Shock at Wimbledon 2012

The Wimbledon Championships are a sporting highlight of the year. Each year I tune in hopeful to see Andy Murray, the British number 1 make it to the final. This year, though I was more surprised by a match that I watched featuring Rafael Nadal and Lukáš Rosol.

Who is Lukáš Rosol

Exactly what I was thinking before I saw his amazing match on Thursday evening.

Rosol, from the Czech Republic blew Nadal out of the water with his thrilling tennis skills and ultimate composure. Nadal didn’t know what was happening. I don’t think I have seen a ‘newcomer’ play with such conviction in a long time (if ever). Rosol started a little nervous – and not surprising when playing one of the tennis greats. But, the first set went to a tie-break, and a close one too… Nadal won it, but was to be shocked when Rosol went on to take the 2nd and 3rd sets.

Shock!

Nadal fought back in the fourth and won it relatively easily. It was going to go to go the distance. A fifth set loomed. Surely, Nadal had it in the bag…

Rosol broke Nadal and kept up the big hits. Ace after ace and such precision! I was in awe! I couldn’t believe how accurate and how well he played. Lukáš Rosol had the look of a winner in his eyes. You could how much he really wanted the win.

Nadal out.

Rosol had done the unthinkable – and won!

Who would have predicted that the World number 100 could knock out Nadal? Not me. But I am pleased. I like the underdog to do well – but I also like Nadal out of the way – as Murray would have faced him in the semi-finals.

Image from Clive Rose/Getty Images

Here’s Rosol after his historical victory.

Below is the score line.

Via Wikipedia

What will happen next?

How far will Rosol get in the championships?

Will he go head-to-head with Murray?

Will Scotland leave the UK?

Tensions between Scotland and London have been hotting up over recent months. The question about whether Scotland should split from the rest of the United Kingdom is not a new one. It’s also not a question which can go unanswered for much longer.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing that the question of independence be put to the people who will be affected. I would however prefer for Scotland to remain as part of the UK. I don’t see many benefits for an independent Scotland or a smaller UK within Europe with the current economic troubles.

I saw this referendum voting slip. Of course, it’s just for fun, but I do like it.

On a serious note, there have been strong debates over what the question will be. Will it be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to independence or will there be a compromise; a semi-independence. I hope not. I think it should be ‘in’ or ‘out’. Too much hangs on it.

What will happen to the rest of the United Kingdom without Scotland? Will it still be called the UK? Some say yes, some say it cannot. What will happen to the Union Flag? The blue (from the St Andrew’s flag) will disappear…

Will Scotland enter the Euro? Will Wales and Northern Ireland also seek independence?

Countries dividing is nothing new in Europe. It wasn’t that long since Yugoslavia split into other countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc) and that Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic and Slovakia. It just feels weird that this time it could be my own country, the UK, splitting up.

The future of the UK looks set to be interesting over the next couple of years.

What do you think should and could happen?

“Take your shoes off when you we go to bed”…..said the waitress.

That’s what the nice waitress from the Czech Republic said to me. I was expecting a drink – not an invitation to bed.

“If you could just take of your shoes when we go to bed…” I had to do the double-take…. The ‘sorry-did-I-hear-that-right’ look… I was stunned and then I realised that it was ‘all part of the experience’.

I feel I should explain – I was with friends. Yes, I was taking 5 friends to bed with me too! BED is a great cocktail bar in Prague. It was discovered quite by accident after a long day of walking and city exploration. Tucked away on the quieter corner of Prague’s main square the bright white and pink sign stood out and we were instantly attracted (like flies to the light). Inside everything looked hip and trendy. There was a very cosmopolitan feel to the bar. We were keen to enjoy a couple of cocktails before moving on to another bar. That was the plan – but when do those plans ever work out?

Here we are - just ordered our cocktails.

There were no chairs and tables in BED. Everywhere you looked were huge lounger-beds with people laid flat-out or snuggled together (shoes off) and enjoying their drinks. We were escorted led down a spiral staircase to the brightly lit basement. (This all sounds so much worse than it was. It was not a dodgy bar. It was very nice and bright). That’s when our waitress told us about ‘going to bed’. We slipped our shoes off, giggled a bit – It all felt a bit strange (it doesn’t happen in most place of course) and then we hopped on to the huge mattresses. The walls, floor, beds, sheets, tables were all white. The lighting was blue and it gave the place a surprisingly warm feel. The music was great. Chill-out lounge – we loved you!

The chill out beds - just before people arrived.

 

Easier to climb down that up, after a few cocktails.

I can see why the place is so popular. Why don’t more bars do this? It was so comfortable. We lay back and stretched out. Our bed could have easily accommodated about 8 people (or more). We looked at the cocktail menu and ordered. This was the life! Pure relaxation.

About 3 hours later – all plans of ever moving on to another bar had gone ‘out of the window’. We were staying here. It was too good a place to leave. We had watched other groups and couples arrive and give the same puzzled looks as they de-shoed and hopped onto a bed.

Loving my mojito!

I love to go out and enjoy an evening with friends. This bar will stay in my memory for its individuality. If you’re ever in Prague you must take a look.

BED in Prague. A must see!

You might also enjoy reading:

Bring Me Back to Bed (look, someone else has been and loved it too).

The John Lennon Wall: Prague

Visitors at the Lennon Wall.

One of the most surprising places to visit in Prague is the John Lennon Wall – sometimes known as the Lennon Wall or the John Lennon Peace Wall. If you ever get the chance to go to Prague, don’t miss the opportunity to spend a few minutes here. It’s very close to the Charles Bridge.

Here I am at the Lennon Wall.

It is a colourful, ever-changing, graffiti-covered wall that really captures the eye and the imagination. I was lucky enough to have read about the wall in my Everyman MapGuide prior to arriving in Prague – I was so glad that I did read about it.

A tribute to the Beatles.

Situated on Velkopřevoské Square, the wall stretches approximately 20 metres. The original portrait of Lennon is long gone now, lost under layers and layers of spray-paint. Over the years, visitors continue to add lyrics from Beatles tracks, message of love and peace and their own names. I spent quite some time reading the things written. I could have spent a lot longer there – every time I looked I noticed something else.

Lennon? Why John Lennon? He wasn’t from the Czech Republic, so you would be forgiven for being confused. I was confused too.

A new portrait of John Lennon (but for how long?)

Well, the answer to that is that Lennon was a symbol of peace and a hero to the pacifist youth of Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian era. Before 1989 there was a ban on western pop music, especially songs by Lennon, which praised freedom. After Lennon’s death his portrait was painted on the wall, defying the authorities. From that moment the wall became a symbol of peace and freedom. There are also claims that the wall helped inspire the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia.

One of my favourite shots.

Peaceful poetry.

I want to know who these people are... Love it.

All You Need Is Love.

Captivating.

Prague: Czech it out.

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic is a stunner! A weekend trip there just is not enough. (My visit was #2 on my list of things for 2011). I checked my camera today and saw that I had taken 194 photographs in two days! I really couldn’t capture it enough. My camera is attached to my hand at all times.

Here is a snap-shot of picturesque Prague.

(Click on the picture to enlarge).

I stayed very close to the centre. Literally 5 minutes from our apartment and we were at the central Old Town Square. Prague is conveniently close to the airport. The transfer taxis are great value! It was also quite strange visiting a European country without the Euro (and that’s coming from a Brit).

I loved the Charles Bridge (in one of the photos). I came home and wanted to do a little research as to why people were touching the plaques. I found out that:

One statue receives a great deal of attention from both Czechs and foreigners; this is the statue of Jan Nepomucky (John of Nepomuk), who was thrown from the bridge in chains. The base of this statue has two bronze plaques, each well-polished by thousands of hands touching it. The belief is that touching the plaque portraying the martyrdom of John of Nepomuk is lucky, and that the person touching it will return to Prague. Many people make wishes when they touch the plaque. (Thanks to BlogKingWencelas for the info).

Now I wish that I’d touched it too – instead of taking so many pictures. Hey ho – who needs luck?

More to come about Prague. I had many more discoveries in that great city! I think I may need to revisit this summer.