- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

After four days of little sleep and constant migraines, I woke up yesterday finally feeling my normal self. I have learnt my lesson. Before jumping into a job like this it’s best first to get over the jet lag. Covering the World Cup looks much easier on paper, but the travel is tough. One seasoned American reporter I met in Frankfurt already wanted to go home.

The little garden house I’m staying in must be in the Bethesda of Hannover because the houses here are just stunning, and I’ve already found a great jogging path through a wooded area.

• I mentioned how nice I thought Hannover was to a young World Cup volunteer at the local stadium, and he seemed to disagree.

“This city is like a fish without flesh,” he said. “The Allied bombers destroyed it, and only a few buildings remained, so it was mostly rebuilt. I think it’s bland and dull.”

“If you want bland and dull,” I said, “You should check out most American suburbs.”

• American defender Steve Cherundolo, who plays for the club Hannover 99, is well liked in town.

“Everyone in Hannover loves Stevie,” said Jens C. Schulzse of MagaScene magazine. “He’s an American with a lot European style.”

• I have to admit I was a little nervous the other night. It was way past midnight. I was looking for an Internet hotspot in the main train station to file my story, and there were a lot of well lubricated English fans in the station loudly celebrating the team’s win over Paraguay. There was no trouble, but I could well understand the fear these hordes could bring to a sleepy town.

• Today will be another chance to ride those wonderful German trains that speed over 155 mph. I’m off to Gelsenkirchen to check out the American team. What a joy!

John Haydon

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