Campers Brave British Weather to See Olympics

Selah Hennessy
LONDON — At this year's Olympic Games in London, sporting fans are finding a way around one of the biggest expenses: the hotel.

In a pricey capital city like London, camping is just about the cheapest way to see the Olympic Games.

Ten campsites have been set up around the city. A few-hundred campers had pitched up tents.  Evening was setting in and many were going about their daily chores: washing pots and pans, making their tea and eating their dinner - under the open sky.

Alternative Lodging

Fred Baker and his wife came to the Games from outside London.  They are staying for the duration of the Olympics, which he says has its ups and downs.

"We had a very heavy thunderstorm yesterday so we were a bit wet underfoot," he explained. "But now we are enjoying it, and when the sun is shining it is really nice."

Many of the campers are volunteers at the Olympics.  Earning just $40 a day and with the cheapest London hotels more than doubling that cost, camping is a good alternative.

Keith Regan, 21, normally lives about 300 kilometers from London and is in the city as a volunteer.  It is his first time camping and he says he had to get some help setting up his tent.  But it is all part of the fun.

"I just meet loads of new people, have a bit of a laugh and it is quite comfy actually.  It is no different from being in a hotel: Oh well, a bit," said Regan.

The campsites were set up by a group called Camping Ninja.  Chief Executive Geoff Vaughan says people from all over the world have been pitching camp, including from Germany and South Africa. 

"When we looked around it was very expensive to stay in the Olympics.  The hotel prices were skyrocketing and we realized there was a huge gap in the market for people to be able to come to London, stay, and visit the Olympics,"  Vaughan said.

And he says the campers do not have too bad a time of it: They get access to hot running water, a bar, and 24-hour security.  Plus they are right around the corner from the Olympic Games.

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