Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tour De France - La Finale 08

Visiting Paris in a more leisurely manner for two days, rather than the day trip last year, avoided the need to get up at the crack of dawn to get the first EuroStar to Paris! So this time it was a cab to St Pancras International rather than Waterloo now stripped of the the "international" tag. The last time I visited the Eiffel Tower I was 8! I remember we'd been on holiday in the France, and learnt that Lord Mountbatten had been blown up by the IRA earlier that day while we stood on the tower - not quite like remembering what I was doing when Kennedy was shot... The tower was a great excuse to switch to my recently acquired fish eye lens
Then to the reason for being in Paris on that particular weekend - the traditional laps of the Champs-Élysées. Even getting to the course at 11 in the morning only secured a second row position - those at the front had been there a couple of hours already! First the caravan of advertising - no less bizarre from knowing what to expect from the previous year.
Then after hours in the baking sun the riders arrived - and before the second last lap I got lucky and someone in front of me had to leave and I got a precious place on the railing...
Hours of standing and a small dose of sun burn - a small price to pay for a enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wimbledon - Ladies' Final Day

From Wimbledon 2008
Wimbledon Tickets on Ticket Master must have been a reasonably well kept secret - at least until Gentleman's Final Day! My refreshing of the page at 8:30 when the tickets where supposed to be put on sale turned out not to be needed - there where still tickets on sale the next morning - hours before the scheduled start time... by the time I got home on Saturday night after a great day of tennis, all the tickets for what turned out to be a momentous, if rain interrupted, men's final, had gone in less than 90 minutes.
The day started with a quick journey from central London to Wimbledon - when public transport works it really works. Then entry with my self printed ticket, that some might have paid a fortune for on eBay, with my passport to prove it was me that put my name to the ticket, was simplicity itself. Within an hour of leaving home I was watching an invitation doubles match on No 2 court with Liz Smylie and Nathalie Tauziat against Sabine Appelmans and Hana Mandlikova.
Then to centre court for the main show. Three finals on Centre Court - the Williams sisters on to start, then probably closest match of the day - the Gentlemen's doubles and closing out day the Williams sister again - this time on the same side of the net against Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur. Centre Court is a great venue - 15,000 seats and everyone with an uninterpreted view of the court.
So I'll be ready on Ticket Master for next year, and maybe I'll take a laptop with me if I'm lucky enough to get tickets to the final Saturday, so I stand a chance of getting tickets for Sunday.