A fairy tale story... Courtney had this great idea to go to Wimbledon. I had always watched Wimbledon growing up but never thought about going - it just never seemed realistic I guess. However, this idea didn't seem too far fetched when Courtney mentioned it seeing as how we're only a short, short plane ride away. Before we bought our plane tickets we realized what we were getting ourselves into...a weekend of no sleep, one expensive Centre Court ticket! (57 pounds! = $114), and no other sightseeing. With much excitement, we booked our flight to London! *fast forward to departure day, June 27th* We left Friday after work on a late flight, 9:35pm. We were scheduled to arrive at Stansted airport just in time to make it through customs, hop on a train and catch the last tube towards Wimbledon Park. We had only small backpacks (regulation size to take into the park) so we wouldn't have to wait for our luggage to come through on the luggage carousel. However, little did we know what it was like flying with easyjet or what a crazy place the Stansted airport is at night! Our flight was delayed about 1/2 hour, no biggie but we'd really have to be on top of everything once we arrived in Stansted. However, once we arrived in Stansted, ready to run, we were crushed by the huuuuge line for customs. We ended up waiting to go through customs for what seemed like hours but ended up being at least 1/2 an hour. Between the flight delay and the customs line, Courtney and I caught a train into London knowing that we would have to figure out the bus system because the tube stations would definitely be closed...On the train from the airport into London we met a super nice gentleman from Italy who called the tube station to confirm that we were indeed closed and to get info on what bus we should take (even though we had printouts from journeyplanner.org). Then, we realized that the couple next to the Italian guy were heading to Wimbledon Park as well. The girl grew up in Wimbledon Park area and she and her boyfriend are now English teachers in Munich. We had fun getting to know them and they were very nice and helpful. He even paid for one of our bus tickets because the bus driver would only take exact change and all Courtney and I had were our big bills because we had just gotten pounds at the airport. After getting off the bus we caught a taxi (b/c that's what everyone had told us to do to make sure we got to the right place for the Wimbledon queue). We were so excited because we were so sure that there couldn't be that many people in the park at 3am (yes, we didn't make it to the park until 3am). We knew we would be happy as long as were within the first 1500 people, ensuring our tickets for centre, 1st, or 2nd court (they sell 500 tickets per court each day). When the taxi dropped us off at the front gate we jumped out and told the ladies we were there to join the queue for Wimbledon tickets! They looked at us like we were crazy and said "I hope you weren't wanting show court tickets because there's over 1500 people in the park." Courtney and I looked at each other, crushed. What were we supposed to do now? The lady told us that there wasn't much point to sleep in the park unless we didn't have anywhere else to go, which we didn't. So, Courtney and I took our tickets, 1634 and 1635, and headed towards the end of line. Everyone had tents!! We only brought a tarp to put under us and were hoping there was enough to wrap it around and over our heads because it was starting to rain. When we found our place at the end of the line there was a guy just laying there with a newspaper over his head. At this point there was nothing we could do but start giggling. We laid our tarp down and were talking about how we couldn't believe how many people were already there when some more people came to join the queue. These two guys had clearly never pitched a tent before so Courtney and I gave them a hand, then went back to our tarp. The next morning, we met Jeremy, the guy who had the newspaper over his head. He was from New Zealand and had come to London for a a 3 week holiday. While slowly making our way to the park, Jeremy told us about resale tickets, something the girls at the front gate had also mentioned. Once inside the park there was another queue for resale tickets. You just had to wait in line for someone to leave one of the show courts and drop off their ticket in a special box to be resold for 5 pounds!! So after being woken up at 6am to start the walk to the courts, which took about 4 hours, we were ready to join another queue in hopes of getting show court tickets. After learning who was playing on what courts that day I knew I wanted to see Venus play on Court 1 and Courtney wanted to see Nadal play on Centre court. Once you make it into the park there is a chain preventing anyone from going too far into the park until an announcement is made at 10:00. At this point, the guards hold the chain and walk you up the hill, no running! As soon as the let the chain go everyone started running in every direction. I had taken Jeremy and Courtney's bags so they could run to the resale ticket line and hold our spot in line. Unfortunately, this was the first year that they gave out numbers to the first 30 people and nobody knew about that. So, Courtney and Jeremy got good numbers but I was a little further back since I had taken our belongings. At first it looked like there was no way I would be able to "jump" the line and I decided that I didn't want my Wimbledon experience to be standing in queue after queue. So, Jeremy and I decided to walk around because he was also not interested in sitting in a queue all day. I saw some of the players warming up, took some goofy pictures, went onto Centre court and court 1 to take some pictures. At this point Jeremy told me about how a guy staying at his Bed&Breakfast had gone onto Court 1 a few days before to take a few pictures and had gotten to stay to watch the game. Venus was playing in the first match on Court 1 and I decided this was worth a shot! If nothing else, I just wanted to see Venus in person!! When the time came, Courtney and I were walking around and decided to ask the guard at Court 1 if we could go in and take a picture or two. Venus was warming up and I was so excited to be there in that moment! Then the guard called Courtney over and I thought he was going to tell us we had to leave...instead he asked how we'd like to stay to watch the first three games. Courtney told the guard to ask me because I was the huge Venus enthusiast and of course we were so excited!! Even better, we got to sit in a box - the equivalent of what Venus' family was sitting in on the other side of the court just across from us!!! After the first three games, Courtney and I looked each other and looked for the guard to see if he was going to make us leave. He walked over towards us and our hearts sank because we knew he was going to tell us we had to leave. But NO he asked us if we were having a good time, winked, and walked away!! So we got to stay!! I ended up staying and watching the entire match! FOR FREE!!! Courtney left a few times to go check on our spot in the queue for resale tickets (before this we had asked the people around us how they felt about me joining Courtney in the queue - they had no problem with it!). After watching Venus' match I was content and Courtney and I went back to the queue line. Shortly after this resale tickets started getting turned in. It got to the point when there was only one person in front of us and a pair of tickets for Centre court came up! So I told Courtney to take the ticket and go with the guy in front of us and I would text her when I got in. Before Courtney had even left the queue area a single ticket for Centre Court became available. I yelled for Courtney, bought the ticket (for 5 pounds, compared to 57 pounds for the original ticket!), and switched tickets with the guy so that Courtney and I could sit together. We then happily made our way to Centre Court! The first match had taken so long on Centre Court that the second match of Kiefer vs. Murray was just beginning. Following that match was Nadal vs. Haas. So all in all I'd say our luck was impeccable!! and we had an unforgettable, unbeatable Wimbledon experience!! and I would like to point out that Venus and Nadal became the 2008 Wimbledon champions the next weekend and I can say that I saw both of them play!! Our trip home was as adventurous as our trip to Stansted...we spent the night in the Stansted airport and then the next morning our flight was canceled several times -- about 2.5 hours worth of delays. Once we made it home, I showered, and turned around to go back to Munich with Sebastian, Terri, Lisa Marie, and Laura to go to the Olympiapark that turned into a Fan Stadium for the EuroCup championship game --- Germany vs. Spain. Unfortunately, Germany lost and the huge, noisy, rambunctious crowd was quiet as thin air as we emptied the stadium.
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