Her birthday gift to me was a tea, so it was fun to cash it in! I had a pot of my new favorite tea, Lady Grey, and we all shared a scone with clotted cream and a slice of Victoria sponge cake, Britain's version of a vanilla birthday cake.
Once we were fueled up, we set off for some more walking. First we stopped by the Nottingham castle, home of the famous Robin Hood statue.
Nearby, we also saw the oldest bar in England. It is built into the side of the hill that the castle sits on! Apparently Nottingham has a lot of man-made caves.
From there, we walked over to the west part of town to scope out Taylor's torch route for the next day. I'm glad we did this with Taylor, so that we knew exactly where to stand! Didn't want any surprises on torch day.
After we had a good idea of where we needed to be, we started the long walk back to her flat. It was definitely a day of walking! We strolled along the canal for a few miles, and saw her usual run route.
We also happened past her church! So neat to see all of the places that Taylor frequents.
By this point, we were pretty hungry. We headed for the same pub where we watched the England game last week, and met up with her dad for dinner. I had a burger with mushrooms and cheese, and chips (fries) - channeling Mom's usual order! Then it was off to bed to rest up for the big day.
Thursday morning, we tried to sleep in but Taylor was up early - I think she was getting nervous and excited for her run! I was getting nervous as well, because it absolutely POURED all morning. Didn't the weather know that we had important plans for the day?
By the time Taylor got ready to leave for her pickup spot, it had lightened up a bit - we were hopeful that we had seen the last of the rain, but you never know with England!
Once I saw Taylor off, I walked over to her parents' hotel a little before five to catch a taxi. Taylor was scheduled to run at 6:11pmBST and we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get there and get in place. When we arrived, the streets were fairly empty. Her spot was in a residential neighborhood, not downtown in the city center. But as we got closer to start time, more and more people came out to line the streets.
Finally, a little before 6pm an Olympic bus filled with torchbearers pulled up and let Taylor off at the corner. They handed her her torch, and she got ready to wait for her big debut!
She was quite the celebrity for those few minutes, talking to the crowd and taking picture after picture. One guy must have posed with her for ten or more!! Finally, we saw the lead police escort coming down the road - it was go-time. And there was not a cloud in sight, praise the Lord.
Practicing her UK three goggles!
The girl before Taylor lit her flame...
and she was off! My plan was to run up ahead of her to get some good pictures and video along the way.
She was booking it! That adrenaline definitely kicked in. But she looked excited and happy, waving to the crowd. She even managed to represent the University of Kentucky with the 3-goggles.
Finally, we reached the end as Taylor lit the girl's torch after her.
And just like that, after 3 or so minutes, she was done! The bus scooped her back up and I walked back to meet her parents.
From there, we hopped a cab over to the Nottingham Playhouse, where the bus was dropping them back off. She arrived minutes later, to a crowd of friends and family!
What a moment, what a day. After they removed the lighting mechanism from her torch, she got to take it. We joked that she was never going to put it down! More people came up and asked for pictures - quite the celebrity. I think she should open a little museum in her house back home!
By this point, we were starving and didn't feel like fighting the crowds in the city center for dinner. Luckily, the playhouse had a cafe on site! We got some pizzas and salads to share, and then headed home to finish packing and grab a few hours of sleep.
The next morning, we were up bright and early and headed to Dublin. But that's a story for another day! Cheerio for now. (I like that sign-off - maybe I'll just keep it?)