Klára Novotná – Klára?s trip to England
I decided to go to England with my sister Tereza (who is five years older than me) because of one simple reason: she is studying at university in the USA and she is in a cross country team there. One member of her cross country team comes from Britain and she lives in Chelmsford (twenty minutes away from London). Her name is Kimberley. So that?s why Tereza asked her if we could stay at her place and if she would like to spend some time with us. She answered yes.
Day 1 ? 1st July
We flew from Ostrava on July 1st at 8:45 pm and we landed at 9:55 pm at Stansted airport. Kimberley picked us up at the airport and took us home. She introduced us to her parents and after a little while we went to bed. Kim lives in a small typical house with two floors, kitchen and living room on the first level, and bathroom and bedrooms in the second one. Kimberley has an eight year old brother and she is twenty.
Day 2 ? 2nd July
In the morning we went for a run and in the afternoon Kim took us to see the centre of Chelmsford. We can say it is a small town next to London, but it has 300 000 inhabitants, – that?s three times more inhabitants than Hradec Králové. It has a beautiful cathedral. For dinner we went to a restaurant called Nando?s, where we met Kim?s best friend ? Kat. She is a hairdresser and she is going to spend the next year in Australia.
Day 3 ? 3rd July
Day 3 is the day of Oxford. We took a car (I have to say it is very curious to drive on the left but Kim was driving, so it was OK). It took us 2.5 hours to get to Oxford. First of all we had a run, which was pleasant because we saw the parks, the river, etc. After the run we had a picnic in a park in front of Christ Church Cathedral.
Because it was the University Open Day, it was possible to visit the colleges and speak to students. The first college we visited was Christ Church, where students of this college were waiting for us and one of them made a tour with us. He showed us where the students live, the library, the canteen (that looks as in Harry Potter) and – what was the best – he answered all our questions about how does it work at this university. Than we visited two more colleges. St. John?s College is the biggest college at Oxford and is really attractive, but I liked Christ Church more. The last college we visited was one of the smaller ones, Balliol. After that we went home and in the evening we had a dinner made by Kim?s father before watching a film.
Day 4 ? 4th July
We woke up, had a breakfast and were excited to visit London. Kim went of course with us. We drove to the nearest underground station (Epping) and there we continued by tube to the centre of city. We had a good luck with the weather. The sky was blue, without a cloud, the sun was shining and it must have been about 25 degrees.
So we had a perfect day, walking through London and visiting sights ? St Paul?s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, etc. Here I have to mention we have a friend of ours, Mat?j, working in London. He had gone there a month before our visit to London, so that we agreed to stay at his apartment. We met him at Piccadilly Circus and went for a picnic in a park. It was very pleasant because we hadn?t seen him for a long time and we introduced him to Kim and it was a perfect chat.
After this Kimberley had to go home because she could not have left her car parked at Epping but Tereza and I continued to Matěj?s apartment. He was living in a house with another nine people, all round the same age as Tereza and him. It was quite an international apartment because there were two people from Germany, Matěj from the Czech Republic, then some people from Scotland, etc.
It was very interesting to meet such people – for example one of the Germans was Nina. Her life story was quite impressive, because she working there for an architecture company. She was there just for three months (she had a normal job in Germany but she was very talented so they asked her if she would like to come to London). Nina told us she had already hitchhiked through Italy, Spain, France and now she was going to hitchhike through England. She took a map, encircled the places she wanted to visit and just went there. She was hitchhiking alone which was unbelievable. It was very inspiring evening.
Day 5 ? 5th July
The day of departure – First of all we had a run along the river Thames and we saw London Eye and Big Ben with the Houses of Parliament again. After this we came back to the apartment, said goodbye to everyone and made another sightseeing trip. We had a whole day ticket for buses and underground, so we sat upstairs on the bus (where is the best view) and we were changing the buses a lot. This was fun because we didn?t know where each bus was going, so we saw the London Eye about five times or so, going there and back all the time. I have to admit we got lost a little bit but after all we found the right underground station, said goodbye to London and continued to Epping.
The day before we had arranged with Kim to take us to the airport. So she was waiting for us at Epping with our luggage. We drove to Stansted, said goodbye and thanks for everything to Kim and flew back to Ostrava.
I have to thank you so much for creating this kind of competition, because I would have never made a trip like this and I think it has given me so much. I have unforgettable memories, new friends and an experience of life in England.
We are learning English at school – studying grammar, speaking, etc. But it is always totally different to visit an English speaking country and make yourself understood. You are not at school there, you are alone and you work with what you have learned.
You cannot imagine this staying at home and it was an honour for me to be one of the winners of this competition and have the opportunity to visit England.
MARIE VOSEČKOVÁ MY WIMBLEDON TRAVEL DIARY
London in June, tennis on the grass, Wimbledon!
London is really a city of tennis by the end of June. When you come to the tube, you see Maria Sharapova?s face everywhere. When you come to a restaurant, Andy Murray?s last match is probably on TV. British people love traditions and Wimbledon is one of the most important ones.
I spent two days in Wimbledon. I only had one ticket, so I stood in the queue on the first day. Let me tell you something about queuing. It?s long, it?s annoying, it?s exhausting and British people love it!
The queue is very well organized, no one is trying to jump it – it?s not even possible, as you get a queue card with a number when you come. I was queuing for 5 hours, but I must admit it?s not so tragic after all. Fortunately the weather was really good on that day. And you cannot take the weather for granted in London.
Finally, I got in! It was day 2 of the tournament. With a ?20 you can?t go to the centre court or to courts no. 1 and 2. That?s why it?s good to be there for first round matches, because you can see some very high-seeded players playing on the outside courts. And I saw many players, including Lukáš Rosol of the Czech Republic, the Frenchman Gael Monfils and Petra Cetkovská, also from my own country.
I love the organisation of Wimbledon because it?s possible to get to centre court even without a really expensive ticket. There is tradition of resale tickets. They scan tickets of people who are leaving the Wimbledon grounds and sell them for 5 pounds. The money goes to charity. You must stand in the queue again, but it?s not like the first one. That?s how I managed to get to the evening match of Ana Ivanovic on court no.1.
My second day was much better. It?s a big difference when you have the ticket and just go into the grounds without queuing. And the second day was enriching for me. Thanks to help from Lady Milena-Grenfell Baines who presented the travel awards at my school, I met Jaroslav Kirchner, a Czech journalist. I glimpsed a different side of Wimbledon for a little while – the side of journalists and players.
I don?t want to bother you with all the matches I saw, but I can?t skip one or two. I saw Tereza Smitková playing on second round. This was a really great experience for me since she is exactly two years older than me, and, more important, from Hradec Králové, my home town. The other match I want to mention is the match between Novak Djokovic and Radek Štěpánek, played on centre court. This match was sold out, but there is Henman Hill with a big screen where you can watch what?s going on centre court. The atmosphere there was absolutely stunning. The match was amazing with people cheering for Štěpánek who played exceptionally well. . This is probably my strongest experience from Wimbledon. And at the end of the two weeks my compatriot Petra Kvitová was the winner!
To sum up, I would recommend everyone to go there, if you are a little interested in tennis, just to feel the atmosphere in the air. Everything is white and green in Wimbledon, everyone is eating strawberries and cream. Don?t hesitate, just go!
I must not forget about the city of London. I took a really long walk one day, about 28 km, but it was just amazing and was probably the best way to discover London. By walking you can discover places you cannot imagine, not just famous places. I?d like to pick out these three places I saw.
Hyde Park – this big green space has everything you need for a rest, a very good thing since London is a very, very overcrowded city. You can hide here if you want to!
Tate Modern – a gallery in a very modern style. I saw very interesting exhibition ?Henry Matisse: the cut-outs?. There was also a book he wrote called Jazz. Every second page is an illustration but I must admit I was more interested in text.
?Un nouveau tableau doit ?tre une chose unique, un naissance apportant une figure nouvelle dans la représentation du monde. L?artiste doit apporter toute son énergie sa sincérité et la modestie. ? (?Every new piece must be original, birth which brings new point of view to the world. Artist has to bring his whole energy, his honest and humility.?) This book is really fascinating for me because I am always very interested what is going on in heads of artists.
The British Library – a place for studying. The Library is situated close to King?s Cross station and here you can see dozens of students working hard in attractive and modern environment.
I also visited the well- known Nike junior international at Roehampton – a tennis tournament for juniors. I saw the finals and the level of players was more or less same as in the Czech junior championships – Pardubická juniorka. This Tournament is played at the British national tennis centre where I counted nearly 50 courts, including all types of surfaces. Most of players continue on to the Junior Wimbledon Championships to utilize their hard work.
I?m very grateful to have this opportunity to travel to London. I hope I have not wasted a single minute there.
My special thanks are for Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines and for Mr. Peter Jackson. They provided me with an occasion for spending an excellent day at Wimbledon and meeting Mr. Kirchner. The travel awards are a wonderful idea and I hope that future students at Gybon will have the same opportunity.