• Category Archives Mallorca
  • Traveling to Germany

    It was a “hurry up and wait” sort of morning Saturday. I left my Airbnb early, before 6 am (finally saw a sunrise in Spain). Luckily I bought fuel the day before because the gas station at the airport was packed. My fuel gauge was still close to full so I passed. Good thing because I followed the GPS (google maps), not the rental car signs to the airport and ended up first in the drop off area, then in the parking garage (and it was tricky to exit… I owed 65 cents and the credit card payment wouldn’t process at the exit gate.. it took 15 minutes to exit). The rental car return signs are small but once I abandoned GPS I found them and returned the car.

    I flew Eurowings to Düsseldorf. It’s a discount airline owned by Lufthansa. I don’t really pack well to fly discount airlines but after figuring out where to check in (tip: take the elevator outside the terminal to the 2nd floor to check in. You won’t be admitted into the arrivals area.) and showing my vaccination card and passport (and paying a bag fee, since one small carryon only is allowed), I was good to go through security. FYI there was a COVID testing spot at the airport and the line was long. Take a self antigen test with you if you aren’t vaccinated or are returning to the USA and take it the day before flying.

    Another tip: go upstairs to go through security unless you are traveling to another Baleric Island. There’s an escalator by the front of the terminal.

    Once in the terminal the waiting began. We left the terminal 30 minutes late. As is common in Europe, buses took us from the terminal to the plane. In this one terminal there were so many airlines: Eurowings of course, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Lauda, Norwegian, Wizz Air, Easy Jet and more. Europe feels like one country in some ways but this was definitely an international terminal.

    Crowded restaurant at PMI, walking through duty free is mandatory to get to the gates in Palma, varietal of airlines at Terminal C in Palma

    Upon arrival in Germany, unlike in Spain, I didn’t have to show any proof of a covid test or vaccination which surprised me. So the check-in personnel at the airport are the ones validating vaccination cards or covid tests, at least traveling from Mallorca to Germany. And no one asked me how long I had been in Spain. Mallorca is considered a low risk area.

    In Dusseldorf is in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, about 45 minutes north of Cologne, is not really a big tourist destination. The airport wasn’t super busy, but was not empty. The rental car pickup is on airport ground but quite a walk. I rented from Alamo and it was on the 7th floor of the parking garage and was pretty much deserted. There were only a few cars there and no line for once.

    After driving to Essen, (30 minutes north of Dusseldorf) and I checked into my hotel (and there I was asked for a negative covid test…I showed my vaccine so I was ok). I then went to get my racquet strung at Tennis Point (which recently I believe bought Midwest Sports, an online retailer in the USA..or the other way around). This is a big retailer what sells lots of racquets, balls, shoes, accessories, bags, and clothes. There are different brands than we normally see in the USA, such as Bidi Badu, Ellesse, Lotto for clothes, and there were large numbers of clay court shoes and even some indoor shoes (smooth soled). In the USA K-Swiss doesn’t normally sell clay shoes but there were a large number of them in the store. I bought a can of balls and paid for my racquet and it was on the next stop.

    I went to Decathalon to get an exercise mat (about $3), and came across a large grocery/variety store, so of course I had to check it out. It was another large store like the one in Spain which sold everything from washing machines to candy bars, but not quite as nice, particularly the produce. There was more bread but less ham (still a lot) and of course a huge number of yogurt and quark options. The chocolate and candy aisles were larger too. Since I was in Germany I bought some Ritter Sport bars, which were present in large quantity, variety and low in price (about $1-2 for a 100 gram bar).

    All the eggs including colored ones, on display in Essen; every American fast food place here in Germany (Subway was around the corner too)

    After dropping off the items at the hotel I walked to a nearby Lidl which happened to be at the train station. I am also near the center where there are some pedestrian streets full of shops and people who were enjoying their Saturday afternoon.

    Later today I am hitting at ETUF-Essen where the tournament is set to take place. Weather permitting…looks like there will be some thunderstorms in the afternoon.


  • Adios Mallorca

    Today was my last day on this trip in Mallorca. It didn’t start out very promisingly…I drove to play tennis and got there (10 min walk plus 30 min drive)…and realized my shoes were back in Sa Pobla…I’d taken them out of the car for the first time, thinking I’d pack them and wear my other shoes today. So I got in a shorter hit then watched the kids at the academy hitting some. They were doing a drill where one player was in the alley on the deuce side, the other next to the fence on the other end on the deuce side and the pro fed a ball by bouncing it on the ground, wide to the first player’s backhand. The first player also had to do a 360 spin as the pro was hitting the ball then run to hit a difficult ball and try to hit it wide cross court. Apparently you have to be young to do this, players even in their mid-20s who try this get dizzy after a few times. After a while the twirl was left out of the drill.

    After tennis and lunch I walked a bit around Sa Pobla. I figured out why the parking changed on the street nearest to me…in even months (June) parking is only allowed on the left side of certain streets and in odd months, only on the right side. I watched an ambulance try to navigate one of the narrow streets and it was tricky, even though most of the cars were parked partly up on the sidewalk and the ambulance as well had to go up on the sidewalk to get past the cars. It made it but I think bumped a pipe in the process.

    The streets in old Sa Pobla are really narrow.
    No parking on the right in even months; no parking on the left in odd months.
    Old buildings in Sa Pobla and Hollywood-worthy pedestrian streets.

    There’s really not much in the way of stores other than pharmacies in the old town area, and of course several restaurants and bars, mostly near the central plaza. I also found out that the mask mandate outdoors was terminated here on June 27th, which explains why pretty much everyone was masked when I arrived but I noticed few were as the week went on.

    Tomorrow I’m off to Germany. I think I only need a vaccination certificate (and passport) to get into the country. We’ll see…stay tuned.


  • ITF Releases Fact Sheets for Super Senior World Championships

    The ITF has released the fact sheets for the Young Seniors, Seniors and Super Seniors here.

    Fact sheet for the Super Seniors World Team Championships

    The ITF recommends booking only refundable tickets and lodging at this time.


  • Eastern Mallorca: Beautiful Views

    This afternoon I decided to drive to the western part of Mallorca, which has beautiful vistas of the Balearic Sea (which is part of the Mediterranean Sea). On the other side of the sea are the Tramuntana Mountains which are on the north west side of the Island. There are a lot of pretty mountain towns and of course the Lluc Monastery I visited a while back.

    I drove from Sa Pobla to Andrax then on a winding road to the Ricardo Roca viewpoint which had an excellent view of the coast.

    I drove past the cute village of Estellencs which is terraced to the side of the mountain. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photo as I didn’t see a spot to pull over…the shoulder on the road was nonexistent. At least it was wide enough for two cars, more than I can say about many Mallorcan streets.

    My next stop was the Mirador de Ses Animes, which has a tower with great views…or so I assume, since it was under repair and closed. The view of the coast was pretty nice from there anyway, as there was a place to pull over and take some photos.

    I passed through the terraced town of Banyalbufar. It had lots of crops growing on the terraced hillsides and I saw a greenhouse in the distance. There were lots of bikers on the winding narrow road…Mallorca is known for biking and hiking in addition to water sports, tennis and golf. It must also have a lot of rocks because rocks are everywhere…stone fences, stone barriers on the roads, stone houses.

    I passed through the town of Esporles which looked interesting as well. It had a large church and otherwise looked like a typical central Mallorcan village, with narrow streets lined by stone buildings with green or brown shutters, a center plaza and a few shops.


  • Coves de Campanet & Alcudia Port

    This afternoon I paid a visit to the Coves (Caves) de Campanet. Filled with stalactites and stalagmites (and new ones are forming all the time), they were discovered in 1945. There are other more famous caves in Mallorca, Cuevas del Drach in Porto Cristo and Cuevas del Arta near Canyamel. But this one is large and interesting, and most importantly, not at all crowded. No guided tour was required unlike the other caves I’ve been to so I could wander around and take photos at my leisure. It was also nice and cool (and pretty dark at times) in the cave.

    Coves de Campanet

    After wandering around the cave, I drove to the Port of Alcudia, about 20 minutes away, and wandered around the port (lots of boats and the possibility of arranging a boat tour of the area) and walked past the beach. It was not crowded, but there are a lot of restaurants there, and tourist type shops.


  • Drive to Alcudia and Port de Pollenca

    Tuesday June 29, 2021, Sa Pobla, Mallorca, Spain

    It was another sunny warm day in Mallorca. I trained earlier today, 10am…when I arrived at 9:30 all the courts were busy with the 8:30-10 training blocks and others were doing off court training (sprints and so on) in the mostly empty parking lot. (After which they then played for 90 minutes, plus an additional afternoon session. They have a lot of energy!). There’s a 10 year old Italian boy here who is very good (and very small)…complete with a nice slice backhand, good serve and groundstrokes and very good court sense. The Italian pipeline is deep.

    In the afternoon I decided to drive to Alcudia, near the water and to the port of Pollenca. Alcudia is a walled town, and much of the walls have been or are in the process of being restored. There’s a big church (which was closed when I was there), and narrow quaint streets in the Arab quarter. There are many, many restaurants. There are also ruins and an amphitheater which I missed. The town has a really nice vibe and you can feel the sea which is only a few miles away…it feels cooler and less dusty than the interior of Mallorca.

    Scenes fro old town Alcudia. Lots of restaurants and souvenir shops too.

    After I wandered around there I went to the Port of Pollenca, mostly to see if I could find the start point for the bus trip to the Cap de Fomenter, but instead I found it packed with cars and tourists. I drove around and then back to Sa Pobla.


  • A Visit to the Rafael Nadal Academy

    This afternoon I drove to Manacor where the Rafael Nadal Academy is located, on the outskirts of the town. I’ve been there before but it looks like some big changes are coming…lots of construction was going on, of an indoor tennis center I believe.

    Clay and Hard Courts and what appears to be an indoor complex being built. An artificial grass walking/running track is nearly complete.

    The academy itself is quite large, with a restaurant (which was busy at 2:30 in the afternoon) nice looking dorms, a Rafa Nadal tennis museum, lots of hard courts (each and every one of which had singles sticks up!), a small soccer field, and next door, at the Rafael Nadal Club, a well stocked pro shop, red clay courts and padel courts.

    I watched a little of the training…it seemed like a typical tennis camp, with players who were of different levels both of ability and of interest in being there. There were about 2 pros for every dozen players or so. At the red clay courts there were six boys and 2 pros and the level was higher. Of course they were using Babolat balls (a type of Babolat Gold).

    The academy was about 40 minutes from where I am staying, west of me, and after leaving there I went to train in Marraxti which was another 35-40 minutes away…I ended up doing a big circle of the middle of the island. There are a lot of small towns with nice looking churches, from afar anyway, and lots of agriculture.


  • Sunny Spanish Sunday: Morning Market, Tennis & Monastery Visit

    Sunday in Sa Pobla means that the central square, which yesterday was mostly deserted becomes the busy market hub, selling everything from Mallorcan cherries and apricots to Mallorcan cheese, and from local olives to live rabbits, chickens and even parakeets. There were a lot of chickens roasting when I went by around 10am…people could reserve one while it was cooking.

    Sa Pobla Sunday Market

    After the market visit I went to hit tennis balls. I was the only one there, as the club is mostly closed on Sundays…those kids (and instructors) need a day of rest…they work and train hard Monday-Saturday. We are using Head balls (the ones that will be used in Croatia for the Seniors and Young Seniors World Championships. They are quite heavy and slow. The nearest thing to them in the States that one can find is probably a Dunlop Fort ball. A “clay” ball in Europe is different from one in the States in general, heavier and longer lasting. I hit with a freshly strung racquet and 45 minutes in my string was fraying badly. I think I’m going to go through a lot of strings this trip.

    After lunch, I went to the Monastery near Lluc, north west of Sa Pobla, west of Pollenca. The last half of the trip was on another narrow and winding road. The views were beautiful, but there were no shoulders and no turnouts where one could stop for photos. I wandered around the courtyard which had many interesting statues, some from a temporary exhibit. I also walked into the Basilica which is quite ornate and pretty, updated in the style of Gaudi.

    Statues in Lucia Monastery Courtyard
    Basilica at Lluc Monastery

    Every day except (unfortunately for me) Sundays, there’s an afternoon boys choir which is quite famous.

    The monastery is located at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana and is slightly elevated above a pretty valley..to view it there is about a 400 meter uphill walk to where a large cross is embedded.

    View of a pretty valley near the Monastery

    On the way down I could see the Port of Pollenca in the distance, a pretty bowl-shaped port. It was a gorgeous view, but not one where a driver could take any photos!


  • Sa Pobla, Spain

    Sa Pobla is a small town in the north central part of Mallorca, about 10 km from Muro beach. The downtown is very quaint, densely packed, with a central square and narrow streets lined with typical Mallorcan buildings (stone facades and green or brown shutters). The population is about 12,000. I’m staying near the center but only a 10 minute walk away I was in the countryside, which has old stone farm buildings and fields of hay, corn, olive orchards, and I even saw a field of artichokes.

    Farming outside Sa Pobla.

    The streets in the town are very narrow and mostly one-way. Most don’t even have room for parking.

    Sa Pobla

    I walked around the town today, Saturday and it was very quiet, even the town square was mostly empty. There was a sermon going on in the large and pretty church. But tomorrow is market day so it should be bustling then.


  • Mallorca Spain Day 1: Tennis, Food, SIM Card Search

    After a mostly sleepless night (jet lag…I didn’t miss you), I hit on the red clay for the first time in nearly two years. I went to a small club, Global Tennis Team, where there are mostly kids and teenagers training and training hard. I hit with Rafael for 90 minutes…(no sitting down) and then watched the kids train for a while. There were a lot of 3 person drills…two on one from the baseline (one ball…a ball goes in the net, the player has to run and retrieve it), another drill where two players hit cross court while the third runs from one end to the other…when he/she arrives, the other player runs to the opposite end and starts hitting cross court…constant movement.

    Training Center

    The weather has been great, highs in the upper 80s to low 90s with a breeze.

    After hitting on Friday I decided to find a phone store to buy a SIM card for Spain and Germany. After a quick internet search, I drove to the phone store which was in a small mall that contained both Vodafone and Orange cell stores, and a huge store called Al Campo, some eating places and a Decathalon sports store (sort of like a discount Dick’s sporting goods store).

    I only went into the grocery portion of the store…it was bigger than a Costco (the whole store was)..I got a walking workout just looking around. The Spanish certainly like their meat and fish…both areas were huge, lots of leg of beef and tons of sausages, shell fish, live lobsters, squid, whole fish, acres of cheeses, one row devoted to chocolates…and good prices. Food in general seems inexpensive here but then I’ve only been to Aldi, Lidl and Al Campo.

    Fish, Sausage, Apples, Nuts Galore
    Cheese, Ham, even natural peanut butter, and chocolates in this enormous store.

    I did get my SIM card, at Vodafone, (20 euros for 70 GB of data which is pretty good, good for 28 days which was perfect). The phone works and took me to training the next day using the navigation program.


  • International Travel is Back and It’s Different

    Remember pre-9/11 air travel? (This is a Senior tennis blog after all.) It was easy..shoes stayed on, liquids were allowed through security, as were Swiss Army knives. Then we all got used to taking off shoes, emptying water bottles and pre-slicing apples (ok, the last one might just be me). But we could travel internationally with with just a passport to most countries. And no masks were required!

    Now, entry requirements seem to change weekly..sometimes daily. There are forms to fill out. QR codes to find. Vaccination records or Covid test results to upload ( but not too far in advance). United texted me that my documents were fine..then they weren’t. Then they were. (So far so good). Lufthansa says they aren’t but United gave me a boarding pass.

    Cloth masks are ok on United..but not on Lufthansa where N95 or KN 95 are required. Confusing!

    So plan ahead, get vaccinated (last shot must be 2 weeks before flight), or get a rapid test (no more than 48 hours before arrival.. unless it’s a PCR test..then 72 hours max. Or possibly 48 hours…depends on the country.

    Flight 1 to Houston: passport and vaccination card or negative covid test and Spain entry card glanced at

    Flight 2: Everyone has to show passport and vaccination card or negative covid test AND has his/her picture taken (for tracing I assume). United vouches that every passenger has the correct documentation. The real yeast will be in Germany when I am jet lagged!

    San Diego/Houston/Rainy Frankfurt


  • Super Senior USA Cups Announced by USTA

    • Location: Mallorca, Spain
    • Team Event: Sunday, Oct. 10 – Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

  • 2021 Super Seniors (65,70, 75, 80, 85) Cup Team Information

    • Location: Mallorca, Spain
    • Team Event: Sunday, Oct. 10 – Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

    Are you eligible to participate? Read the guidelines here. Of particular importance are the following changes which supersede the eligibility requirement and timelines as follows:

    • Approved 24-month USTA Category I USTA National Championship eligibility requirement, the option to participate in one USTA Super Category II National Tournament or one USTA Category II National Tournament within the last 24 months or participation in one Designated Open Sectional Championship within the last 12 months to fulfill the eligibility requirement; and
    • Approved to lengthen the selection time period for results that will be considered for selection from 24 months to 36 months.

    2021 Super Senior International Teams Timeline

    • Location: Mallorca, Spain
    • Team Event: Sunday, Oct. 10 – Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
    • Individual Event: Saturday, Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
    • Applications Open: April 1, 2021 Click here to apply
    • Application Deadline: May 1, 2021
    • Players who have applied for consideration will be listed on the Preliminary Applicant List posted on USTA.com: May 5 See the list of applicants here.
    • Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted Preliminary Applicant List (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results): May 10
    • Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status: June 1 See team selections here.
    • All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN): July 1
    • Players may make their travel arrangements: August 1
    • Travel arrangements due to staff: September 1

    Fact sheets are now available from the ITF.

    2021 ITF Super-Seniors (65-70-75-80-85-90*) World Team & Individual Championships

    The 2021 ITF Super-Seniors (65-70-75-80-85-90* years) World Team & Individual Championships will take place in Mallorca, Spain from Sunday 10 October – Saturday 23 October 2021. The Team Event will take place from 10 – 15 October 2021. The Individual Event from 16 – 23 October 2021.

    (* Refers to Individual Championships only). (**A final updated list will be published at the nomination deadline)


  • Super Senior USTA Teams Selected

    June 30, 2020

    The USTA has announced the teams it has selected to represent the USTA in the ITF Super Senior World Team Championships in October. (Fingers crossed that this event happens as scheduled, October 11-16 in Mallorca, Spain with individuals to follow October 17-24).

    The players selected are listed below; players whose names are in bold font are the playing captains. The players are listed alphabetically by first name.


  • USTA posts List of Super Senior International Team Applicants

    Here is the link to the list of players who applied for the USTA Super Senior teams. The event is scheduled for Oct 11-16 in Mallorca, Spain. So far this event is still on the ITF schedule. Team announcements will be made on July 30th.

    For more information go to the USTA Senior International page.


  • 2020 Team Application and Selection Timelines Now Posted

    2020 ITF Seniors World Championships, Men’s and Women’s 50, 55, 60

    Team Tournament: April 26 – May 2, 2020

    Individual Tournament: May 2 – 9, 2020

    Location: Boca Raton (team) & Palm Beach Gardens (individual), Fla.

    Important Dates:

    October 1, 2019: Application posted on USTA.com.

    November 10, 2019: Application deadline.

    November 13, 2019: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    November 18, 2019: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    December 16, 2019: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    January 20, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    February 1, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    March 1, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    April 26, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

     

    2020 Young-Seniors World Championships (35/40/45)

    Team Tournament: Sept. 13 – 19, 2020

    Individual Tournament: Sept. 19 – 26, 2020

    Location: Umag, Croatia

    Important Dates:

    March 1, 2020:  Application posted on USTA.com. Click here to view

    April 11, 2020: Application deadline.

    April 14, 2020: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    April 19, 2020: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    May 11, 2020: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    June 11, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    July 11, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    August 10, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    September 13, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

     

    2020 Super-Seniors World Championships (65/70/75/80/85)

    Team Tournament: Oct. 11 – 17, 2020

    Individual Tournament: Oct. 17 – 24, 2020

    Location: Mallorca, Spain

    Important Dates:

    April 1, 2020:  Application posted on USTA.com.

    May 1, 2020: Application deadline.

    May 5, 2020: Players who have applied for consideration will be posted on USTA.com.

    May 10, 2020: Deadline to notify the USTA of any omissions to the posted applicant list (cutoff date for 24 month period for which to consider results).

    June 1, 2020: Team selection posted to USTA.com and players will be notified of their status.

    July 1, 2020: All paperwork (excluding travel itinerary) due to USTA staff (including player agreement, media packet, copy of passport, & IPIN).

    August 1, 2020: Players may begin to make their travel arrangements.

    September 1, 2020: Travel arrangements due to staff.

    October 11, 2020: Seniors World Team Championships begins.

    International Team Selection Timelines, Applications and Guidelines

    Click here for the 2019 Senior International Cup team selection guidelines.


  • Tennis & Hiking, Fornalutx & Biniaraix, Mallorca

    Mallorca, Spain, July 29, 2019

    This post was lost in the Ethernet the last month.

    My last day in Mallorca was a busy one! I hit tennis balls or 90 minutes, all was good, so I decided to visit Fornalutx, another mountain village near Soller.

    I did some research and read that the hike to Fornalutx was a pretty easy one, about 45 minutes. I parked about 15 minutes outside of downtown, adding to the walk, but it was an easy place to park and not a bad walk into town.

    I apparently missed the route that wasn’t on the main road. The walk, though pretty, wasn’t particularly relaxing because the roads are so narrow, there’s no shoulder at all and no sidewalks. So I stayed quite alert and avoided being hit by a car or more likely, by a motorcyclist, they ride fast and loudly here.

    The scenery was pretty, orchards, almonds, olives, lemons, oranges, and even a few pomegranate trees were nestled up against the dramatic mountain background.

    When I got to Fornalutx (it was well over and hour, since I stopped and took photos and was meandering), I found the main plaza, got some water, and found the route for the next part of the walk. It was an uphill route for a long ways, up uneven and rough stone steps. But the views were beautiful. At the top I was on a main road for a short while, then found the path down, which wound through olive orchards mostly, and was quiet and free of cars.

    On the way back, I detoured through the tiny village of Biniaraix, which still hard a small plaza by the church. There weren’t many cars on that detour either, and once I was past Biniaraix, I was only 20 minutes from Soller.

    Soller was really hopping at 8pm, the plaza was packed with people having drinks (a bit early yet for food, though some were eating). I walked through the main shopping street and back to my car.

    I leave Mallorca tomorrow for Lisbon. It’s been nice getting to know a different part of this diverse island.


  • Adios Mallorca, Hello Hungary

    On an airplane somewhere between Mallorca and Munich….

    I had my last training in Mallorca today, then quickly made it to the airport. I checked in and then went to the first security station I saw and was surprised it was so empty. I used about 4-5 bins for my various electronics, hats, etc…never having noticed it was the security for only the Balearic Islands…Mallorca, Menorca etc. So I packed back up and went upstairs to regular security. I picked the expedited security line, because I had Gold status with Lufthansa, and the gate opened…followed by an alarm! But the security person waived me through and I did quickly make it through security the 2nd time. Moral of the story: pay more attention to the signs and pick out the English explanation among the four languages shown.

    My trip to Mallorca involved a lot of tennis; 12 hours to be exact and not a lot else, partly because I rented the aftorementioned electric Renault Zoe which demanded to be recharged frequently and which took it’s time to recharge. It spent a fair amount of time at the Lidl charging in the evenings so I could get to tennis practice and back a couple of times the next day!

    Inca was a fairly industrial town in the center of Mallorca…not one of the lovely mountain villages of the west coast or one of the beach towns on the east coast. It was convenient but not noteworthy. I did go into Inca to do laundry once. I went in the middle of the day, thinking the laundry would be quiet that time of day, only to encounter someone washing load after load for some local hotels (small ones, with 15 or fewer rooms he said). He left one small machine open though so I got my clothes washed and dried them in the car and later, in my hotel room.

    I finally tried the surimi shaped like eels that I kept seeing in tapas and at the stores. It was in a garlic/olive oil mixture and was pretty good in a salad.

    I didn’t get back to watch Andy Murray because if I had I would not have had enough charge for the next day to drive to Global Tennis Team…needless to say, I’m not renting an electric car again till there are fast chargers galore and at all gas stations! Andy by the way lost in the quarters 76 in the third and cramped in the third set, so for him it was a successful venture I imagine…he got matches and knows where his fitness level is.

    I had a great time practicing though and learned a lot. I watched the kids hit more this time. They work so hard, and the instructors do not let them get by with anything less than 100% effort…..those who put in less effort find themselves running laps at a minimum. The instructors never have more than four players to a court and often have more than one instructor on court for 2-4 players. And they are watching intently or feeding. The players are the ones doing the work and hitting. One warm up involves cross courts with 3 players and one ball..hit it into the net and the player runs to pick it up. A player not hitting is shadowing a stroke. The two players alternate for a certain number of balls or time, then one goes to join the solo player and the remaining player hits solo for a while. It’s high energy.

    Next up for me is a tournament a couple of hours outside of Budapest…but first a couple of nights in Budapest, in Hungary, a country I’ve never before visited. It’s a part of the European Union and Schengen (unified passport) area but still uses its own currency. The exchange rate is $1 to 300 Hungarian currency, so I’ll be doing math in my head a lot this weekend.

    Hopefully I’ll have wifi this week in my room. However, the sim card I bought in Madrid, $20 from Orange for 20-25 GB of data for a month really came in handy this week. It works as a hotspot too, so I can write my blog on an Ipad and upload it by connectiing it to my phone’s data via wifi. Not a new thing but magical anyway.

    And that’s a wrap on Spain for this year.


  • Rain in Spain (Thunder and Lightning Too)

    Inca, Mallorca, Spain

    Wednesday Morning, August 28th

    Monday it was nearly 100 degrees in Mallorca and sunny. Then yesterday, Tuesday, a “cota fria” hit Mallorca (a cold front) and it rained on and off most of the day. Nonetheless, I managed to get in two training sessions with only a 10 minute break when it poured. In between sessions, I went to charge my car for a couple of hours at Lidl. I’d planned on leaving it there while I walked to the hotel and back, but the sky absolutely opened and poured buckets. I got soaked just walking in and out of Lidl and plugging in the charger. So I had lunch in my car and read instead, and in two hours the car didn’t reach a 50% charge…

    The tournament in Manacor, where Andy Murray is playing was delayed for much of the day and several matches were moved indoors. I didn’t drive over to watch partly because Andy’s match was delayed till after 9pm, but mostly because it takes soooo long to charge the electric car I rented that I didn’t have enough range to drive to Manacor and back safely. I haven’t figured out where a fast charger is, so I ended up parking it at the Lidl when I came back around 7:30 from tennis and (after someone without an electric car moved her car from in front of one of the chargers) and leaving it there for nearly three hours, and walked to and from Lidl from my hotel which is only about 15 minutes. So it’s charged and ready to go today. And Andy won against the 3rd seed so maybe I can watch him again this week.

    Today’s adventure looks to be going to the laundromat here, probably while the car is charging, and of course playing a lot of tennis. I think renting an electric car has been a good learning experience but one I won’t repeat till fast chargers are everywhere and the range is better. It would be better as a 2nd car for around town than as a primary vehicle.


  • Mallorca Encore: Training and Watching Andy Murray

    Mallorca, Spain

    This trip I am staying in a completely different area from Bunyola, north of Palma in Inca. However, the hotel is in the middle of orchards and very quiet (completely the opposite of where we staying in Madrid for sure).

    I got to the airport and found out I’d reserved an all electric vehicle. It took Hertz a while to put in the SD card that had the navigation and for someone from Hertz to explain how to charge it. It had a range of 180 KM and they said no problem, Mallorca is small…well, it’s down to about 80km and that included a 30 minute charging stint at Lidl today, so I’m going to have to leave it there for a few hours tomorrow in between practice sessions. I don’t think I’m quite ready for a full on electric vehicle as range anxiety is real. On the other hand, the cost to refuel it this week is zero.

    I checked into my hotel…my room wasn’t ready but I was able to change and get ready to practice for 90 minutes. Then I charged the car a bit and shopped at Lidl more before getting ready to go watch Andy Murray. Murray has been one of my favorite players since I first saw him playing Clement at the US Open when he was 18. He is playing the Mallorca challenger this week in Manacor at the Rafael Nadal Academy. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive but it was a zoo parking. Entry is free and the center court was SRO. I got there about the middle of the first set but the match was quick. Murray was playing a 17 year old, Imran Sibille of France…with career earnings of $150. He was overwhelmed, couldn’t handle the pace of Murray’s shots and hit a much lighter ball than Murray. Murray looks a little rusty on the short balls, but then it was such a lopsided match, it was hard to tell. The crowd was very vocal every time Sibille won a point and when he won his only game…at 06 05 down, the crowd really roared! It was a fun atmosphere. Murray plays again at 6pm CET tomorrow.


  • Adios Madrid, Hola Mallorca

    Madrid Airport, Monday August 26th 2019

    And then there was one…today Tracey and I took an early cab to the airport, which wasn’t far from our apartment (I woke up at 4:30 and was at the airport by 5!). Madrid has four 1/2 terminals (1-3, 4 & 4S). Terminals 4/4S are about 10 minutes by car from the other three. We dropped off Tracey at 2 and I continued to 4. Susan & Tim leave a few hours later, while I am going to Mallorca for a week of training before my next tournament.

    Andy Murray is playing a challenger this week…at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, so I hope to see him play this week. He’s one of my favorite players. And entry is free to the tournament.

    Yesterday was a pretty mellow day. Tracey tried to check in for her flight and somehow, after calling the airline and being put on hold for a long time, we were told her reservation had been cancelled. Fortunately there were several alternate flights which were only a few dollars more, but that took up a good part of the morning. Travel is fun but there can be bumps along the way.

    We had decided to go to the El Rastro Market, the biggest Sunday market in Madrid. It was a pretty typical street market…jewelry (lots of silver), leather goods, t-shirts galore, but no food, though shops were all around selling food. We walked through the market for about 45 minutes, found a good bakery and had empanadas for lunch (sort of a turnover except with bread instead of pie dough for the crust).

    Tim then went to a museum and Susan, Tracey and I wandered the streets looking at small shops (most were open in Madrid on Sunday, unlike Barcelona, though some smaller shops were closed). We ended up at El Cortez Ingles’s grocery store for our final stop, fitting, as that’s where I started in Lisbon, weeks ago. I got some Spanish sweets..turron consisting mainly of almonds & honey) and some curry mango sauce (like a mayonnaise) and manchego cheese to go with bread I got earlier.

    We returned to our flat, had a Spanish tapas sort of dinner with olives, ham, cheese, crackers and some carrots and salad, very tasty for a last supper so to speak.

    And now we scatter to the East and West Coast and Spain…it was a terrific trip, to be continued solo for me. Thanks for reading!


  • Deia, Mallorca & Driving the West Coast

    Mallorca, Spain

    After six days and nine practice sessions, I had a much needed break from tennis. I decided to try and book a massage and ended up booking one…at the Palma Sport Tennis Club. I didn’t even know it existed, even though it was not far from the hotel I’d previously stayed in when visiting Mallorca. It is 100,000 square foot parcel in the middle of high rises, with five clay courts, a center court (where the men’s Legend’s Cup tournament is held), a gym, spa, restaurant, pool and small grassy area. It was a nice place to spend part of a Sunday afternoon. The club seems to cater to a lot of international guests and I heard English, Spanish and German spoken.