May 24th was a day packed full of activities from start to finish. Our first activity was the Wimbledon tour, so we headed to Farringdon Station for our first tube experience. The tube is exactly the same as the El or subway in Chicago, but I think it was much more organized in London. First of all, most stations seemed to have a set traffic pattern- people walked in a certain direction depending on if you were on the right or left side. It’s all pretty much mumbo jumbo in Chicago. They also were much cleaner and graffiti-free (that could very likely be due to preparing the city for the 2012 Olympics). The downside was most lines were not air conditioned (you’ll notice this becomes a pattern in London).
Anyway, we soon arrived at Wimbledon and began the tour. Everything there seemed to be perfected, so much that it kind of seemed unreal. But it was literally perfected… they trim the grass on the courts in one millimeter increments! It’s crazy the amount of detail that goes into every single court, and really every part of Wimbledon. The job of the security guard in the picture below is to watch the grass. And you thought you had a boring job!
Don’t even think about touching the grass or there will be consequences, guaranteed. Our tour guide mentioned multiple times at each court we went to how important it is to not touch the grass, and each time she said it I wanted to touch it even more. Crazy human brains. We were lucky enough to get a photo of the Wimbledon sign below just before they took it down. For The Championships they replace the sign with a huge screen so the people on the green can watch the matches.
The picture below is the court where the longest match ever was played. It was played between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut and it lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. It was played over a time period of three days (June 22-24) in the first week of The Championships 2010. After a long and competitive match, Isner finally beat Mahut.
After the tour was over we got a chance to walk through their museum and learn even more. I played tennis throughout high school and I never ever thought that one day I would be standing inside Wimbledon seeing all the courts where the best tennis players in the world have played. They had a poem in the museum: “If-” by Rudyard Kipling. I’m not much of a poem person, but I love this way the poem makes you think about life through parodies. I think the parodies are a great way to make you think about how the little things in life truly can make a difference.
After the Wimbledon tour we had to head straight to the Tower of London since we were running late. A few of us decided to do a guided tour of the Tower from a Yeoman Warder, also known as a beefeater. Historically, beefeaters are guardians of the Tower of London. They would watch over the crown jewels and any prisoners at the Tower. Our tour guide told us all sorts of different stories about events that happened in the tower… mostly beheadings. We got to learn all about the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII that he beheaded. After the tour ended we got a chance to see the crown jewels. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the rooms with the crown jewels. When you see all the jewels on display it’s like you’re watching a movie where some old buried treasure is discovered. Everything is sparkling and you can see the reflection of all the jewels in everyone’s eyes. We enjoyed the crown jewels so much that we just had to take a peek in the crown jewels store afterwards. Tempting, but definitely unaffordable!
Next we had to head back to the flats to get our tickets to whichever play we were seeing that night. I quickly changed and grabbed a sandwich that I ate on the way to the tube. I chose to see Billy Elliot and I am so glad I did. It was amazing and all the kids were so talented!
After a long and exhausting day we went back to the flats to relax before calling it a night.