Team Banook landed in sunny Portugal around noon on Sunday. The driver from the resort picked us up and headed out on to the highway. After a bit more than an hour the highway turned into smaller roads and we twisted and turned up into the mountains through a series of switch backs and small villages. We hadn’t thought to have checked the elevation of the resort but apparently the name “Montebelo” refers to beautiful mountain which is very appropriate as the resort is situated lakeside on a dam in the mountains. I have included a picture of one of our apartments living rooms and the view out the patio door.
Once we arrived and checked in we met Pedro from Nelo and checked out our fleet of Cinqo’s (and a Viper for Michael). On checking the schedule we saw an impressive list of teams sharing the facility this week -Team Russia, Team Moldova, Team Hungary, Team Lithuania, Team Portugal, and Banook Canoe Club. It was great to see Toshko in his element seeing familiar faces on the docks and in the gyms.
Monday was day one on the water. It was cool in the morning but warmed up to 18 by midday. The team all got well over 30km of paddling in. Morgan was able to join the Moldova female canoe paddlers and got along really well despite the language barrier. Michael managed to stay dry for his first time in a Viper kayak (and paddled about 40km less than Alex). After dinner there were a few blisters to attend to but everyone was in good cheer and looking forward to starting tomorrow with a good run to give the hands a bit of a break, then back on the water.