I have a feeling that I’m a bit of a boring traveller. My sister has got an extremely unattractive photo of me reading an info wall on bells at the Bell Tower in Perth. Bells, for God’s sake. (But they were interesting! Some of them came all the way from Buckingham Palace!)
So this time I’ve decided to not be boring, and go on a themed trip. What I find boring is people at uni who ‘go to Europe’. There’s nothing in particular they’re after, they just ‘go to Europe’ cos that’s what you do when you are at the age where you can qualify for student rates and don’t really need to worry about leaving a full-time job. What do I love? I love sport. In particular, I love the Olympics. For two weeks every four years, I am glued to the TV, watching random sports such as equestrian and handball. For two weeks I am an expert on diving, and love the fact that my country overachieves so much in sport on the world stage.
I am from Melbourne, the self-proclaimed sporting capital of the world. I really want to see if that’s true. I want to see which cities, like Melbourne, regularly fill their Olympic Stadium (and if it in fact is still in intact), and what these sites say about their cities. See, I am boring.
This trip will tick off a large number of (summer) Olympic cities. In a rough order, I’ll be visiting Tokyo (1964), London (1908, 1948 and 2012), Paris (1900 and 1924), Barcelona (1992), Rome (1960), Athens (1896 and 2004), Munich (1972), Berlin (1936), Stockholm (1912 and 1956), Amsterdam (1928), Antwerp (1920) and Helsinki (1952). Already visited are Melbourne (1956), Sydney (2000), Los Angeles (1932 and 1984), St Louis (1904) and Montreal (1976). Cities remaining will be Mexico City (1968), Moscow (1980), Seoul (1988), Atlanta (1996) and Beijing (2008).
If you chuck in the Winter Olympics, I’m aiming at seeing Oslo (1952), Innsbruck (1964 and 1976) and Turin (2006) to go with Calgary (1988). If we’re really stretching it, I’ll see where the Commonwealth Games were held in London (1934), Cardiff (1958), Edinburgh (1970 and 1986) and Manchester (2002), to go with Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Edmonton (1978), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006). And while we’re at it, I’ll cross off a few FIFA World Cup host countries in Italy (1934 and 1990), France (1938 and 1998), Switzerland (1954), Sweden (1958), England (1966), Germany (1974 and 2006), Spain (1982) and Japan (2002), to go with the USA (1994).
First stop? The host city of the Games of the XVIII Olympiad. Let’s hope nine years of learning Japanese will get me out of the airport.