Friday, March 13, 2009

Mocked by Henry VIII

Wednesday was a closer to home kind of trip -- we saw Hampton Court and tennis courts. The palace was great, probably because right when we walked in one of the workers asked if we wanted to wear a robe for the day, for "the experience." That wasn't even a question. Once we were appropriately dressed we looked through all the state apartments and paintings inside the castle. We tried to go to Henry VIII's marriage ceremony (the Catherine Parr edition), but it turns out it's all big trick to get you to take a tour from some enthusiastic (too enthusiastic?) medieval tour guides. Then when you think you're about to go to the wedding, Henry comes in with this "I'm King" attitude and yells at your tour guide about how he only wants family at the wedding. Then they just kind of leave you hanging but we were still wearing the cool robes so that helped the disappointment. We ran into Henry and his pretend brother-in-law later (who also wasn't invited to the wedding). We started talking, and I jokingly told him that his tantrum towards our tour guide was a little harsh. He didn't even respond, just made me say the word harsh a few more times. Apparently I say it like a pirate, according to King Henry. I guess it only makes sense that British people get entertained by American accents once in a while, since I still love listening to theirs.

We left the palace to take a two-hour tour of Wimbledon. I didn't know they could make a two-hour tour out of tennis courts, but they sure did! It was really cool, too. We went through the press conference rooms, announcer rooms, prize collection rooms, into the stands and around the courts. Centre court is closed, though, until May because they're putting a retractable roof over it. That was a little sad, but the rest of it was still really cool. Here are some Wimbledon numbers to take in: 574 players, from 75 nations, 678 matches in 13 days, 15,000 tennis balls, 19 courts with 32, 913 seats, and 447,126 spectators. Oh, and tons of pigeons of course, but they let hawks come in the day before it all starts. Sad...

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