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Get him Andy! August 10, 2010

Posted by Matthew Crane in Travel Log.
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As I look back to the beginning of the trip, I recall my first memory in England—Wimbledon in London (on my 21st birthday I will shamelessly add).

The seemingly-endless line early at the men's semifinals.

My first thoughts of Wimbledon are prim and proper:  linen pants with purple and gold detailing, sun dresses accompanied by oversized hats, and a glass of traditional Pimm’s.  While this was probably true for those with £500+ tickets, it couldn’t have been much less correct at all (except for the Pimm’s).  We arrived about 3 hours early to buy the general admissions tickets, which entitled us to enter Wimbledon grounds, where we could watch the game on a huge projector and cheer to the one-second-delayed picture.  After waiting in the enormous line, we wound our way around what seemed like miles of The All England Lawn Tennis Club.  However, once entering the structure, we were faced by hoards of fans just excited to be there.  I’ll confess: I was immediately caught up in the fervor.

Our fantastic view of the screen right in full view of the sun.

Apparently, while in England we experienced the most astoundingly beautiful, dry weather in years.  I imagine old farmers in a pub somewhere complaining of a drought.  As such, when we staked out a spot in the middle of the screen, on the very crest of the hill, we also happened to be sitting in full view of the sun.  The crowds that joined in around us were all our same age, enjoying the bring-your-own-food and –drink policy and loving life.  Among our many conversations with the “neighbors,” we ended up making some incredibly close friends in Dani and Matthias, a fantastic woman and two-month veteran of London from Scotland and a veritably ancient German man who had lived in London for 3 years.

A pleasantly awkward picture of us all trying to smile through the sun at Wimbledon.

I swear I can still hear the echoes of “get him Andy” if I listen close enough.  After sharing food and defending against the incredible heat for about six hours, we decided to visit their house in north London in Manor House.  Ridiculous tube construction aside, we finally made it to Manor House to enjoy a fantastic evening with friends.

Luckily, the newfound friendship would not stop there, as we got the chance to show the pair around our Oxford stomping-grounds a few weeks later.  All plans falling into place, we should meet up again when they visit the States next year.  We’ll miss you Matthias and Dani!

Dani and Matthias visiting Oxford

Catching up with our new-found friends in Oxford.

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