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  • 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.