the witzs go wimbledon.

IMG_1913Getting There.
So, if you have known my family for about thirty seconds, you know that our life has revolved and evolved around tennis, since…well since forever, really. While I do hold the title of weakest link inside our family that still doesn’t discount my love the sport, not by a long shot. And even though I have now pretty much lost my ability to know the score of a match, while only half watching the game, tennis still ties for first place in Ashley’s ranking of favorite spectator sports. (Tied for by the NBA…obviously.)

I say all those sentences to say this one… It was no coincidence the Witzs found themselves in London the week of my favorite grand slam. And as luck would have it also during the men’s quarterfinals. This event itself was an experience all it’s own, completely separate from London, so keep on reading!

Although we had the option to buy tickets through the Wimbledon ticket lottery back in April, they were for the week prior to when we wanted to go. So, we gave them up and chanced getting them online 48 hours before our much anticipated Wimbledon Wednesday commenced. And… the site sold out before we could even click submit. That left one option, get up early Wednesday and queue.

British Language Lesson 101:
Word:  Queue
Noun and Verb. Means to stand in line and the line itself.
Noun Example:  The queue (line) starts here.
Verb Example:  We queued for three hours before we got in.

Now that I have boosted your international lingo knowledge, let’s continue on…

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We adventure guide, Linda! 

By early, I mean we left our North London flat at about 5:30A and took the underground the one hour ride to Wimbledon (which is also a suburb, and an incredible nice and expensive one at that). Nearing the end of our tube ride, God provided us with an amazing blessing, Linda. She overheard us discussing where to get off, and let us know we actually needed to get off one stop before. And from there we made a friend that neither Christopher nor I will ever forget. We  ended up asking if we could just follow her, as she had been coming to Wimbledon since ’94. From there this retired elementary teacher and die-hard Roger Fed fan (I didn’t hold it against her) stayed with us all morning as we queued. She not only let us know what to do and what to expect, but she answered tons of our questions about English culture and daily life in England. Turns out, we are all a lot alike!

Although we just know her as “Linda No Last Name,” we could tell you her life story and she could tell you ours. She was a gem and she definitely helped mold our Wimbledon adventure into a unforgettable one!

Let the Queueing Begin.
So, queueing is something that if you don’t mind waiting outside and just hanging out, you should do at least once. At Wimbledon if you don’t have tickets, you show up the day of and stand in a field across the street from the complex that is set up to look much like a (American) football field. There are white lines with numbers up and down the field and when you get to the entrance you get a queue card and take your spot in line. But since the doors don’t open till 9:30A and you get there at like 6:30A, it’s a bit of a wait. 🙂

So, to help with the wait they have coffee stands and food vendors onsite. They also sell newspaper for five pounds that includes either a canvas Wimbledon bag or an outside blanket to lay on. We randomly had a guy come up and give us his blanket, so Christopher, Linda, and I all hung out on our blanket, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and talking about American v. English culture until it was time to go in. Time flew. We loved every minute of waiting. Weird, I know because I have never said that before.

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Resale Queueing

Friends Are Everywhere.
Once we got inside the complex, we only had grounds tickets, which doesn’t get you onto any “major” court. So, we went and got in the “Resale Line.” From here you can get Centre Court tickets for ten pounds and Court 1 tickets for five pounds, once an original ticket holder leaves. This line is really laid back, especially if you make friends, which you know we did. 🙂 We all took turns watching each other’s stuff so we could each walk around and watch random, mixed doubles matches, go grab some food, and catch the disappointing Murray defeat from the famous “Murray Mound” (or Henman Hill, depends on your era).

Sarah and Nathan were a couple we met, who were caught between him loving Fed, and her pulling for Djokovic. And I can’t forget Ismail and Yusuf. Our two 19-year old friends, with plans to come to Dallas next year to visit a friend who studied abroad at their secondary school. Once they reached Dallas they planned to do a road trip to Wilmington. I tried to explain how incredibly random that particular route was… but they didn’t care. They just want to come and see the States. Ismail was hilarious. He is obsessed with all things American, especially American football. And everything he knows about American football, comes from you guessed it, movies! Kid loves him some Jerry Maguire.

Needless to say, all these guys made our day so much fun! We hope Ismail and Yusuf will pit stop in Memphis next year on their way to Wilmington, if they do make their epic road trip happen… we will see!

Okay guys, I’m sorry, but I hate long blog posts and this one is already SO long. I included the sub-headings to make it easier to read and hopefully not seem so lengthy, but yeah I don’t really think it worked. So, hopefully you just skimmed around and enjoyed yourself! Needless to say this is going to be a two-parter. Up next… life inside Court 1.

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Holiday in London

Well, as most of you know Christopher and I conquered the first item on my bucket list last week….London! And while I have no doubt that I could write you novels upon novels about the trip… where we went, what we ate, who we saw… for this first one, I will try and keep it pretty brief and beautiful.

IMG_1850Favorite Sights:
On our first day Christopher and I ended the day with a sunset loop around the London Eye. While some may tell you it’s not worth it and honestly it is quite a lot of money to make the one loop, thirty minute journey, around the wheel, we loved it. It might have been that we were lucky to go at sunset and actually see a sunset (if you don’t know, London is quite rainy), but the view was spectacular and a perfect way to kick off our eight day excursion!

Christophers’ Favs:
If Christopher were writing this post, I have no doubt that we would tell you his favorite spot was the Palace of Westminster also known as the Houses of Parliament. Since you cannot take photographs while inside, you won’t find any snapshots of us inside this gorgeous creation. However, I can tell you that neither one of us were expecting the grandeur and vastness that this iconic palace offers. Let me just say  that the English Parliament is definitely not going to work everyday in anything short of stately exquisiteness!

A very close second for Christopher was Windsor Castle. Windsor is stunning and massive. Literally I think the small town I am from is near the same size. TheIMG_1902 Grand Reception Hall and Knights of the Garter Hall are sites to behold and firmly illustrate the elaborate, detailed, and truly grand life you imagine the royals lead. Neither of us have ever seen anything quite like it, so it was a highlight, for sure! And just to note, the Queen’s main living quarters, don’t even make up half of the castle. Yikes!

IMG_1903Ashley’s Favs
While I was also awed by the beauty and massiveness of Windsor, I was also quite captivated by what Kensington Palace had to offer. While structurally and decor-wise, it doesn’t hold a candle to Windsor, I was in love with what it held. As you may have seen from my photos Kensington currently boasts a Royals Fashion Exhibit, showcasing iconic clothing of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana. I was in heaven to say the least. I spent almost thirty minutes looking and re-looking at their most decade-defining gowns and dresses! Kensington also held rooms and rooms of Queen Victoria’s life, including her wedding dress, her children’s toys, and diaries detailing thoughts on meeting her would-be-husband, Albert. It was priceless!
Side note:  The current Queen Elizabeth is just a year and half away from beating Queen Victoria for the title of longest reigning English monarch!

My number two was The Borough Market. Yep, this one probably isn’t on any top ten things to do in London (I don’t know, it might be), but well, it should be. IMG_1974It’s a farmers market on steroids and I was both delighted and enchanted by it. Massive fish of every kind, cheese blocks bigger than your face, crates and crates of bright, fresh fruit, and….ice cream. Yes, ice cream. The best I have ever had. We went back twice to this little gem, Bath Soft Cheese. (But the second time we went we got strawberry, so I looked at it as a serving of fruit.) If in London, a trip to the Borough Market is a must in my book. Just taking in the experience is worth it and your stomach will think you are nothing short of a hero.

Up next Wimbledon. Yep, it gets it’s own post. So, until next time…Happy Holidaying!

But in the meantime…here’s a few other photos to share…
Please note two things…
One – It rains it London almost every day, so my raincoat was not the only shirt I brought, I promise.
Two – Our day at Windsor and Kensington started with me spilling my coffee all down my tank. So, please forgive my sad attempt to look put-together as we toured the wealthiest of establishments. It was two bus stops and tube ride back to my suitcase, so I had to wing it…

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On Tower Bridge.

 

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Inside/Atop Tower Bridge.

 

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Don’t worry HP fans…it’s still here! Millennium Bridge

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Kensington…Ladies thank Queen Victoria for the white wedding dress. She was the first to do it… and look what she started. Also, QV was only about 4’11 if you couldn’t tell. Hopefully she stashed some heels somewhere!

 

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Guard at Windsor Castle.

 

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Lunchin’ at the famous Anchor. There has been a pub in this spot since Chaucer’s era! It’s also the locale for the final scene in Mission Impossible!

 

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Christopher at Eton College. Lots of “if only” scenarios would have had to have happened for us to go here. Well, starting with me needing to be male. This is where Prince Will and Harry went, along with pretty much every other prime minister, except the Iron Lady (for obvious reasons).

 

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River Cruise on the Thames!