ATP NextGen Finals Milan

 Italy and Switzerland (Part 1) - November 2022

Why should we make our cages bigger?
When we can make this world smaller.

Swiss Air - Full Moon in Zurich

Venice - gateway to the East, the land of Marco Polo
City entrance - Bridge of Lights
Ancient Venice Armory Port

The Eastern Edge of Italy - a beach resort in the Summer on the Adriatic Sea

Milan's Duomo - Flight of the Pigeons

ATP NextGen Finals - Milan

I attended the Brandon Nakashima match at Cloud Allianz stadium. A San Diego native and ATP 250 winner, he won the tournament to become the 2022 ATP NextGen Finals Champion.

Last year, it was an 18-year-old named Carlos Alcaraz, now the youngest World #1. Even the finalist, Holger Rune got into the Top 10 this year. The new generation has finally arrived.
Lots of Italian kids were in attendance, and many of them cheering for their trio of Italian stars. They played using modified rules with "Fast 4" scoring, a sped-up shot clock after aces, and unreturnable serves.

If you enjoy good visual theater, there are a lot of spotlights and dramatic movie THX sound effects with flashing billboards everywhere. I imagine it must be hard to concentrate between points as the actual tennis players. The stadium resembles a large high school auditorium, so every seat is pretty close. Outside are a few vendor booths and ping-pong tables for kids needing an energy outlet break.

Hemingway's Italy - Stresa and Isola Bella

Airbnb - Italian Castle at Stresa, Italy
After the tennis, I took an hour's train ride North to visit the Italian Lakes near a town called Stresa.

On 11/11 @ 11AM, all was quiet on the western front. Nearly 100 years later, we remember Armistice Day or Veterans Day here in the USA with the end of WWI.

On that day, I chose to stay on the shores of Lake Maggiore, where Hemingway wrote Farewell to Arms. It was a peaceful town with a boat ferry system to the islands on the lake. Both Lake Como and Lake Maggiore areas are magical!

Isola Bella

The crisp Autumn views from my bedroom window

One important AirBnB selection note for tennis fans - please choose carefully. My Stresa rental was amazing and scenic, the interior decorator was an artist and photographer like me.

However, the Airbnb for ATP Finals in Turin (about a 10-minute walk) had a "nightmare bed".
Find out in the next chapter why I had to spend 2 nights sleeping on the floor to save my back!

FYI - in the end, Airbnb Cover could only refund me 10% off the first night. Caveat emptor: learn what are the red flags you should check *before* staying the 1st night anywhere.

This blog covers the full spectrum of both the highs and lows of Real Tennis Travel stories :)

The Legend of Pinocchio

Pinocchio - Italian Wood Craft Shop

Watch on (Disney+ with Tom Hanks) or Guillermo Del Toro's version on Netflix (Dec 2022)

My interpretation of the tale of Pinocchio is a tale about a single father raising an adopted son alone with Autism. Asperger's is also known as "other World syndrome".

Viewers may note his inherent difficulty expressing emotions as a real boy. He struggles to learn them. He faces challenges in dealing with lying, trusting his own conscience, and misleading selfish cons. Friendship, love, and loss. In the end, he is acoustically isolated as a hostage inside the giant whale, trying desperately to find his father and a way to escape their prison.

A total of 3 versions were published in 2022! I also enjoyed the 2020 version while flying to Europe. A beautifully relatable tale that takes on new meaning when traveling through Italy.

Next Stop - Switzerland and the Matterhorn!

Had a few extra days. Decided to go hiking. Then paragliding.
All before attending the ATP Finals at Turin!

Made it there to meet up with my friend from ATP Rome. We had not seen each other since 2016! I was so happy to share a souvenir shirt I brought with me from my own San Diego Open tournament.

Bridging global tennis from my home to hers in Torino.
Proving that COVID-19 was just a comma, not a period.
Roll with the punches. Our exciting tennis tour continues!

Are you a bird? Or are you a man?

Bounded inside a clear cage
Would you really know the difference?

It is only you who allows another
To tie down your Wings of God.