Garden and/or Hyde Park whenever I have free time in London – I find Covent Garden so unique and entertaining, and after a short amount of time amongst the hustle and bustle of London I need the tranquility of Hyde Park – I’m still a country girl at heart! But this time I was proud of myself for visiting some new places, although poor Dad did suffer a teeny tiny temper tantrum from me as they were so crowded! We went to Westminster to see the Houses of Parliament and the Abbey, and to the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppies which were gradually “growing” there in the run up to Remembrance Sunday. I’m glad we saw them, they were beautiful and thought-provoking, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a crowded place, and the Underground station was so busy I decided to walk to City airport from there, since it was such a lovely day and I had plenty time, and judging from the map it looked close by. After walking for an hour I realised my mistake and found another Tube station! 😉