The interruption in this blog was due to technical difficulties…basically my computer didn’t like the last place I was staying and refused to connect to the internet, as did my phone. Both seem happier now! So I’m attempting this blog for the third time in as many days.
Bad Breisig is a small town along the Rhein. People, mostly Germans, come her for vacation. There’s a small but vibrant waterfront consisting of hotels and many restaurants. At each end of the “restaurant row” is a bike path along the Rhein which seems endless. You see bicyclists with panniers on their bicycles often, touring around from town to town. I stayed three nights at a hotel on the Rhein. The Rhein is a very busy river for commercial traffic. There are barges going up and down the river all day and night long. On the other side of the town is the railway (which goes right past the tennis club). That too is busy, both with freight and passenger trains. In between the two is a very busy road going through the city, and it’s also busy and often bumper to bumper going through the city.
On Saturday I hit with my friend Margreth Beyer who lives in nearby Andernach, and old walled city. She was the #3 seed in the tournament, though she lost today, Monday. The balls here feel very heavy and slow compared to Klosters and the courts are slower too, softer. We are using Dunlop Fort balls too, which are good balls but also heavier than even hard court balls at home. Going from Klosters’ light, dry air and 4000 foot elevation to Bad Breisig’s humidity and slow courts with heavy balls took a couple of days to get used to. It’s like going from Reno to La Jolla and from fast to slow hard courts.
Yesterday morning I hit with a club member early and then went into Cologne, which is near Bonn (the former capital of West Germany). Cologne is famous for it’s cathedral which mostly survived World War II intact. It’s right by the main train station in Cologne. I walked into the Cathedral which is large and awe inspiring with all it’s stained glass windows, mosaics, a large organ, and soaring ceilings. It was also packed with people, some taking photos, some taking a rest in the pews and others admiring the intricate design. After walking around the cathedral, I exited, walked around the cathedral and towards the Rheine where there’s a long bridge over the river. The bridge should be called “love locks bridge” for the thousands of locks coating the side of the bridge.
After returning from Cologne (hint: when looking up train schedules, take a screenshot so you know when you need to be back to the station), about an hour from Bad Breisig by train, I retrieved my rental bike and zipped by the club where 6pm matches were just starting. I found out who I was to play today and went back to the hotel.
Today I warmed up at 8am with Heide Eisterlehner, the # 1 seed here in the 65s (and the #1 player in the world in that division). Then I played at 9am against Olga Markova, with whom I’m going to play doubles this week. I played her in the final of the Karlovy Vary tournament in June. This time she started a little better, but I adjusted (even served and volleyed several times…her drop shot is wicked, much easier to hit if I’m already at net) and won 61 61. I play Brigitte Friedl from Germany, who beat Susanna Schweda, the #4 seed (and a semifinalist at the recent world championships) 62 64. She’s a good player and it will be a tough match tomorrow. Margreth lost to to a Czech player who plays Nora Blom tomorrow.