• Tag Archives Austria
  • Munich, Munchen, Sunday Vibes

    June 16, 2019

    Munich, Germany

    I arrived late in Munich after a longer than expected train ride (the train stopped for about half an hour just before my stop…but the ride was pleasant, and parts were beautiful, especially passing along the Gastein valley west of Villach.

    Sundays in Bavaria are pretty quiet. Some restaurants are open, and shops in the train stations and airport, but otherwise shops and grocery stores are all closed. I knew this, so took my time over breakfast and hit the gym and laundry. Late morning I decided to walk towards Marienplatz, where the famous Glockenspiel above the Rathaus are located, to do some window shopping and I had visions of biking in the English Gardens. It turned out to be a nice day for a lot of walking, mild and only a few drops of rain.

    On my way to Marienplatz I walked by the huge Deutsches Museum. I consulted with my friend Google and decided to go in. There was a long ticket line. Google was consulted again, I found the website for the museum and quickly bought a ticket (this is my travel tip for the day…if you are spontaneously visiting an attraction and the line is long, first try to buy a ticket on your smart phone). Minutes later I was walking in the door and my online ticket was scanned with no problem.

    What is the Deutsches Museum? Well, it’s huge, and it’s a science and technology museum. Though actually there’s not a lot of technology…they could have more modern displays. But it covered a lot, from astronomy to glass making to sun dials to the history of flight to submarines (it was a bit eerie seeing a U-Boat submarine…do not go on a submarine if you have any issues with claustrophobia…or are not svelte.). The history of flight was interesting…there’s that Samuel Beckett saying which Stan Wawrinka has tattooed onto his arm: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again.” which applies to flying. So many people tried to build airplanes before the Wright Brothers succeeded and they all looked so dicey, some lost their lives, humans didn’t give up.

    After a few hours in the museum, I reached the market and then Marienplatz and found all the tourists, German and otherwise. There was a big stage in the plaza and music, lots of drinking and wursts around. I got some beautiful strawberries, and did some window shopping. (Tomorrow it won’t be just “window” shopping I fear.)

    After walking around the area, I walked back to my hotel. I walked by a marijuana store which was amusingly (to me anyway) situated next to a chocolates store. Both were closed. I also walked by a sign for the Bier Oktoberfest Museum and peered down the street…yup, there it was! Till tomorrow…

    Guten abend.

    European Singles Champion; Auf Wiedersehen Austria

    Biking Around the Worthersee


  • European Singles Champion; Auf Wiedersehen Austria

    June 14, 2019, Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    I played and won the 60 singles here over Karien Theeuwes of the Netherlands 61, 60. My dropshots worked well when Karien wasn’t charging the net…she’s a good volleyer. We had some close games and great points. It was a good two weeks here. Next year the tournament will move, perhaps to Velden, and apparently the Regional Championships designation will disappear. Doubles was a different story, Ellen and I lost in a match tiebreak. We lost the first set 64…lost all the 3-3 no ad games….won some in the 2nd set but got a slow start in the match tiebreak. No ad is a very dissatisfying way to play doubles.

    Barbora Koutna beat Laura DiVittori in the 55 singles…she is a very strong singles player, great groundstrokes.

    In the women’s 80s, Elizabeth Van Bommel edged Nanda Fischer, in a match tiebreak. But they teamed up later to win the doubles.

    I saw the end of the match tiebreak too in men’s 80 singles…Herbert Althaus and his partner prevailed even though Althaus is in the 85s now.

    Bruce Barrett and his partner Ornstein won the men’s 70 doubles and were pretty happy. Danny Shaw (USA) and Fritz from the Netherlands fell in a match tiebreak in the final of men’s 65s.

    Taras Beyko from Canada won the men’s 50s though only seeded 4th.

    The 35s player who injured her ankle was back on the grounds today. I spoke with her…her ankle isn’t broken but she did tear a ligament. She said she was upset with herself that she didn’t win the first set (the injury was when she was up 5-3 in the third) because she didn’t start well. She was on crutches but not in a cast.

    And that’s a wrap on these two weeks of tennis…I hope to get a bike tomorrow to bike around the lake then take a train to Munich…to be continued.

    Oh…only men played on center court today as usual.

    Successful Semis in Poertschach

    Draws are here.


  • Successful Semis in Poertschach

    June 13, 2019, Poertschach, Austria

    The order of play here was posted pretty late yesterday (about 9:30pm), due to the thunderstorms which delayed play. I was scheduled for 9am which meant an early warm up. Fortunately Ellen Neumann and her friend Katy Boeroecz (who was in the 55 semis) allowed me to warm up with them!

    I played Cornelia Keller from Germany. We played on Center Court (only women’s matches were scheduled for such an early hour!). I won 60 61 and then watched the other women’s 60s semis for a while. I knew for sure I’d play another lefty, since the other semifinalists were both lefties. In the end Karin Theeuwes of the Netherlands won 75 75 over the #2 seed, Sylvia Reigl.

    I also watched a bit of Lucie Schwab’s final…she looked tired and her wrist was taped but she played very cleverly, using lots of spins and angles and drops and won 63 63 to take the 50s division over Karola Thumm. In the women’s 75s, Michelle Bichon beat Heide Orth again, in two close, tough sets. Laura DiVittori beat Katy in the 55s semis and Barbora Koutna took out Lisa Prechtl, so they face each other tomorrow. DiVittori played smart, mixing up the pace of her serve and ground strokes and holding off a determined opponent in the second set, winning 75 64. Koutna used her superior groundstrokes to power past Prechtl. In men’s 85’s, Aussie Adrian Alle lost but German Herbert Althaus won. Werner, the German 80s player I hit with the other day lost to an unseeded player who moved very well. Wayne Crowley of Australia won in men’s 65s. Heidi Eisterlehner, with whom I trained the second day I was here beat Carol Campling of Australia 61 61. Canada’s Taras Beyko was playing top seeded Alexander Lindholm when I left and the two were having a good, even battle in the first set. I ran into Danny Shaw, and American living in Europe. He was playing doubles with Keith Porter of Canada and mixed with an Austrian.

    The weather today was great, no rain, sunny and warm. They had a nice display of trophies up today since some finals were already played.

    I play the singles final tomorrow and doubles semis (50s).

    Draws are here.


  • The Sun Returns…then So Does the Thunderstorm

    Wednesday June 12, 2019, Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    This morning was beautiful and sunny here in Carinthia (the sun rises at 5am!). I hit midday with Laura DiVittorio (Italy, W55), and watched a little tennis. I ran into an Austrian friend and we arranged to hit at 3:30.

    I went back to my hotel for lunch and to do some writing (no, not this blog). I had the drapes shut so I could see the screens and did hear noises from time to time but thought it was the AC cycling on (it wasn’t…I had actually turned it off). A bit after 3pm I left the hotel and saw that the ground was wet. It was sunny…I had totally missed a couple of downpours. The practice court was soaked, and matches delayed. Back to the hotel for a bit.

    I went back around 5pm to see if my doubles partner was playing yet (she ended up coming on court after 6:30pm) and stayed to watch a really exciting women’s 50s match between #2 seeded Lucie Schwab (Austria) and #3 Petra Dobusch (Germany). This match was of a high level (the power was ridiculous) featuring huge forehands and service returns, insanely powerful overheads and magical down the line slices from Petra and gorgeous drops, slices that didn’t bounce (but still were returned), and lovely heavy topspin forehands combined with ferocious slice forehands from Lucie. Lucie won the first set before I started watching. Petra won the second 64. The two players didn’t take much of a break between sets, neither left the court and they didn’t even ask for new balls! Lucie won the first two games quickly; Petra rebounded, finding the court again from 2-3 down to go up 5-3 (Lucie gifted her the 53 game with two double faults and errors). Petra then blinked a bit…backed off with the power allowing Lucie to raise the ball more and hit some gorgeous dropshots, to win the final four games. This match was on court 11, the last court in the club. It should have been on a show court, it was a semifinal, or even center court. But center court seems to have only men’s matches. OK…there are more men than women by at least a 3/1 ratio but some women’s matches (and this was one) should be on center…and Lucie is Austrian!

    The other match I watched was a 35s women’s match (on a show court) which was in the third set when I sat down. It was interesting as it was between a counterpuncher who slid beautifully and an aggressive baseline who occasionally went to net. Apparently, after I left, one of them injured an ankle (the blonde aggressive baseliner). It was either Katherina Jacob or Christine Kraupa. Scores aren’t posted, so obviously it was the loser of that match. (I’ll update with the winner later). Update: Kraupa won by retirement, so Jacob was the one who was injured (taken to the hospital).

    American Bruce Barrett was upset in the quarters today. That match was next to the women’s 50 match, but other results aren’t posted yet.

    I didn’t play a match today…the match which went unfinished yesterday turned into a default today as the Austrian player had a conflict. So actually the four seeds all reached the semis and I play the German Cornelia Keller while two lefties battle it out on the bottom half of the draw.

    Draws are here.


  • Sunny Morning, Donner & Blitzen Afternoon

    Today was a tale of two different weather patterns: in the morning and early afternoon it was quite warm and muggy, but by mid afternoon it was cloudy and thunder and lightning were heard and seen. And then it rained on and off the rest of the day.

    I played Gundi Wieland for the second time in less than a week (we played last Friday). I won 60 60 but it was a better match than last week. We played at a secondary site, the Leonstein Club. The courts there were harder, more level and since it was warm, they were dry too, so the ball ran a bit more on the surface (not that much more…it was still red clay after all).

    After our match Gundi and I had a drink at the main club. After lunch I wandered back to the club to scout a match, the winner of which I would play in the semis, Inge from Austria and Cornelia from Germany. Inge hits hard and is very athletic and Cornelia is a retriever with funky but consistent strokes. I left when it started pouring; and went back later…they were still playing but didn’t finish, they are tied at a set apiece and Cornelia up 21 in the third. On the other side of the draw are two lefties, the 2nd and 3rd seeds.

    There are a few Americans here. Danny Shaw, who lives in Europe but who is originally from San Diego played Max Bates from Australia first round (not a good draw) and fell in straight sets. Bruce Barrett, M70, won. Veronica Lima de Angelis retired down 3/0 in the third in women’s 60s. Hans Weber, M75, prevailed. Keith Porter, M65, Canada lost in three sets.

    The thunder and lightning ⛈ went on till dark, but tomorrow should be a good day. I don’t play tomorrow because Cornelia and Inge didn’t finish. They didn’t finish because they had a 1:30 start since Inge is local and gets afternoon start times every day…the one accommodation impacting the rest of the draw and delaying it by a day. 🤔

    Draws are here.


  • Practice Day in Warm and Sunny Austria

    While it’s raining in England….it was warm (upper 80s) and sunny on the “Austrian Riviera”, and it’s supposed to hit 90 by Friday.

    I had a hit set up today at 11, but my practice partner strained something so I wandered down to the courts to see if I could find someone interested in hitting. I ran into Herbert Althaus who plays in the 85s, and he said his friend Werner needed a hit. Werner is the top seed in men’s 80s and is tall and walks very fast. The court I had been told was at the Leonstein courts up the road, but it turns out it was at the PTC (Poertschach Tennis Club) further up the hill abutting the railroad track (literally right next to the end of the courts). The court reservation had been made by a friend of the person I was supposed to hit with so there was initially a bit of confusion at the PTC as well, but it was soon sorted and we were hitting.

    Werner isn’t super fast but he hits a good ball and we had a great hit. It was not only warm but a bit humid and I was soaked at the end.

    I went to the store (Billa) to get lunch stuff and drinks (along with a lot of other people, it was pretty packed), and after lunch watched a bit of the match between Gundi Wieland and Ingrid Bruckner. I play the winner tomorrow which, as I expected, was Gundi. Both are lefties…there are a lot of lefties in this draw.

    Overall it was a mellow day, really warm and lots of people were swimming in the lake. Or having a drink in the shade.

    I play at 11:30 tomorrow (though looking at the schedule, I expect the tournament to be an hour behind schedule) and there’s a pretty good chance of thunderstorms all afternoon so I hope I get the match in without too much delay.

    And that’s it for Poertschach today.

    Draws are here.

    PTC, Interesting Window, Babolat balls are heavy, door to go with the windows

  • Werzer Cup Final Matches; European Regional Championships Draws

    Rafa, 12 French Opens; Dominic Thiem…fought so hard. I enjoyed listening the to the French Open final on Radio Roland Garros (Via Tuned In’s ATP Radio station, it’s great), while watching Eurosport. So much easier to watch when you are in the same time zone. Today was a pretty mellow day…watched some seniors tennis, watched Rafa/Thiem, recovery massage etc. Back to practicing tomorrow with Laura Vittori from Italy, then I play my first round of the next tournament Tuesday.

    The Werzer Cup finished today with a few singles matches (men’s singles of course on center court while the women were on a side court, that’s the way it goes here). Even when the 50s women’s final featured a fine Austrian player…

    Sabine Schmitz and Gundi Weiland won the 60 doubles quite easily today. Gundi teamed with Canada’s Keith Porter to win the 60 mixed. Taras Beyko, Canada, won the men’s 50s. Ted Bowen, USA (whom I just met…he’s from Ft. Lauderdale and has been playing tennis only 5 years!) won the 75 mixed with Kim Blackburn from Australia. That’s about it for North American winners (along with King Van Nostrand, 85 singles and doubles, and Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek, M75 doubles).

    Sabine Schmitz & Gundi Weiland, left, W60 doubles champions

    The European Regional Championships begin tomorrow and I play on Tuesday morning. In my division, the players are pretty similar except Sabine Schmitz has gone home. The 60 singles draw is below and the rest of the draws are here.

    Draws are here.  (Werzer Cup)


  • King Van Nostrand Sweeps 85s; San Diegans Win 75 Doubles

    While in a rain delay during Thiem/Novack (and the Barty/Anisimova semi was…streaky).

    I won my singles semis against Gundi Wieland from Germany. She beat the #3 seed yesterday; I won 60 60, though we had some good points. Gundi is the second straight lefty I’ve played and I practiced with a lefty most of last week…so it will be a bit weird playing a righty tomorrow! However, I warmed up with my doubles partner, Ellen Neumann who is in the 55s and a righty.

    Ellen played an excellent match against Laura DiVittori who is the #2 seed in the 55s. When I started watching it was the beginning of the third set and there wasn’t much between the two of them…believe perhaps. Laura won 75 in the third set, rallying from 1-4 and 4-5 down. Lots of slices and drop shots and from Ellen, great drives, from DiVittori, high changeups at critical times.

    King Van Nostrand beat his doubles partner, Herbert Althaus of Germany in the 85 singles final and then teamed with him to beat Hans Jell of Austria and Ashley from New Zealand. Ashely was really happy since they won 8 games. King is on his way home to Florida after this tournament.

    Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek won the 75 doubles over Peter Pokorny and his partner, and they are off, Dave to Spain and Karl to his native Czech Republic. Karl lost his semifinal singles today.

    Lisa Prechtel won her singles today and plays DiVittori in the 55 singles final.

    Taras Beyko from Canada was playing again on Center Court and Germany’s Stephanie Kolar was on a side court playing W40.

    Michel Bichon beat Heide Orth in the 75s in three sets but they are the top seeds next week, so may play again soon.

    They are using Babolat Team balls (not available in the USA…and they come in a metal can!). 8 Euros for 3 balls or you can rent them with a 5 euro deposit. Needless to say we search for lost balls and on the warm up court there is a lot of foliage at the end and side of the court where balls go to hide. So far we’ve found them all.

    Lake Worth, DiVittori, Neumann, Prechtel, Kolar, Beyko, W60, Sabine, Karl & Dave

    one.

    Draws are here. 


  • Let the Tournament Begin

    So the French Open ended early on a delayed quarterfinal day…so I’m writing without that distraction! Who will reach the final: Konta vs Vondrousova; Anisimova vs Barty; Fed vs Rafa; Thiem vs Djokokovic?

    Onto the tennis at the Werzer Cup in Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria.

    I played my first round match today. I had a good warm up with Laura DiVittori from Italy, who plays in the women’s 55. I played Shirley Friedl who is a good player from Austria (lives in France too). However I won 60 60 in under an hour because she has a bad back, a stress fracture in her right foot and also a partially torn plantar in the same foot. It was nice of her to give me a match (and she won one yesterday), but I hope she heals up soon.

    Speaking of injuries…Luisa Gouveia hurt her right arm (she’s a righty with a one-handed backhand)…falling off a hover board while trying to jump (hmmm), so is playing lefty this week and her forehand looks good…she won a match yesterday, but lamented her lack of a serve and volley left handed! She did lose today however.

    Karl Placek from San Diego played the #2 seed today in men’s 75, Johannes Muehlenburg from Austria. Placek won the first set, lost the second and it looked bad for him when he went 41 down in the third. Muehlenburg had several points to go up 52, but Karl saved a big one by hitting a behind his back lob over Muehlenburg for a winner. He was in control from then on, even if he didn’t got to net as often as his doubles partner Dave Van Den Berg wanted him to (which was every point). He’s in the semis now.

    Karl Placek after a 3+ hour win today

    King Van Nostrand won today in the 85s over Adrian Alle to advance to the final against his doubles partner, Herbert Althaus. Althaus is always smiling, talking, really a nice guy and a good player…my money is on King though.

    Adrian Alle left, King Van Nostrand, right

    Bruce Barrett, USA fell to his doubles partner from GBR, Chris Ornstein and they were having a tough time in doubles when I left, playing Velasquez and Hoefling.

    In doubles, Ellen Neumann and I have to play in the 50s and are in the semis (5 teams). So that will be a challenge, but hopefully a fun one.

    Draws are here.


  • Last Practice Day

    While NOT watching the French Open….

    Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    Unlike Paris, where it rained all day, it was a warm, sunny day in Poertschach, and even a bit humid. I had a great hit with King Van Nostrand and then with Bruce Barrett, so hopefully I’m ready for my first round match tomorrow.

    I did scout my opponent a bit. I play a lefty Austrian who is a good solid player, and hopefully we’ll have a good match tomorrow. I watched from the top of the Center Court bleachers and could see the Worthersee and the red clay court at the same time. They played on court 1, which on the weekend was nearly unplayable and covered with weeds. It still has issues (grass growing into the court making the sidelines narrow) but is playing much better.

    Left: Heide Orth; Right: Shirley Friedl on Court 1

    I also saw Heide Orth play a really nice match against a Swiss player who could move. Heide hits each shot with purpose (her backhand in particular is gorgeous) and won quite handily against a not bad player (she could move!)

    The #4 seed, Karin Theeuwes of the Netherlands fell to an Austrian player, Inge Pils-Feichter in straight sets. Pils-Feichter won the Grade 2 last week in Klagenfurt and beat the person who is the #3 seed here so she’s obviously a good player.

    My doubles partner, Ellen Neumann played a solid match in the 55s, scoring with several aces and some nice net play against her athletic opponent. She plays Laura DiVittori of Italy next in round robin play.

    Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek who are from my club at home won their 75 doubles match. Placek, seeded 7th in men’s 75, plays singles tomorrow.

    That’s it for today…waiting for the schedule to come out and there are still many matches on court.

    Draws and schedule are here.

    Previous blog posts:


  • Biking Around

    Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    While watching Wawrinka play another classic, this time against Federer….well, now in a rain delay at 3-3 in the fourth.

    Today was another warm and sunny ☀️ day in Austria. I hit for an hour in the morning, and after lunch rented a bike and rode along the sea a bit and stopped by Aldi (called Hofer in Austria). It looked pretty much like an Aldi in the USA with better (and fresh) bread.

    After my ride I went back to the club and on center court who do I see but Dave Van Den Berg from Rancho Santa Fe playing the legendary Peter Pokorny. Dave impressed the locals who are used to Pokorny winning 60 60…it was 2,2 and Dave rued his missed opportunities. He played the correct strategy though, serving big and giving Pokorny little rhythm. Pokorny though hits pretty deep and accurately and has a wicked drop shot… When Dave missed his big first serve he got behind in the points.

    I set up practice for tomorrow and then stared watching the French Open…

    Poertschach, Austria…Planes, Trains and Tennis

    Practicing on the Dirt

    Werzer Cup: Hitting With a Legend

    Draws and results.


  • Werzer Cup: Hitting With a Legend

    Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    Today I had a chance to hit with King Van Nostrand. King is aptly named…he’s a king of senior tennis, and is true tennis royalty. From Vero Beach, Florida, he’s been honored by the ITF with a seniors lifetime achievement award, having won more than 10 Individual World Championships and more than 10 team championships.

    King is playing in the 85s, but his ball is so heavy and his dropshot so short and spinny. There are several good players in the 85s, but I can’t see King and his titanium knees having too much of a problem winning this event.

    There are a few San Diego area players here, and I watched a bit of Dave Van Den Berg. He was playing an Italian player with two pretty hefty knee braces and cruised to a win. He now however has to play Peter Pokorny of Austria, the top seed and like King, a legend whose won more than 10 individual ITF titles and team events. A couple of other Americans, Karl Placek (seeded 7) and Robert Anderman (faces the #4 seed) are playing 75 singles here.

    I just practiced a couple of hours today, hit the grocery store and drug store and watched more French Open tennis (and listened to it on Radio Roland Garros which is excellent).

    Photos aren’t loading right now….wifi in Europe tends to be dreadfully slow at least in hotels.

    Previous Blog Posts:

    Poertschach, Austria…Planes, Trains and Tennis

    Practicing on the Dirt

    Draws are here.

     


  • Practicing on the Dirt

    While everyone is glued to Tsitsipas/Wawrinka…practicing was going on here in Poertschach (Eurosport switched to cycling in the middle of the match but came back, only to go away to catch viewers up on the day’s events thus far…back for the 5th though!)

    I hit with Heidi Eisterlehner from Germany today. Heidi hits a cracking ball, and we had a good hit. We played on a court lined for juniors (a 60 foot court) and it wasn’t easy. The lines are cloth and nailed into the court. And much more visible than the tape lines. The court was pretty bumpy. Apparently it rained a lot the last few weeks and the courts were neglected and got quite soft. It’s warm now, upper 70s, and dry so they should play better day by day.

    The tournament going on here for young juniors has been interesting to watch. A lot of the players have apparently been taught to serve second serves underhand. Older kids are in the chairs calling all the lines (and doing an excellent job). Parents sit Courtside and encourage the kids and give them high fives, win or lose. They are all playing with orange balls.

    In the afternoon I hit with American Bruce Barrett again…we were bumped by my potential first round opponent though, Shirley Friedl & Bruno Renoult, but got in a good hit before that happened.

    They balls they are using here are Babolat Tour and I got a hold of a can today. They are a bit heavier than the Wilson US Open ball, and the courts are soft so one really has to get behind the ball and whack it to make it go anywhere. Dropshots could be very useful here.

    I ran into the legend who is King Van Nostrand today. He won in Bournemouth, England and now is playing here for two weeks. He’s 85 and still hits a great ball. Though he’s only seeded #3, the other players should be very wary (actually, they all know he’s the best).

    The draws and some times are finally online. I play my first match Thursday, the winner of a match played on Wednesday. Draws can be found here.

    Poertschach, Austria…Planes, Trains and Tennis


  • Poertschach, Austria…Planes, Trains and Tennis

    Poertschach am Worthersee, Austria

    Thursday and Friday were travel days…I left California around 11:30am Thursday and two planes and three trains later ended up in Poertschach (with a nine hour time change) at 9pm on Friday. I put my racquets in a Volkl backpack instead of a bigger racquet bag and since they were visible got a lot of questions about why I had three with me. (Answer basically is 18 gage string doesn’t last, particularly on red clay). A player from Vancouver (but a Czech native) was very interested in seniors tennis; the Americans from Charlotte, NC on the train to Salzburg with me also had questions. Tennis is more popular than I thought.

    I had scheduled an 11am hitting session with Bruce Barrett from Florida. He won the 70 doubles at the worlds last year and I know him from a number of tournaments. He’s also a lefty. As it turned out I hit with three lefties last week and again today (twice) and will be playing with a righty (Heidi Eisterlehner) and Bruce tomorrow too. The draws were posted here and it turns out that I’m very likely to play a leftie first round, so my scheduling turned out to be a fortuitous accident.

    Bruce and I hit at the main courts in Poertschach. There was a junior tournament for quite young players (they were using short courts and soft balls), and it was co-ed…lots of girls vs boys matches in singles and doubles. That meant the practice courts were limited. We hit on Court 1 which was in pretty iffy shape. Lots of weeds are growing on it and the lines are half buried under the dirt. We swept them and rolled one end, but the consistency of the bounces were more reminiscent of a grass court than a clay court…some balls rolled, some jumped up or sideways…or both! We practiced twice. Today was sunny, warm, dry and beautiful…lucky us, apparently it’s been raining here for nearly a week!

    The tournament begins on Monday. I have a bye so don’t play before Tuesday. There are 14 players in the draw, and a number of good players. The woman I am likely to play first round was my final round opponent when I played her here several years ago.

    All for now…I’ll add some more photos but I’ll leave you with this view or the Worthersee, and some photos of the planes, trains and scenery along the way.


  • Salzburg!

    Today, Sunday, we spent in Salzburg, Austria. We (I) drove Saturday evening from Neu-Ulm to Salzburg in the rain and it rained all night but stopped around 10am. We checked out of the hotel,, loaded the car pretty quickly (despite the numerous bags the four of us have) and took the #3 bus to Mirabel Palace where some of the Sound of Music was filmed. The gardens were very pretty and also very crowded!

    We wandered towards the big fort, stopping at a Billa (grocery store) for picnic items and Mozart kueglen (marzipan and hazelnut chocolate ganache enrobed in chocolate…pretty tasty!). We wandered down a shopping street full of quaint signs (even McDonalds) and towards the fort.

    We looked at the church which, though plain outside, is ornate and wonderful inside, before taking the funicular up to the top of the fort. I hadn’t done this before, I’d always walked up.

    The views from the fort were spectacular, and improved by the minute as clouds gave way to sunshine. After wandering around the fort and going to the museum, we went down, past Mozartplatz and back to the hotel.

    Salzburg means “Salt Village” in German.

    In the evening we (I) drove to Cesky Krumlov, a world heritage site with a large castle dominating the city. It was dark when we arrived but the city seems to be spectacular. There are lots of old, pedestrian streets which were not a piece of cake to navigate!

    Wifi here is too slow for photos…will post some tomorrow night.


  • Vienna!

    Vienna is a beautiful city. Like Paris, it has a fairly low skyline, though there are some buildings taller than seven stories. The architecture is similar to that in Paris and actually Buenos Aires. There are many old buildings and they are not brightly colored in general but are decorated in detail around the windows in particular. Even the most mundane businesses, e.g. banks and post offices, reside in buildings with grand facades.

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    I arrived by train yesterday and was able to put my bags in the apartment I had rented right away, and then I was off to do some shopping. Shops are mostly closed on Sunday here except for food based establishments and shops at airports and some train stations.

    I found my way to Stephansplatz where St. Peter’s church dominates the area. It has a beautiful tiled roof and is very gothic in architecture otherwise. It was overcast and gloomy and very windy so I didn’t go up to the top till today. However, the area was packed to the gills with tourists and shoppers. I went down Kartnerstrasse, Carinthia Street and wandered in and out of shops till they closed around six. There’s a huge Swarovski crystal shop there, three stories of earrings, necklaces, and figurines. The photos below are from the window display.

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    I had an early night, then today started with a trip up the tower in St. Peter’s church. It was overcast when I went up but by the time we went down the sun came out and the views were nice. It was particularly nice to see the tiles on the roof up close. The interior of the church was lovely too but mass was taking place so we could only see the entrance.

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    Next up on the agenda was to see the Spanish Riding School horses, the Lipizzaner horses, perform. The performing horses are all stallions. This breed of horse is grey or dark grey when young but as they age they become pure white. We first saw some younger horses do dressage steps, then older horses did some more intricate dance steps and jumps. It was quite interesting, though I was on the side in the upper balcony so could only see about 2/3 of the performance. The horses are trained daily and in the summer take a vacation, so I was lucky to see them before they went on break. No photos were allowed though. The photo of the individual  below is courtesy of the web (fredadamsphoto.blogspot.com). The other is from pinterest.

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    After lunch which I had in an Italian restaurant in a little courtyard (thank you google maps), I went back to the Hapburg Palace and viewed the silver collection. It was amazing…the place settings are intricate and that’s just the way the napkins are folded. They ate only on silver for generations till they finally relegated silver plates to placeholders for porcelain. I also went to the Sisi Museum (based on Austrian Empress Elizabeth’s life). She was tragically assassinated in 1898. So what struck me out of all the information on her life was that she was about 5’8” and under 110 pounds and had a 20 inch waist! (And they had a dress of hers…the waist was like that of an 8 year old girl). Also, she had an exercise room complete with gymnastic rings and after exercise had a massage each day. Oh, she was beautiful too and her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph 1 adored her…but on the other hand she was married by 16. So there’s that. After learning about Elizabeth, called Sisi, I saw that state rooms which looked much as state rooms from that era do…lots of red and gold and high ceilings and paintings.

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    Tomorrow it’s back to California and the USA.

    And that’s a wrap on this European trip. Till next month Europe!

    Click here for photos.