Still Want To Go To The Olympics? Have An Extra $100k?

Olymic RingsTravelers hoping to attend the Olympic Games in London probably should have booked their hotels and bought their tickets months ago. After all, the opening ceremonies are tomorrow and events are already starting to ramp up. But if you’re the kind of person who puts everything off until the last minute, and you have a spare $100,000 burning a hole in your pocket, there are still some luxury options to be had.

Members-only travel site In The Know has partnered with private jet charter PlaneClear to deliver a London travel experience unlike any other. Their five-night Luxury Olympics Package includes a private jet to the U.K., shuttle service in a Mercedes S Class vehicle, accommodations at the exclusive Belgraves hotel and a personal 24-hour concierge.

While attending the games, travelers will also be allowed to select tickets of their choice to some of the most popular events, including gymnastics, swimming, diving and more. They can also choose to either attend three events with the best seating possible, or five events with “second tier” seating. The package also provides access to an Olympic hospitality tent, after-hours parties, leisure activities and more.

It is difficult to put a price tag on the experience of a lifetime but in this case someone has. Prices for these luxury packages start at a staggering $97,500 and can be booked by emailing info@flyplaneclear.com.

Your private Gulfstream or Challenger aircraft is standing by to whisk you off to London today.

Empire State Building Lights Up With Olympic Flag Colors

empire state buildingHere’s to the Olympics! New York’s famed Empire State Building is honoring nations competing in London by shining its world-famous tower lights in different colors each night to match the country’s flags. Each of the tower’s four sides will be illuminated in different colors throughout the night for each night through August 12.

This marks the second time ESB has split the tower’s sides with four separate countries’ lights in its history. The building has been lit with colored lights since 1976.

The lighting starts this Thursday with the North and South side representing the USA and the East and West sides representing Great Britain. For a full schedule, you can visit the Empire State Building’s website.

London: 10 Fun Non-Olympics Things to Do

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London is in a state. At this point in the labored lead-up to the Olympics, many Londoners would probably tell you, if pressed, that they would prefer that their city not be hosting the Olympics in the first place. The tenor of the local press has been largely negative – sluggish immigration processing at Heathrow, security firm screw-ups, anticipated traffic and public transit delays, and a general crankiness have all contributed to the overall mood. Of course, many Londoners are looking forward to the big shebang, which begins on Friday. They’re just quieter about their feelings.

Beyond the Olympic pageantry, London is still London. This week, the city is actually threatening to be glorious, with summer appearing finally to have arrived. Here are ten suggestions for taking advantage of summer 2012 in London: new amusements, old standbys and summer specials.

1. Ride the Emirates Air Line (£3.20 with an Oyster Card; £4.30 flat fare). Opened in late June, the Emirates Air Line sails across the Thames in East London, traveling a distance of one kilometer at a maximum altitude of 305 feet. It’s gimmicky but fun – literally a cheap thrill.

2. Eat at Shrimpy’s. Reservations at the sister restaurant of Bethnal Green’s fantastic Bistrotheque have been tough to get, which is no reason not to try to get in. Tip: The bar seats walk-ins.

3. Go to Bristol. Bristol is a cute, hilly city, right next to charming Bath but with much less expensive hotels, about an hour and 45 minutes from London by train. Advance round-trip train tickets can be purchased for as little as £20.

4. Take an Unseen Tour. These tours, led by homeless and former homeless Londoners, reveal corners and aspects of the city that don’t make it into most tourist literature. Most tours cost £10.

5. Visit Broadway Market on Sundays. East London’s best weekend market sells fresh produce, artisanal organic food and various essential hipster lifestyle goods every Saturday; during the Olympics, the market will also operate on Sundays.6. Enjoy free entertainment. Through the end of September, More London Free Festival, a popular festival will provide free quality amusements at the Scoop. Through August 5, the focus is on theater, with performances Thursday through Sunday. Music takes over as primary focus from August 8 through 31, with free performances Wednesday through Friday.

7. Take a nap under a tree at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. This beautiful park with plenty of tree cover is a stone’s throw from Soho. Best of all, it can be nearly empty on weekend afternoons.

8. Look at photographs. Another London, an exhibition of international photographers capturing the capital, opens Friday July 27 at Tate Britain. Admission is £10.

9. Walk Regent’s Canal. Start at Limehouse and walk until you’re ready to rest. The canal’s path is particularly lively on weekends. It passes through some of London’s most dynamic neighborhoods, too. Stop at Towpath Café in Hoxton for a delightful snack.

10. Find summer inspiration elsewhere. Tired of London, Tired of Life is a wonderfully suggestive blog with daily activity ideas. Londonist is good, too.

[Image of Regent's Canal: Ewan-M | Flickr]

Video Of The Day: Ramadan Iftar Feast, Olympics Edition


Tomorrow, July 20, thousands of Muslims will wake up around the world and begin a month-long fast for the occasion of Ramadan. From sunrise to sunset, they will abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking, while breaking the fast with lively Ramadan iftar feasts at night. This year is special as it will coincide with the London Olympics, and UK mosques will be welcoming people from all over the world from every faith (or lack there of) to join in the celebratory feasts. If you are visiting London, you can learn more about the Ramadan holy month or join an iftar. You can visit www.iftar2012.com for more information.

If you’d like to share your travel photos or videos with us, add them to the Gadling Flickr pool or post a link below.

View Art By Olympians In London During This Year’s Games

art of the olympians While we all know Olympians are excellent at sports, there are many that are apparently also skilled artists. Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery, a gallery based in Fort Myers, Florida, features art created by former Olympic superstars. Luckily for those attending this year’s Games, Art of the Olympians will travel to London from July 25 to August 13 for the 2012 Summer Games to present a free public exhibition.

Art of the Olympians is a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire visitors “through the power of art, sport and the Olympic ideals.” Started by four-time consecutive Olympic gold medalist in discus, Al Oerter, the initiative is now driven by more than 70 international Olympic artistic athletes. Today, the organization is run by gold medalist track and field legend Bob Beamon.

The exhibition will feature Olympic memorabilia, artwork by Olympians and opportunities to learn about an athlete’s personal journey.

To see some of these sport-inspired pieces done by Olympic athletes, check out the gallery below.

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[Image via Art of the Olympians]