Saturday was another warm and sunny day in Germany. Jenny Cerf and I practiced early (8am!) because the club had a lot of team matches in the afternoon and was very busy. Even in the morning, by 9 am there were dozens of children on site, for field hockey and would be more for tennis in the afternoon. Some of the best kids would be selected to get scholarships to the club. There was also boating going on and by the time we left around 10:30 the club was packed and cars were parked for blocks on the sidewalks. We had trouble even exiting the parking lot since it was only wide enough for one way driving.
After a late breakfast at the hotel we drove to the club in Dusseldorf where the ETUF club (ETUF is the club where the Essen tournament is taking place) was playing its last match of the regular season (at the DSD Dusseldorf e.V). The team needed to win at least one individual match to qualify for the Germany team championships in September and Dagmar Anwar at #6 had just finished as we walked up. We stayed and watched Carole DeBruin, Sabine Schmitz and Lyn Mortimer win their matches. The format for these team championships is 6 singles (2, 4, 6 lines play first then 1, 3 5 to follow, 2 sets and match tiebreak, then doubles after with the same format). It’s the most important tennis competition in Germany and there are all different levels and age divisions. ETUF was playing at the highest level of the 50+ league and has won their division for the past 8 years at this level.
We drove into the city center of Dusseldorf to the Konigsallee (Kings Avenue), which is the Champs D’Elysee of Dusseldorf, a wide street lined with high end shops and department stores and hotels, with a stream running through the middle lined with trees. It was jam packed. We managed to find a parking garage and wandered down the street to the end then over to the Rhein.
We wandered down to the Rhein next. The World Cup Soccer was going on and the streets were packed (lots of French fans) and it felt somewhat like Octoberfest on a smaller scale…there was lots of beer flowing for sure! Even down at the river there were tents set up packed with people enjoying the weather, the soccer and the beer.
We wandered back to the car park. (German words of the day:ausfahrt = auto exit; ausgang = pedestrian exit); and leaving the car park the sign said “gut fahrt” which just struck us as funny but means good trip). We made it back to Essen before dark, which with me driving is s good thing.
Today is a less frenetic day and tomorrow the tournament starts. We both play Tuesday afternoon and will practice tomorrow morning early again.