This video is for all you American football fans, particularly Pittsburgh Steeler fans, who have a small itch for tennis and suffer from an occasional chocolate fit and are willing to travel anywhere even it it means dodging stampeding elephants to satisfy your cravings.

Rafa Nadal became the greatest tennis player in the world this summer and he proved it at the US Open on the Billie Jean King stage by completing the career grand slam in tennis, defeating Novak Djokovic in the final. I think some year he will complete the Grand Slam in the calendar year. We did not see him play at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open or the US Open. We saw the transition of Federer to Nadal as the best in the sport. We saw Federer win the AO, get beat in the quarter final by Soderling at the French to stop his appearance run in the Grand Slam semi’s at 23, and get beat again in the quarters at (more…)

CLICK-to see our search for England's Crown Jewels.

Having just been at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, I wondered what could possibly be more exciting in London.  Walking through Hyde Park several times a day was an extremely pleasurable city activity just across the street from our apartment, but it was not exciting. Then we  discovered, by chance when walking by the park concert grandstand, that Paul McCartney was to perform in the park while we were in London. He was the headliner for an all-day concert that was part of an all-weekend concert, which was part of an all-month concert in the park. We could not believe our eyes, we thought we must be reading something wrong and went home to goggle it and sure enough tickets were for sale and two were ours! The London itinerary did not include 4 days at Wimbledon with McCartney singing in the park where we were staying. This could not be a better tour package!

CLICK-for Sir Paul McCartney singing in Hyde Park, London.

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Nadal had his eye on one thing.

The ghost of Fred Perry haunted Murray.

S.Williams was ace supreme.

CLICK image -In "The Queue" with queue card and instruction booklet.

BUT THE REALLY BIG NEWS WAS………….

Our first full day in London was spent trying to secure tickets for Wimbledon with no luck.  At noon, the tournament sold returned tickets on Ticketmaster. We tried getting returns for hours. Also at 8:30pm,  400 more tickets were released for the back row of Center Court.  Many more hours on the website and no tickets. It looked like we would have to go to Wimbledon and wait in “The Queue”. The next day, arriving on the edge of the tournament grounds, we were greeted by overly-friendly Wimbledon stewards who directed us through a gate for non-ticket holders. A walkway led to a grassy field (more…)

Roland Garros is at the crossroads of Grand Slam tennis.

The train ride from Venice Italy to Paris France is 8 hours long with a 20 minute train transfer in Milan Italy. The only way to get to the train station in Venice, other than walking, is by water taxi. Riding in the canals was a fun experience, as was the train ride to Milan. But once in Milan, all the train seats faced forward, which must have confused everyone for no one could find their right seat or car. For about 20 minutes in our car it was musical chairs. Different languages were trying to settle seating disputes. Once we crossed the French border, the French National police asked everyone for their passports. At the next station stop, about 6 people were taken off the train…and taken somewhere.

Click image to see who belongs to this arm.

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Wouldn't an evening in Paris by train be delightful.

Train travel in Europe is fun, efficient, and inexpensive with spectacular views.  You may even encounter English speaking travelers sitting across from you. The ride is so smooth that when traveling through the dark tunnels you feel that the train has stopped. But if you never bought train tickets in Europe before, this is where the real adventure begins. We forgot to buy a Eurail pass before we left the US and found that a premium is paid if you buy one in Europe. It is further complicated because not all the combination options are available such as the France/Italy pass we wanted. Some of the 2 weeks in Barcelona were spent planning  our 3 week trip to Paris (more…)

Entrance to the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 site of the Barcelona Open

Our first 4 days in Barcelona were spent at the 2010 Barcelona Tennis Open at a tennis club. We stayed in a hotel right outside the train station and took bus 32 right to the stadium.

Gasquet CLICK

If you click the image of Gasquet a tournament player slide show of the matches we watched will appear with the match results.

We sent logs to the Albany Times Union Tennis Blog. If you click this scoreboard you will see our day one log of the event. If you click this scoreboard you will get day three activity.

Verdasco beat Soderling in the final 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

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Its different on the other side of the wall.

After Marrakesh our next stop was the Medina of Essaouira, another city surrounded by a wall. There is a very good bus trip to Essaouira from Marrakesh provided by SupraTours.. It is inexpensive and comfortable on a luxury tour bus. The Moroccan views going by the window keep you entertained.

Essaouira is on the ocean so we expected to do some beach time.  The city has a reputation to be a little more laid back than Marrakesh. We stayed in a Riad which is the Moroccan type of Bed and Breakfast.

Click here for a Essaouira Photo slideshow.

Our African visit to Morocco and South Africa completed our avoidance of the northern hemisphere (more…)

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We arranged a bus trip to  Essaouira next.

Mossel Bay to Kalk Bay to Cape Town to Johannesburg


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What a great country to spend an USA winter in!

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