Sunday Susan Wright, Kathy Vick, Tracy Houk & I took off for Nantes, the capital of Brittany (Bretagne), though I practiced first with Tracy,  indoors as it was raining. We left from La Baule Escoublac, so we had to taxi to the train, and arrived in Nantes just before noon.

Almost as soon as we exited the station, map in hand, we saw the Cathedral and then the Chateau de les ducs de Bretagne, an old castle from medieval ages. It’s surrounded by a moat and thick walls and still has slits in the walls for guns to defend the castle and the city. After we entered the courtyard of the castle we went to the museum, which has the history of Nantes. Nantes used to be a big port town, but now the river has silted over so big ships can’t get into Nantes as a port. It’s more of a Delta type river now, an alluvial plain. It’s still a thriving city, with industries and is the home of Lu cookies, Susan’s favorite kind.

The museum was interesting, lots of models of ships, including slavers, starting back in the medieval ages and going up to current times. There are tons of gigantic fireplaces, big enough for a tall person to stand in, throughout the museum and the wall depth is measured in feet, not inches. There’s a park surrounding the castle, between the moat and the castle wall.

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After touring the museum, (lots of steps), we went to the cathedral, which is beautiful and not crowded at all (unlike sites in Paris). It was very peaceful.

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Around the castle and the church are lots of narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants. The shops were closed since it was Sunday but the food establishments were open and we visited the gelato store which was quite excellent.

We arrived back to the train station around 4pm, but the first train back to La Baule/Pornichet wasn’t till 6, so after looking at the “Relay” store (a chain in Europe, sort of like a 7-11 but smaller), Tracy bought a deck of cards and Susan and I, somewhat unsuccessfully, tried to teach Tracy and Kathy how to play hearts. I think we did a good job since they beat us in every hand we played! We took the train to Pornichet, which is really where our hotel is, about 4 miles or so from La Baule and managed to find our hotel.

The individual world championships began yesterday. The women’s singles and doubles begins today, and Kathy is playing now. I had a bye and play tomorrow, as does Susan.

The seedings are done mostly based on ranking and for doubles the seeding changed from using a combined total of the two players’ singles or doubles rankings, whichever was higher, to just their doubles ranking, which resulted in some interesting seeds and draws.

The other change is a new referee for the individuals, so instead of giving us start times, a player is told he/she is the 2nd match, 3rd match etc after 9am or eg the 4th match not before 1pm etc and players are assigned to specific courts. This means all 2nd matches have to be there at 9am in case the first match is a default or retirement and other players may be waiting for a 3 hour match to finish to play 2nd match. This is common in Europe though,  not in the USA except in professional tournaments.

I hit early this morning and am going over to my venue now, which was changed last night from the Ninon club to the Sporting Club. The latter is where we played last week, so that’s fine, a little longer bike ride but not bad and I’m happy I don’t have to use the transport system. The ride is nice, right along the beach most of the way. The weather is fine now and supposed to be good all week.

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