• Tag Archives Barcelona
  • The Seville Cathedral, Real Alcazar: Sevilla!

    Sevilla, Espana

    August 21, 2019

    Yesterday, Tuesday, was Day 3 of our Spanish tour and it was another long, fun day…though Robin did comment that touring was much harder and more exhausting than playing tennis! We had an early start with a 6am taxi ordered, since there was a warning of a security personnel strike in Barcelona. The check in and security though went smoothly there. We flew Vueling, a discount Spanish airline and again were bused from the terminal to the plane…then back as there was a mechanical problem. We got going though only about 90 minutes late and were in Seville by about noon.

    After dropping off luggage and getting a picnic lunch, we headed out to the Seville Cathedral, the larges gothic church in the world, and the biggest cathedral (previously the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the largest cathedral in the world). It has a massive footprint (to completely cover the mosque that stood there before the cathedral). It was built starting in 1434 and finished in the early 16th century. It is so massive…it’s hard to imagine how it was built, obviously with manpower only. And it’s beautiful…the choir room, the organs and the massive nave and the Gothic retalbo carved in wood of scenes of Christ (it looks like gold). Christopher Columbus and his son Diego along with Kings are buried there. I spent 90 minutes walking around it, before we climbed the tower or Giraldo or bell tower. Unlike other churches in Europe I’ve been in, there’s a ramp up to all but the last floor, wide enough for horses to carry supplies up. There were 34 turns before we reached the staircase, each numbered. the tower is 343 feet high, and the view from the top was great. It’s hot here and I saw a lot of people enjoying swimming pools yesterday. We could also see the bull ring (for bull fighting).

    After visiting the church we had a half hour break then went to the Real Alcazar, a Royal Palace, which, like the cathedral, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jenny Cerff had to leave today so we maximized her time here. Gayle Prejean, a Texas player, joined us later in the day in the palace gardens. The architecture is in the Mudéjar style, a blend of Muslim and Spanish style. The interiors have lots of carved plaster and tile which are very interesting and beautiful, even the ceilings, and an interior courtyard with a long rectangular reflecting pool. The gardens are extensive and include a maze, fountains and peacocks.

    I went exploring and eventually texted Susan to ask where she was…her response…in the garden…well there are 13 gardens at the Alcazar. Eventually Tim and I found them because I asked Gayle to text us a photo of where they were.

    By the time we exited it was 7:30…and I’d exhausted everyone except Tracey. We checked in, got some food and today will have a more relaxing day checking out Seville (and it’s going to be 100+ here today…feels a lot like the Central Valley of California).

    Sagrada Familia & Gothic Quarter

    Guell Park, Casa Mila, & Susan Ate Paella: Barcelona Day 2

  • Guell Park, Casa Mila, & Susan Ate Paella: Barcelona Day 2

    Barcelona, Spain

    Monday August 19, 2019

    It was a long and fun day in Barcelona today. We started early, leaving at 7am for Park Guell. We took the Metro, which stops at the bottom of the park. We took escalators and stairs up. Robin Harris hasn’t decided yet whether the tennis the last two weeks, or the sight seeing is more physically difficult…all I can say is that yesterday she cramped after sight seeing…..I took around 25000 steps, over 10 miles and climbed 45 flights of stairs today. It was a really nice day too, not so hot and humid as yesterday.

    Park Guell was originally intended to be an exclusive suburban area for families and Guell commissioned Gaudi to design the estates in 1900…the location eventually proved untenable for families (too far out of town), and Guell closed the area 14 years later but not before Gaudi designed aqueducts, walking paths, and put his mark on the property, which is now owned by the city and is World Heritage site. We enjoyed seeing the lizard, the entrance and porter’s lodges and the undulating bench of the Nature Square and of course all the mosaics. The views were good too, of Barcelona. We also climbed up to the crosses after we left the Monumental Zone of the park (the only area requiring a ticket for entry).

    After we left the park area, we went to shop…Uniqlo, Decathalon and Uno de 50. Tim, Susan’s husband, went to visit the Gothic Quarter. We met up at 2 to go down towards the water for lunch via the Metro again (the T-10 card, good for 10 rides, and which can be used for multiple people is a bargain at 10,20 Euros). We found the recommended place in a quiet square off the main drag and had a Spanish lunch…Seafood Paella for Susan, Tim and Tracey, Hake for Robin, veggies for Jenny and I had good octopus and sardines (small plates and shared). We all had some Patatas Bravas, which were excellent (chunks of fried potatoes, served there with the sauce on the side). Susan even tried a bite of the octopus, and had some paella. About half way through, I told her that she was eating squid with the rice (along with shrimp). She was quite surprised (I think she thought it was chicken). The sardines aren’t like the ones in the USA, they are small, whole fish, grilled (and very tasty).

    In the evening we went to Casa Mila, which was designed as an apartment house by Gaudi for the Mila family who occupied one entire floor. It was so interesting…modern with lots of light and the details…the molding around the doors and windows, and the roof where the chimneys are disguised and become works of art were fantastic. The view from the roof was great too.

    We are off Tuesday to Sevilla where more fun awaits.

    Sagrada Familia & Gothic Quarter

  • Sagrada Familia & Gothic Quarter

    Barcelona, Spain

    Sunday August 18, 2019

    Barcelona…hot, muggy, crowded and wonderful. We had a late start to the day since we arrived here about 1:30am from Lisbon. Susan’s husband Tim flew from the States and arrived early in the morning and let us into the apartment we rented.

    In the morning Tracey & Robin and Susan & Tim decided to go to the Gaudi House, Casa Batilo today. I strongly recommended it, but as I had been twice, didn’t go a third time. Jenny and I instead headed out in search of the Gothic Quarter and eventually found it, and the Barcelona Cathedral. It was closed to tourists in the morning, since it was Sunday, but the outside, with its Gothic and Gaudi influences, is impressive.

    We wandered back a different way, visiting some small booths of handmade items and past Placa Catalunya and some fountains, to meet up with the rest of the group. We wandered back as a group to the Gothic Quarter and had a tapas lunch (yes, even Susan, a hmmm how to put it….less adventurous eater than most.

    We then taxied to the Sagrada Familia where we had a 4:15 entrance. Sagrada Familia is an amazing church, unlike any other. Gaudi saw things so different from normal mortals…I think he saw the world of architecture like Federer sees and tennis ball and court…differently from mere mortals. We went up the Nativity tower and the views were nice, and we could see part of the cathedral’s decorative elements up close. The light both before and after that excursion was really good that time of day and warm, with the sun coming in the warm colored stained glass windows.

    Tomorrow we get another early start, so that’s all for now.

  • World Championships: The End; Barker Wins EIGHTH! Singles Title & Wright Wins 7th Doubles Title in Portugal

    Somewhere between Lisbon & Barcelona

    Saturday August 17, 2019

    The World Championships ended in Portugal today. They were a great success. This is a partial overview of the final day; I’m on an airplane en route to Barcelona…no internet. All matches described were finals.


    Diane Barker played a near perfect match to beat Susan Wright 62 63 and win the 60 singles.

    Robin Harris and Ross Persons lost to Ros Balodis/Peter Hampton in 60 mixed. Ros and Peter played an excellent match.

    Mark Vines and Glenn Busby fell in the doubles final in a match tiebreak 10-8 to Aussies Peter Hampton & Michael Ford, and Glenn won the singles in men’s 60s.

    Wright/Pat Medrado beat us in the women’s doubles final 63 75; we nearly mounted a successful comeback in the second set because we were down 40 and just trying to get a game…we got more aggressive, I served and volleyed and came into net all the time (Robin already does that) and it changed things. Susan was a rock, didn’t really miss a ball all day and Medrado was also solid and mixed things up. It was again extremely windy…we were both covered in red dirt by the end of the two hour match.


    Klartje Van Baarle won the 55 singles, dismantling yet another opponent with the loss of only four games (Marie from France). She added the 55 doubles with Mary Dailey,
    USA, 63 76 over Fran Chandler/Shelly Works.

    Brenda Foster and Berend Betz won the 55 mixed. I don’t know who won the men’s singles but I believe he was from Germany. The 55 men’s doubles was ongoing when we left, with Polo Cowan/Dan Grossman (USA) winning the first set 76. UPDATE: They won 76 75, so Grossman has a 55 doubles world title to add to the 65s world title he won two years ago in Orlando.

    50s: Taras Beyko won the 50 singles, his second world title. He’s a Canadian. Theresa Catlin from GBR won her first singles world championship. Later in the day she won the doubles too with Siobhan Nicholson over former world champions Lesley O’Halloran/Olga Shaposhnikova.

    The day was hectic; it started with getting all of our luggage out of the apartment and to the club via Uber. We had a super nice Uber driver who went out of his way to get our stuff close to the office where we stored our luggage for the day. Jenny Cerff and Susan Wright went earlier because Susan had to play her singles. Then Susan played singles, Robin played mixed and Susan and Pat played Robin and me. As soon as we finished, realizing it was 5pm, we showered and then had photos taken and booked out of there via Uber.

    Jenny’s Phone Update: Jenny got the Portuguese tennis federation and Uber involved in retrieving her phone from Gabriela, the Uber driver who had it. She was to return it to the tennis club but in the end Jenny’s friend from So Africa who lives in Portugal had to go to her apartment and retrieve it. Jenny does now have her phone and is not letting go! She was politely persistent and it paid off.

    We arrive in Barcelona sometime around midnight (plane delay currently).

    And that’s a wrap on the 2019 ITF Seniors World Championships. I’ll update this with final results soon.

    Draws/Result are here.

    2019 ITF Senior Team & Individual Information, Draws, Results, Photos

  • Hola Mallorca…Hace Caliente!

    Bunyola, Mallorca, Spain

    Today was another travel day. I flew from Bordeaux (did you know that in Europe, some airlines…looking at you Vueling…charge for bags by the leg, not by the trip?).

    My bags and I made it from Bordeaux to Barcelona to Mallorca. The flight from Barcelona to Mallorca takes about 30 minutes but we sat on the runway for a long time so arrived just a bit late. Vueling runs planes back and forth about every hour, so by the end of the day the planes are usually late. Flying early in the day paid off.

    I picked up a rental car, successfully changed the language from German to English and found both my airbnb and the tennis facility, which are only about 10 minutes apart.

    It was Sunday afternoon when I arrived so naturally most stores were closed, though I got water and sandwich makings at a gas station. And a very fresh baguette, something one doesn’t see in a gas station convenience store at home.

    Mallorca is a pretty island…lots of coastline of course but also lots of hills. From the “outskirts” of Bunyola (it’s a one street town) I could see the sea, and the mountains were back up against the town on the other side.

    It was really warm when I arrived, in the upper 90s at 2pm, but cooled off to the 80s by 8pm. I walked down the street and there were a lot of people at outdoor restaurants and cafes (not eating yet…too early), and quite a few bicyclists, motorbikes, and a few pedestrians.

    Bunyola has a small train station and I saw a wooden train stop. Hopefully I’ll have time to take a ride on it into the mountains later in the week.

    Tomorrow I’m off to train, getting ready for the worlds in Portugal which start in two weeks.

  • Saturday Success in Spain

    The Barcelona tournament came to an end yesterday, with finals played in most divisions followed by an awards ceremony.

    I won my singles over Carmen Chilleda from Madrid and was successful. The tournament had pretty glass trophies to go with prize money for the winners and losing finalists. For doubles three was a trophy.

    I watched Heide Orth play Michelle Bichon (Bichon won) with Ellen and Lutz Neumann, then packed to get ready for an early flight to Bordeaux where I play Monday.

    Adios Barcelona, Bon Jour Bordeaux.

  • Friday Night Doubles Under the Lights

    Kerry Ballard and I won the doubles last night under the lights. It was the day that Isner/Anderson threw off the Wimbledon schedule and people were looking at the live scores on their phones. We played just before dusk, around 8pm against Ingrid Bruckner and Sylvia Singer from Austria. Kerry is a superb doubles player and hit winning volleys all night long. I hit a few and some forehand angles. Our opponents were very vocal, commenting on our shots mid point, but we won 60 60. Kerry was literally hungry and went straight to get some pasta when we finished.

    Here is a photo of Kerry, Ingrid and Sylvia with me.

    Andrew Rae and American Dan Grossman were in action here:

    I watched the end of the 50s mixed semis which ended up 8-6 in the tiebreak. Ellen Neumann of Germany played with a Swedish player against two Italians. The Italian woman, Scola, is the top seed in singles and never went to the net. When her partner served they played 2 back Australian style, since she never wanted to hit a backhand. She drove her forehand well though and is quick; she hid her backhand but lobbed well when necessary and the Italians were the winners.

    Yesterday I finally went into the city on the subway and got off right by Casa Batillo where there were hoards of tourists. I was actually going to Uniqlo and wanted to go to Unde50 but ran out of time…beautiful buildings in that area though. 

    I practiced this morning and then walked by the horse jumping area. On the opposite side are the Padel courts of the club.

    I play my singles final at 5pm and tomorrow morning early am off for Bordeaux where I play Monday afternoon with much heavier balls in the daylight!



  • Barcelona Finals

    Today was a mellow day. I warmed up, practiced with Heide Orth for an hour at 11:30, iced, stretched, washed clothes in the sink (I am going to hug my washing machine when I get home), and took the subway to El Cortez Inges for some fruit and chocolate. Then after a late lunch it was time to warm up again and play my 6pm semifinal, which I won 61 60 over Mireia De Gispert Talavera (she said to call her Mary). Not an exciting day but a nice one.

    After my match, I scouted my potential opponents who ended up playing three sets, and saw the end of my doubles partner’s match. Kerry Ballard won 61 61 but the rallies were tough. My opponent is the woman at the far end in this photo.

    There are a few Americans here…I spotted Polo Cowan and Daniel Grossman, who play in the 50s and Grossman also plays in the 65s with Andrew Rae at times.

    Julie Dybendahl, an Aussie who lives in the USA is here too.

    One thing nice about this tournament is that people come out in the evenings to watch matches and have a bite to eat from one of the food truck’s in the courtyard area outside the tournament office. So it’s a good chance to see other players and have a chat.

    Kerry and I play two Austrians tomorrow for the doubles title and we play our respective singles finals Saturday.

    Draws are here.

  • Barcelona!

    I left Düsseldorf Monday afternoon for Barcelona. I took Norwegian Airlines and it was fine full of vacation goers and families. We left a little late but arrived on time and my luggage arrived as well. As you can see, there are not one but 2 languages to consider here, Catalan (at the top, a blend of French and Spanish) and Spanish. L;;

    It’s hot in Barcelona! In the high 80s and humid. It’s a much more casual atmosphere than Düsseldorf or Essen.

    There are a lot of differences between this tournament and Essen. Both are played on red clay but the clay here in Barcelona is harder and higher bouncing. The Club is huge and has soccer fields, Polo Fields (it is the Real Club de Polo after all), a pool and extensive lockers, and Padel (a paddle sport played in a cage on a carpet with sand) courts. Here the lines are painted onto the courts and the bounce when the ball hits the line isn’t as variable as in Essen where there were nailed on lines, but the ball skids when it hits the line, the difference between hitting a slow clay court and a fast hard court. . The balls are quite different. We used the Dunlop Fort Germany in Essen, which is a heavy ball. Here they are using a Wilson US Open heavy duty (hard court) ball which feels quite light in comparison, plus it’s warmer. The style of play of the Spanish is different too, much more topspin, and fewer continental grips observed.

    I played yesterday. The tournament begins at 6pm every day (5pm on the final day) and the last matches are scheduled for 10:30pm. I played at 6pm against a Spanish player who was very fast but not very experienced. She came from Padel and ran for everything but couldn’t finish a point very well and I won 60 60 in just over an hour. I am playing doubles here because the draw is small..8 in singles and 4 doubles teams, spread out over 5 days. However, we did have to play doubles Tuesday night at 10:30! That was pretty weird and I was pretty sleepy. Kerry Ballard (Australia 65s) and I won 61 60 against my singles opponent and her friend. It was fun, they tried hard and Kerry played great.

    This club is enormous with tons of courts, soccer fields, a polo field, swimming pools, restaurants and more. At night the tournament really wakes up. There are food trucks and kiosks and lots of people sitting around chatting and waiting to play.

    The “no coaching” rule doesn’t seem to apply to this tournament. My opponent was talking to her friends constantly during our match in rapid Catalan.

    Word of the day: Confitura (jam)

    It is good to understand how to keep score in the language of whichever country one is playing. I can do this in Spanish, French and German but spelling it…next blog.

    Draws are here. My draws are below. To give you a feel of the timing of this event, it’s 11:12 pm here and the order of play for tomorrow is not posted yet!

  • Barcelona Champion: Tennis All Night

    Yesterday I won the 60 singles in Barcelona, beating the British Clay Court champion, Kim Reed,  62 61 in the final. I played very consistently, but the match was closer than the score, we had some long games and long rallies. We started early for Barcelona, at 5pm and finished just before 7pm. Our doubles was scheduled for 6:30pm but three of the four participants were still playing at 6:30. Erin lost a tough two-setter to Beatrix Mezger Reboul 75 64 and Kerry Ballard fell to Carmen Perera. We started about 8pm against Leanne Swaysland and Kerry and finished just before  11pm, losing 57 75 10-8. It was just a few points that separated us and was a good match.


    We finally got back to the hotel around midnight and packed up for the tirp to Bordeaux today.

    Other winners included Heide Orth, W75, King Van Nostrand, M80 and in mixed, MJ Pachl won the 55s.

    Today Erin, Hannah and I went to Casa Battlo, created by Gaudi around the turn of the last century. It has a water/ocean based theme on the inside and is creative, livable and pretty.

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    After that visit we walked through the Gothic quarter before heading back to the hotel.

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    We flew to Bordeaux and then had a long wait in line when we got off the airplane, as there was a passport check, even though we were flying from a Schengen country, probably due to the terrorism lately in France. We found our apartment, then wandered around Bordeaux and had dinner in the square by the church. Now we have to get used to getting up early and playing tennis before dusk!

    cathedralCANHannah Erin

    Photos from Barcelona: https://photos.app.goo.gl/alD0rfmCbTXULVv63

    Photos from Bordeaux: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ty4X78LOmIxqKDnv2

    Draws: Barcelona: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100038580

    Draws: Bordeaux: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100039294

  • Success in the Semis in Barcelona

    Today was much like yesterday; Erin Boynton and I practiced in the afternoon after a late breakfast, then got ready for our evening matches. We played at 6pm singles and 7pm for doubles.

    I played the #3 seed Encarnita Gomez Ruiz and won 60 60. We had some good points and she was quite a bit stronger than my opponent yesterday. I play Kim Reed from Great Britain (though she lives in Spain) tomorrow. She won easily in the semis and is a very good player so it will be a tough match tomorrow. She’s steady, fast and crafty.

    Erin Boynton broke her opponent…she played the top seed Laura DiVittori and won 61 40 ret. She lost to DiVittori by similar scores a couple of years ago but is playing much better. After DiVittori retired with a foot injury Erin, as Erin does helped her figure out what her injury was and told her how to help it get better. So she basically broke her then fixed her!

    We were scheduled for 6pm singles and 7:30 pm doubles but started doubles around 8pm since we needed to change and Erin had to fix Laura. It’s not been hot her but it’s been quite humid. Today was particularly mild as it was overcast all day.

    We played doubles on court 35 which as one player, Quentin Massey said meant you have to take Bus #16 and change to the #25 to get to the court…this place is huge and we were a loooooong way from the clubhouse by the time we reached the court. There were singles sticks still on the court (and of course no sign of any referee…other than the one in the office I’ve not seen any sign of a roving referee all week) and the net was an inch low but there was no way to raise it. On the plus side, these nets are the tightest I’ve every seen which is great. And the groundspeople are doing a great job of prepping the courts before and between matches, sweeping, lining and watering them.

    Friday (2)

    We played two Austrian players and won 60 60 and finished around 8pm. Our probable doubles opponents tomorrow night, Kerry Ballard and Leanne Swaysland, were scheduled for 10:30 and Kerry just started her singles around 9pm!

    The tournament has food trucks, one with pasta etc, one with gelato and ices, one with local things like prosciutto, melon and lettuce salad (very good), hamburgers and steak and another with snacks, sandwiches and wine. Tomorrow we think we play at 5pm with doubles to follow.

    Draws can be found here: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100038580

    Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/alD0rfmCbTXULVv63

  • Barcelona: Tennis Under the Lights

    I played my first round match last night at dusk. I was scheduled for 7:30 and got on closer to 8pm. I was fortunately following King Van Nostrand, who wrapped up a win here in the men’s 80s right before my match. I played Patricia Labat Laberrere from France. I’d played her a couple of years earlier in Mallorca and we had good points there. I was a bit more aggressive this time I think and won 60 60…we didn’t have a lot of long rallies and finished just about sunset, and the lights had come on over our court.

    party thursday (1)


    Erin Boynton played a Spanish player and won 60 64. Her court was out in the back and had the older style lights and one light was out (though she said she never realized it). Her match started late this time because her opponent was 30 minutes late because she drove and couldn’t find parking. (The tournament had sent out an advisory to players that there would be no parking on Thursday due to a 120th Club Anniversary bash.) So it was pretty dark on that court and as it got cooler and the balls heavier, her opponent came alive and got a lot of balls back. Erin adjusted and won about every other point with a drop shot!

    The anniversary party went on apparently till 2:30 am…my room was on the opposite side of the hotel from the party but Erin’s was just above the party which apparently featured a horrible singer till 2:30am. The club was issued a permit to have loud music till 2:30am too so there was no way to stop the racket. It’s Spain. (Erin’s room is on the left side in the photo below…mine on the right..I was lucky!)

    party thursday (3)party thursday (4)party thursday (2)

    Tonight I play the 3rd seed, Encarnita Gomes Ruiz from Spain and Erin plays the top seed, Laura DiVittori from Italy. Then we play a couple of Austrians in doubles. (We last played doubles 3 days ago! ) We start at 6pm for singles and have doubles scheduled at 7:30 which is pretty optimistic scheduling by the referee I think.

  • Sightseeing by Day, Tennis at Night in Barcelona

    This week I’m playing a Grade A tournament in Barcelona, Spain. The tournament is quite unusual in that play only begins at 6pm each night and the last matches are scheduled not before 10:30pm! On Tuesday Erin Boynton from Canada and I played our first match, in 55 doubles, against two Spanish players, one of whom was a member of the Royal Polo Club where this event takes place. We played at 10:30 at night, under the lights and managed a 61 61 win. the match finished after 11pm so we had a long walk around the club back to our hotel, as the gate to the hotel from the club closes at 11pm.

    doubles at 1030 (1)


    The Royal Polo Club is huge, with soccer, field hockey, polo fields, Padel courts, and lots and lots of red clay courts, plus a clubhouse, restaurant and pool area. And just across the street is another tennis/padel/fitness club that’s also quite busy. Sport seems to be big here in Spain.

    It turned out that one of our opponents Magdalena (goes by Malen) is a curator at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Erin’s daughter Hannah just graduated with an Art History major, so she was delighted when she found this out. We ended up going to the museum yesterday, Wednesday and Malen gave Hannah a book on the museum that she’d help write. The Picasso museum here was mostly art from his early days. He was a child protégée, born in 1881 and most of the art was from the 1890s, but some was later. He actually painted landscapes and people who looked like people when he was young.

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    After leaving the museum we went to the nearby church which was beautiful. The whole gothic/old town area of Barcelona is quite interesting and vibrant. We walked to Las Ramblas to take the subway back to the hotel. We are pretty good at using the subway here by now. You can buy a 10 trip ticket which is convenient and not too expensive and the subway goes for miles.

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    Erin and I practiced in the late afternoon and Erin played a singles match in the evening. It was supposed to be a 7:30 match but started late since her opponent arrived late, in street clothes and then had to go back to her hotel to change, which she was allowed to do.

    The club really wakes up at night. There are food trucks at the tournament, some other booths and lots of people watching matches, eating dinner or waiting for matches.

    Today I play at 7:30 against a French player..7:30pm that is.

    Draws can be found here: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100038580

    Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/alD0rfmCbTXULVv63

  • California —-> Barcelona

    It’s been a busy and very fun week. I went up to the Monterey/Pebble Beach California on the Central Coast for my niece’s fairytale wedding in Pebble Beach, where we had three perfect sunny days, a rarity in July on the northern and central coast…normally it’s foggy and cold…instead it was mild and sunny and oh so gorgeous. I did have time to visit a few of my favorite spots on 17 Mile Drive one morning.

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    After the wedding, I had a couple of hours sleep, then drove to San Francisco and flew to Barcelona for a tournament. The tournament is being held at the Royal Polo Club in Barcelona, a huge club with (you guessed it) polo fields and red clay courts…and padel courts (that was not a misspelling), and lots of soccer fields plus some nice pools and restaurants. The tournament is weird in that there is no play before 6pm and matches have starting times of 6, 7:30, 9 and 10:30. Tonight, Tuesday, I have a 10:30 doubles match! I’ve not played that late since it rained a lot at the 35 grass and we had to start a doubles match around midnight.

    I’m playing doubles with Erin Boynton from Canada. Yesterday Erin and I went to the grocery store for supplies, then  practiced. We were assigned court 28, but never actually found it, but luckily for us, there was another court open and we were able to hop on it for a couple of hours. Later Erin, her daughter Hannah and Iwent to a tapas restaurant and also had paella.  We walked by the Gaudi House, Casa Batillo, a really cool examle of his architecture.


    The courts here are pretty slow but the Babolat Roland Garros balls combined with the high bouncing red clay make the courts a little faster and definitely bouncier than the clay in Germany for example. The courts are pretty good though.

    There are lots of clay courts, padel courts and soccer fields near my hotel. The Polo club is on one side and, below, the David Lloyed club is on the other side.


  • Night Tennis

    I played my first round match in Barcelona tonight. Checking in was chaos!  Players were there early but there was no way the organizers were going to allow players on court even a minute before 6pm! This results in a mad dash to try and get on a court right at 6pm, while the people at the tournament desk are still trying to get everyone checked in. It’s definitely NOT a tournament run on Finnish time! It’s more “manana time”.

    I got on a little after 6pm and played Silvana Gonzalez from Spain, via Uruguay. She smacked the ball, but was quite erratic, so I won 61 60. 

    There was a big change in the weather today, from hot and muggy to temperate and quite windy. The wind made playing tricky but it was otherwise pleasant.

    I probably play the #3 seed next, another Spanish player. 

    Buenos Noches de Barcelona!

    Blog from Mas and Sue Kimball: http://farmnecktennis.net/leaving-the-neck