Fanmeile was selected by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache as the “Wort des Jahres” (Word of the Year) in 2006.

The word Fanmeile is used to describe an area where fans of a large sport event can gather to watch it on large screens.  It became popular when such areas were set up for Euro 2006 in major German cities.  These areas were intended for people without tickets for the matches, but ended up also being events in themselves.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Here’s a fun sport to try out: Speedcabling.

The idea is that you try to untangle a jumbled up mix of computer wires, and do this against the clock.  The first competition of this kind has been held in Los Angles, the article reports.

It’s the sort of thing that I often do for my customers – labelling all the cables and them removing them all, only to replace them with a much neater arrangement, preferably using new, colour-coded cables.

But once I remember doing this in the server room of a company with about 50 employees.  I spent an entire Saturday morning re-wiring all the patch fields to make the system more presentable and understandable.

Another time I had to remove old network cable out of the ducts in the wall, and back then this was so-called BNC-cabling, where everything was joined to one big circuit – not like the structured cabling used today.

Again, I spent several hours trying to rescue as much cable as possible to be able to re-use it later.  But sometimes there was not other way than to cut through it, especially where the plugs had been attached after the cable had been put through specially-made holes in the wall.

So how would I fare in a speedcabling challenge?  I think I’d be pretty good.  When the sport makes it Europe, maybe I’ll have a got!

How to find tickets for sold-out events

Once arrived in Germany, you will probably start to think about what to do in your spare time. A look in the AllThingsGerman Calendar is a good place to start – but also in the local newspapers.

Major cities like Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Cologne often host concerts from major singers whereas smaller towns are more likely to host comedians or lesser-known groups in their halls.

Of course, there are also sports that take place each week – for example, there are major and minor football teams throughout the country, with Eintracht Frankfurt being my personal choice – but teams such as Bayern München or Borussia Dortmund having an enormous following.

The trouble is, when you first arrive a lot of these events are sold out for the next few months. Indeed, writing in September 2007 and taking a look in the local paper, tickets are currently being sold for events in December or even into 2008.

So what do you do if you hear about an upcoming concert? Where do you get concert tickets for an event that is apparently sold out?

Well, first spare a thought for those people who have bought tickets early, and are now for whatever reason no longer to go the event that they have been looking forward to for so long. The fact is, that they may well have the very theatre tickets that you are looking to buy.

This is where a site called Viagogo comes in. Viagogo matches up event tickets between the people who have them and the people who want them.

The system offers a place to buy tickets for concerts, the theatre and sporting events from other people who are unable to use them.

A look at their website shows the diversity available. There are rock concerts, festivals, country, jazz; tickets for musicals, operas and play; the football tickets cover not just the 1st Bundesliga but – unusually – also the 2nd as well.

Why not look up an event near you and see which tickets are available – go and make some new friends in your new town!

A word about the charges to expect: when you buy a ticket on the site you will be charged a service fee and the cost of the postage. The service fee is to cover costs.

As for security – the sellers have to validate themselves. Viagogo guarantees that you will get the tickets that you have purchased on time and without problems, otherwise they will either replace the tickets or give you your money back.

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