Rainy, Wintry Days in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Ellen Neumann, from Munich, and I drove to Karlovy Vary yesterday from Munich. It was a beautiful drive in Germany to the northwest, past lots of fields of hops, asparagus and everything is very green. Hops fields look odd…huge long vines on strings, many many feet high, taller than most trees. There were also potato, wheat and corn fields. The towns in Bavaria were quaint, with beautiful churches. Then we crossed the border and it felt as if we were in the middle of nowhere, though there were still green rolling hills. It also started to rain.

We went by the tennis club first and the courts were soaked. So we then went to find our apartment which we did with only a little difficult. Ellen has an excellent sense of direction. The buildings of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad in German, Carlsbad in English) are old, colorful, ornate and beautiful, with iron balconies and lots of detail. We got to the apartment, paid for it (cash on the barrelhead) and it was nice, and close to downtown. Then we had to go get some Czech money, koruna, which is about 1/18 of a dollar in value, and hit Billa, the grocery store. Everything was in Czech so I relied on pictures to figure out what to buy.

After hauling our stuff back to the apartment we went to the club and got in a practice. The courts were pretty wet and soon the balls were too but the courts here are faster than those in Austria, and more slippery.

Today we were going to warm up early but it was raining and play was delayed 90 minutes. It was also quite cold, low to mid 50s, like a summer day in San Francisco but with rain instead of fog!  I had the 5th match on a court so I knew it was going to be a long day for me and Ellen also was scheduled for 5th match. Ellen got her match in, but Lyn Mortimer and I agreed it was too late to play when by 7pm our court still wasn’t empty, the lines were wet and it was getting dark. We were able to get our match moved to 9am on Friday after each of us plays the third person in the draw, Polyakove from Russia. Did I mention that for this Grade 1 there are only 3 people in my singles draw? And that there’s not one women’s draw with more than 7 players, so all have to be played as round robins?

Tomorrow I play not before 11:30 and Ellen plays the top seed, Koutna, at 10:30. I’m entered in mixed with Bruce Barrett, one of only 2 American guys in the tournament.

I’ll post some photos soon.


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