- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 10, 2006

After a horrendous daylong journey from Baltimore, I’m at my base camp here in a quite-leafy suburb of Hannover. I’m staying in a delightful garden house on the property of a friend. It would be ideal if the place had water, but alas, time has done its damage to the old pipes. Still, I have my own little pond with goldfish outside, and there are flowering bushes all around. Water is available up at the big house, so I feel like I’m on a camping trip.

• I waited for the media bus outside the train station to take me to the World Cup stadium, where American defender Steve Cherundolo normally plays his club soccer for Hannover 96, but I somehow missed it or it failed to show. I found my way on the local tram. It’s a very long walk from the tram stop to the stadium, which is barely seen because it’s surrounded by trees. The stadium blends in with the surroundings. It doesn’t stand out like American ballparks.

• And life’s not cheap here. A small plastic cup of coffee cost me $2 at the spacious media center, which is housed in a public swimming pool. To get internet access at the media center for the duration of the event would cost more than $500, so I desperately searched for T-Mobile Internet hot spots in downtown Hannover. I found one in the train station in a posh lounge for first-class passengers. I didn’t have a train ticket but after flashing my media credential I was allowed in. And guess what — there was free coffee. What a joy!

John Haydon



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