About Rub-a-Dub, Baked Bean, Sausage Rolls and 007

About Rub-a-Dub, Baked Bean, Sausage Rolls and 007

Dried up lawn, no rain, and temperatures around 30° Celsius – That’s how London presented itself to us at the end of June. The all England Lawn Tennis Club opened its door at Wimbledon for the Lawn Tennis Championships for the 129th time (if I counted correctly…). Everything was set for an unforgettable five-week stay at the UKs’ capital. And it delivered.

2015-07-04 05.59.32The Story about the worlds’ most famous queue at Wimbledon

It is the most important tennis tournament of the year, rich in tradition and an unforgettable experience for the spectators as well as for the players. The crux: only around half a million people are actually able to attend on site during the 13 days. Two third of the tickets are sold in advance or given to VIPs. The rest, some 10.000 tickets a day, are sold on match day. Only a few of them however are valid for one of the three biggest courts, the rest will only give access to the facilities. This leads to a weird situation. People would camp for two nights in front of the entrance in order to receive centre court tickets. As I wasn’t prepared to do that I took the first train to Wimbledon at 5a.m. and arrived at the queue half an hour later, in joyful anticipation on spending a great day watching world class tennis. I got a queuing-ticket (yes, such a thing really exists) and found myself anywhere but close to the entrance with the number 7056. During the next seven hours I made new friends and studied my fellows. Just after noon it was eventually my turn to get in, exhausted but lucky.

2015-07-08 16.16.11The Story about the Tube Strike

On July 8th and 9th, London’s streets appeared to be hosts of a new apocalyptic movie. London’s heart stood still. All major “Tube Unions” were striking. The polite Londoner would show acceptance for the union’s demand, but yet swearing behind closed doors. Newspaper would mention that salaries of tube drivers were already higher than the salary of most Englishmen. Politicians were urging for a quick solution. Twitter was running wild. It all didn’t help, the stations remained closed.
I decided to avoid this chaos and took a day of, playing tennis instead.

DSC_7836The Story about going out

One thing that I personally like a lot is the fact that the night life starts after the work – which means at 5 p.m. One of the reasons might be that the tube stops its service after midnight and the night busses sometimes tend to be, ähm, interesting. Another reason is that the majority of the pubs have to close between 11 p.m and midnight. Whatever the case may be, the result is that you’ll be home at a very convenient time which is perfect for someone who likes to sleep (like me).

2015-07-11 17.49.04The Story behind 007

In the James Bond movies the double 0 stands for the “licence to kill”, however, the original inspiration of 007 is dated back to the 16th century and belongs to John Dee: Spy, mathematician and astronomer for Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. According to the legend, he signed his reports to the queen with 007 – 00 representing eyeglasses, 7 standing for his seven senses. Yes, he really thought that he has seven: The five common ones supplemented with intuition and prophecy.

2015-07-26 16.24.53The Story about the Emirates Cup

A short story, a prediction, and only interesting for football fans. On the last weekend in July, Arsenal hosted the Emirates Cup, composed of four teams playing two games each: Arsenal (obviously), Vfl Wolfsburg, Olympique Lyon and Villareal. Arsenal won the cup, not at least because of an impressive 6:0 win over Lyon. And here comes my prediction: After more than 10 years without winning the Premier League, the gunners will end the 15/16 season on top of the league.

2015-07-10 16.45.10The Story about Cockney Rhyming

Are you still wondering about the heading? Don’t worry, most people do.
Originated in the 19th Century at the East End (by criminals as some people state), these bizarre rhymes spread over London and still causes confusion among tourists (and perhaps also locals). Actually it’s simple. Words are changed by proper names or word combinations which rhyme with the original word. “Hair” turns that way to “Barnet Fair”, “Money” to “Bees and Honey”. Barnet Fair – Hair, Bees and Honey – Money. Our teacher at Stafford House, Mark, loved to use such expressions. And here comes the solving for the headings enigma: Rub-a-Dub – pub, Baked Bean – Queen, Sausage Roll – goal. Or in other words: About pubs, the Queen, goals and British history. And if you are interested in pictures, here we go.

From Berne to Lisbon – by plane

From Berne to Lisbon – by plane

Not with a night train but by plane, yet inspired by Pascal Merciers book. Leaving Switzerland on a cloudy pre-pre-summer day and arriving in a warm Lisbon, a city I wanted to get know for a long time.

Panorama Sao Jorge und BaixaAnd yes, it is a beautiful city, despite economical and emigrational issues. It has the right size to discover most places by foot, but if you prefer public transport there are plenty of busses, subways and trams at your disposal. Oh yes, and ships which cross the river Tejo. Even though I’m wondering if one couldn’t name it a “lake” or even a kind of a fjord, considering its size.

DSC_7527We stayed at an Air BnB close to the castle and, almost, on top of one of the many hills. That doesn’t just sound like a lot of hiking and climbing, it is like that. At least if you missed the “elevador”, elevators which would bring you a little easier on top of the hills.

The city was clean and vivid with lots of tourists, hence, many locals trying to sell you things. And with things I mean drugs. And with drugs I mean teabags pressed like hashish and flour packaged like cocaine. On one day I was counting eleven young men who wanted to sell these things. A simple “no” is accepted though, and they will even wish you a nice stay. We didn’t meet any pickpockets and in four days we were only asked twice for money. Both times in the subway. We felt very secure and the Portuguese we met were very friendly. Even the car drivers were stopping in front of a crosswalk and would let us crossing the streets.

DSC_7649We had a great stay in Lisbon and would recommend the city to everyone, particularly to people who like old cities, oenophiles – wine lover, and fans of the Mediterranean climate.

Some more impressions can be found here.

Good Morning, Vietnam

Good Morning, Vietnam

What a journey. Starting in Hanoi, we made our way through Vietnam, heading south towards Ho Chi Minh City. UNESCO World Heritage sites along the way, astonishing rice paddies, friendly locals, cheap and tasty food, white beaches, tropical heat and one of the most interesting histories of the post world war II time. I was overwhelmed with impressions and a month fly past with a single blink. Our main stations along the way were Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc Island.

DSC_6981Monsuun Season? – No, made a break during our stay.

DSC_6436Road Traffic? – Yes, it’s exactely like everyone tells you.

DSC_6664Landscapes? – Very diverse, very dramatic, very cool.

DCIM102GOPROFun Factor? – I’ll give it 10/10. Yeah, definitely 10.

Whould I do it again? – When does the next plane leave?

You don’t belief me? Than check out the pictures!

Flying visit to Prag

After the tourism experts compulsory week in Berlin at the ITB me and three friends of mine stopped on our way back in Prag. Lovely weather and huge steaks for 8 Euros: Everything the heart desires for a two-day trip in early march! Find a few pictures online here