We were lucky enough to get tickets for the swimming finals in the Aquatics Centre in the evening. We planned to arrive early so we could explore the Olympic Park and soak up the atmosphere.
Despite been nearly being blown off our feet by some strong gusts of wind on arrival, there was a great feeling of excitement engendered by the smiling faces of the Games Makers as we made our way to the entrance from the Stratford tube stop.
A cheery Games Maker kindly offered to take a photo of us outside the Aquatics Centre. As you can see it was a wee bit grey and windy but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits!
Once inside I naturally headed to one of the smaller London 2012 stores to buy myself the obligatory souvenirs, in my case a t-shirt and fridge magnet. Andy was content with a program as his souvenir. Glad that we didn't go to the Megastore after I saw the long queues for that on the telly!
It looks like a giant theme park ride and I'm sure that the view must be amazing. The lift takes just 30 seconds to reach the viewing platform which is 85 metres high.
If the weather allows, you can enjoy a self-guided walk around the beautifully landscaped waterways of the Olympic Park. The Parks is surrounded by meadows, trees and flowers.
As you can see in the photo above, the skies were very threatening and they finally unleashed their burden. We made a quick dash to the Aquatics Centre, which fortunately just had just opened, not before getting a quick soak though!
The first race was the Men's 100m Backstroke - S6 final. This was won by Tao Zheng from China in a World Record time - what an exciting start to the evening! The next race, the Women's version of the preceding event, was also won by Chinese competitor, Dong Lu, again in World Record time. Neither of these gold medallists had arms and Tao used his head to stop - truly amazing stuff!
Great Britain also got their first swimming medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S6 race, a silver for Nyree Kindred who is married to British Paralympic swimmer Sascha Kindred. She was the first British competitor in the pool that evening so you can imagine the roar as she came home to take her silver.
Schoolgirl Hannah is only 16 and sat her GSCEs earlier this year. She had been aiming to compete at Rio 2016 but her natural talent and hard work had enabled her to compete in London. Hannah took silver in the Women's 400m Freestyle -S12 and I later read that, because she has a visual impairment, she didn't actually know how she had placed until she got out of the pool - though the reaction of the crowd gave her a hint that it might have been something special.
Now, despite being verbose on here, I am not what you would call a loud person. I found myself joining in with the crowd yelling at the top of my lungs (and being drowned out!) as Jonathan drew towards the finishing line in the Men's 100m Backstroke - S7 final. The noise was deafening and my ears were ringing afterwards as Jonathan saluted the crowd.
Hard on the heels of Jonathan's victory was a gold for Australia from Jacqueline Freney in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S7 final. Jacqueline, who was born with cerebral palsy, set a new Paralympic Record.
Subsquently I got to sing my second national anthem of the evening in quick succession, strangely enough most of the crowd around me didn't seem to know the words to Advance Australia Fair...
One thing we were surprised by was the amount of empty seats. We estimated the the Aquatics Centre must have been around 80% full. Considering the trouble that I had actually getting hold of the tickets, I felt for the people who had missed out on being there. I have quite a few friends who had tried for tickets without success.
The situation was made worse by spectators heading off early so that the last round of victory ceremonies were held in front of a half full stadium. This must have been pretty disappointing for the medallists, though I have to say the noise level seemed to remain the same - extra loud!
We approached the journey home with some trepidation due to the sheer number of people who were leaving. In the event, the only delays were as we both stopped to take pictures. We got straight onto the Jubliee Line without queuing, both a got a seat and waited about four minutes before the train left the station. Then it was straight onto the overground at Waterloo, seated again - a very smooth and easy journey home.
If you are wanting to go to the Paralympics then I would highly recommend it - a truly moving and inspiring event. Keep an eye out for ticket releases on the official London 2012 website - you never know - you just might get some!