Today was our first sporting event, Beach Volleyball. It was about time we found out how the journeys to Olympic venues functioned and what kind of experience visitors had throughout the process. We had to leave at 7am, walking first the 10mins to the tram and then taking it south to the water venues in the south of the city. First problem – the tram is delayed and both we and one of the volunteers for the beach volleyball venue have to give up. She advises us to take the bus, which is just arriving. At the end of the line, we change to Tram 2, which takes us north along the coast. Arriving at the beach volley venue, the surroundings look unfinished, but it could be that these spacious areas look strange when there are few people present and they are really geared up to deal with big crowds at peak times.
There were no queues at the venue, we could easily have arrived much later. The food and drink was not overly expensive and it was easily accessible at this time of day (around 830am). The stadium was less than half full, so we are able to sit anywhere we like within our section. We easily access the front row and have a great view for the entire morning. If you ignore the fact that the ambiance of beach volley is a little masculine – note the ‘fun girl’ dancers at time-outs – there is a cool, relaxed feeling about the place. The competitions take place with music throughout and a DJ. The matches went well. Spain won the final match, which pleased Beatriz!
The session finished around 1250pm and we then walked across to the sponsor park (the Water Plaza), where Swatch had a range of stands, including ‘serving spots’, where you could serve a volleyball and see how fast your serve is. Other sponsors were also visible, particularly the Visa ATM machines – oh yes, if you are visiting the Olympics, don’t forget that official retail outlets only take VISA cards or cash. If you want to use any other plastic, you will struggle!