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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mystic Journey to Land of El Cid

Lady Traci of Pong and I had discussed for sometime the notion to make a journey across the Great Pond to visit the Ancient Land of Andalusia and the southern coast of Spain. Lady Traci's eldest daughter....Lady Brittany of New Harmony currently teaches English to young Spanish elementary school children in the city of Murcia. Murcia is about 3 hours+ southeast of Madrid.

Last week....we returned from Spain with some awesome memories of some great people and great surroundings. We definitely hope to return.....

This first account is literally an international tennis exchange....between this worthy and older Knight....Sir Richard....and some strapping young studly Spaniards named Pedro Luis Sandoval and Paco Francisco. Lady Brittany's wonderful boyfriend Roberto had made arrangements for this Knight to have a tennis exchange on the slow, legendary red clay of Europe at a nice tennis club in Molina, ESP outside of Murcia. Sir Richard is a fairly decent player in his own right...and the sometimes scourge of Wesselman Park known for frustrating younger and stronger players with his crafty game...and wingspan! He wears his Columbia fishing hat to keep his dermotologist happy....and to also make his competition NOT take him seriously.

Watching Pedro and Paco warm-up before Sir Richard joined them on the red caly court....he got a lump in his throat watching these two strapping pros pound their beautifully trained ground strokes back and forth across the dusty clay court. Now we know why Spain wins the Davis Cup world team competition every year these days!......

Both Pedro (in the red hat) and Paco are tennis pros who were products of the Spanish National Junior Tennis program and played satellite tournaments all over Europe....Paco in particular was a VERY strong player and teaching pro that Sir Richard was only able to muster a few points from in a few tiebreakers. I was then informed Paco had trained with years prior and played fairly even with David Ferrer - current top 30 in world Spanish player on ATP Sir Richard did not feel so unworthy as when he lost that last tiebreak 7-0. I was able to save some face and surprise the very strong Pedro in a thrilling 10 point supertiebreaker 10-6. Pedro had overpowering topspin ground strokes....but Sir Richard's Vegamatic-like slice backhand was able to frustrate the younger and stronger Pedro. Sir Richard does NOT want a re-match as he believes payback would be.....hell!

Afterwards....Pedro immediately insisted we partake on the club grounds...the art of tapas and drinking local favorite beer Alhambra. This Knight was overwhelmed with the hospitality...and in fact....we were all communicating incredibly well after that 5th round of Alhambra ales and 6th plate of IS the international language understood by all Knights. This Knight was also introduced to a favorite local delicacy of the Murcia region....Pu Puo....otherwise known as "grilled octopus". Lady Traci of Pong did all she could not to hurl....but Sir Richard made the proclamation : "Tastes like swordfish!". Pu Puo went on to become a favorite tapas of Sir Richard the rest of our 10 days in Spain....much to the chagrin of Lady Traci!

Pedro and Paco would like to become Spanish Knights of the fact.....this Knight was informed that the famous movie from the 1960s El Cid was filmed in southern Spain....and the Knights of the Templar were residents of the historic city of Granada. This Knight will also give an account of our visit to this beautiful city and the world famous Alhambra (Moorish castle on mountain top overlooking Granada).

Sir Richard remembered the far-fetched accounts of his late father Sir Richard Sr....that we were in fact descendants of King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England who fought in the Holy Wars against the Moors in this region....but this Knight also remembered that the Courtney family actually came from County Cork in the southern-most point of Ireland. He smiled and appreciated his late father's gift for embellishment.

You must get to Spain someday.....its a beautiful mix of the modern....with well preserved ancient cities and architecture. Sir Richard also proclaimed that "the Spanish have the best toilets in the world!!" There is also a bakery on every corner of do they love their sweets and fresh baked breads!

I also want you to see how a traditional Spanish family....the Sandovals.....celebrate a normal Sunday Lady Traci and I were overwhelmed with their hospitality.


Sir Richard Lionheart....of Evansville


  1. Excellent Blog Sir R... I love Andalusia... Granada, and Seville always seem soooo much more *Spanish* than even madrid and the north. Glad you managed to make it back out of Europe. The UK is now planning to send the Navy down to pick people up and take them home from Southern Spain because of the worsening flight ban.

    Great Times

    Sir D of O

  2. Thank you Sir David of Oxford....we ran into alot of Brits there along the coast of Spain....Mojocar was one particularly beautiful coastal town that had a Greek Isles feel to it....felt like Santorini!! We are sorry we did not make it to Seville...that is our plan next time. Granada WAS drop-dead gorgeous city....and hard to believe the Sierra Mountains just above the city had skiers and snowboarders on Holiday....while we ran around Granada below in 20 C weather.....crazy.

    I bought a table book on the Alhambra which has some great pics and great stories about the history of the site...especially the Christians and Moors taking turns calling the shots in the region.

    Good luck with your ferry ride to France....wondering when the Icelandic volcanoe decides to stop spitting 55,000 ft into the skies!


    Sir Richard Lionheart

  3. The Original Richard the Lionheart ( who was born a couple of miles from where I now live )...messed around in that southern spain area to-ing and fro-ing on his you were following in your namesakes footsteps.

    Yeah... the Flight ban is hitting us we treat planes like buses here... to the mainland... but it is bringing out the wartime spirit in us travelers as we now get to see more of the countries we are going to by travelling on the ground.

    Some people are coming back from Russia and India by the original overland routes, which i think is actually quite romantic and healthy for the mind, as you get a better mental perspective of where you've been and a gradual change of the culture around you from your own to the destination culture and visa versa.

    Sir D ( whose just been and bought travel sick pills ) of O

  4. Sir David of O!

    I think someone should start the Marco Polo Overland Express Company in the UK...I bet they will get alot of takers right now. Lady Traci is still feeling the effects of jetlag from our trip back across the Atlantic...over a week later!

    Best of luck in your travels....and will over your comments on my next blog about the 2.5 days we spent in Granada. That Sultan who owned the Alhambra back in 900 AD til 1492 AD...what a set-up that guy had!! Loved all the hidden passageways and unique sitting rooms and pools....MOST soothing!

    Cheers from the Colonies!

    Sir Richard Lionheart.....and THANKS for re-affirming that King Richard the Lionheart DID sow some oats around the highlands of Granada and southern Spain!

  5. Excellent blog my friend! Good to see new blood on the site! Every time you sent me an update email of your travels, Lady A and I became a bit more jealous of the adventures you were enjoying!

    Like I said to you, next time we're coming with you...and perhaps Sir D can meet up with us somewhere on the Templar Road!

    I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

    Cheers...or should I say...Aclamaciones!

    El Gancho del caballero de Warrick

  6. I say....lets have Sir David of O make arrangements with a production company in UK....and we can all star in the re-make of El Cid. David will certainly play the Charleton Heston part of El Cid...TOO bad you get an arrow through your armour in the end....but we still prop you up and march you out on your horse before the thousands of Moorish soldiers on the battle plain....who scurry away...because you smell SO RIPE!

    It could certainly win an Oscar for best Foreign Language film....haha!

    JUST a thought!......Hola!! Cafe Con Leche????

  7. Hell with the UK production company, when we have dkWells Productions, Wellness Communications and Kuhn Dog Productions in the House!

    It would be a certified master piece...well at least a great vacation write off! lol

    Of course, we could speak English on screen, with Japanese overdubs delayed by 1 second and Spanish sub-titles! CLASSIC!

    Sir Hook of Warrick...or as he will now become known as in Spain...El Gancho del caballero de Warrick

  8. El Gancho del Burro,..more like LOL... Sancho Panza LOL..

    Sir D ( Hell Sid) of O

  9. Loving all this creativity fellow knights.....packing my bags now for the fields of Andalusia....bring on those Moors....who is going to play that Sultan's part?....I heard Morgan Freeman is tied up for this season....I heard Charleton Heston is STILL available if we need him to play El Cid!!!

    Forgive me Sir Hook for not recommending Wellness Communications for this production!!!

    Sir Richard

  10. So, you think I have the Belly of a Bull?! lol. I'll have you know that I'm paying good money to a Personal Trainer to get lean and mean!

    El Gancho Semental Maravilloso de Warrick

  11. You're forgiven Sir R! It seems that Sir D and I are in the tilts already! lol

    We can always use a life size blow up of a Charleston Heston NRA for the Sultan...perhaps we can see if Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame is available...he is the Sultan of Swing!

    El Gancho el hombre más interesante en el mundo de Warrick

  12. yeah i remember the Personal Trainer Conversation I had..he said "either lose the beer or lose me." I've quite forgotten what his name was now.. :))

    Just send the money to me Hooky and stop drinking beer..that's how you lose a gut.. lol...
    heh..maybe that could be a new Business for me... Sir D's Weight-loss Pension Plan.

    Sir D ( who gonna tote his belly round the 7k course next time ) of O

  13. I like Sir D's Weight Loss Pension Plan...but I won't be a card carrying, or paying customer anytime soon.

    Like living in the past, present and future...I'm going to attempt to lose weight and drink beer at the same time...all while driving you freakin' nuts! lol

    Sir Hook the Crazed Calorie Cruncher of Warrick

  14. that'll be Lite Beer then will it?? it's why it was invented , for people who think they can do both LOL...

    Actually...losing weight ( and keeping it off ) for the over fifties is a simple four point plan, and for a free Sir D introductory offer i'm willing to give away the secrets....;

    A) Eat Only Soup, and mop up the bowl with a slice of brown bread to stop you fainting during the day.

    B) Stop drinking Beer. Period.

    C) Get rid of all the Chairs and Couches in your house, and if youre really serious your bed too.

    D) Do this till the day you die....or at least until they lay you on the floor of the Day-Center with a Minestrone drip.

    WARNING: Weight-loss Programs can make you gassy.

    Sir D ( who used to have a body of a racing snake ) of O