Thankfully for everyone involved, we ended up taking a bus from Munich to Bled yesterday, and left the vans behind. The drive took us about four and a half hours, not including the 25 minute pit stop in Austria. Despite slamming a triple espresso as soon as we got on the bus, I immediately dozed off as we left, and when I woke up a while later, I was greeted by towering sheer rock faces on either side of the bus as we cruised through the Austrian Alps. The drive was spectacular, and disgustingly picturesque with all the alpine valleys dotted with perfect farmhouses and small groups of cattle or draft horses manicuring the rolling green pastures. I wonder if the people who live here realize how lucky they are to have such a wealth of beautiful natural resources at their disposal all the time.
Getting to Bled was another story altogether. The women who came here last year for World Cup 1 had only good things to say about the course, the scenery, the people, and the hotel. I could feel with our arrival the hotel yesterday afternoon their palpable excitement at finally being able to share all of the delights of Bled with the rest of us.
The view from anywhere is absolutely stunning. From our hotel balconies, from the path along the lake, or from any given point on the lake itself, we are fully immersed in a magnificent display of the very best that nature has to offer–the excitement of which I think will take a few days yet to sink in or wear off. If the locals don’t take time every day to appreciate the scope of the beauty around them, then I certainly will while I’m in Bled. What an incredible opportunity to compete here.
Again we are rowing on cerulean alpine waters–deeper this time, so none of the unmistakeable black shapes of Munich’s aquamarine residents darting around under the boats (at least that we can see…), but the water is equally clear, cold, and enticing after a sweaty practice out on the course. Still lots of recreational cyclists, sunbathers and swimmers, plus a healthy tourist population, so the lake is lively all day long in addition to the World Rowing crews prowling around for practice. Fairly dense, dark green forest covers all the surrounding landscape, which rises pretty dramatically off the shores of the lake. Then, hills and mountainous terrain seem to roll into infinity under sunny blue skies…making me feel quite small, but also quite happy to be exactly where I am.
The boatyard is still fairly quiet as many of the European delegations have yet to arrive, including the big groups from GB and Germany. My quality of life will improve another few points tomorrow when Team Canada arrives (oh…and the USA heavy men), though I have to say I’m already way ahead of the curve seeing as how we are sharing a hotel with both the Australians and Kiwis. This year’s List is practically going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. It almost takes some of the fun out of it. Almost.
A few short happenings and observations from my first 24 hours in Bled:
-a few of the Team Newbies locked themselves out on their balcony yesterday for somewhere between 35-45 minutes because they closed their door behind them to keep the bugs out of their room. This maneuver also succeeded in keeping humans out of the room, and they were forced to wait until their boatmates in the neighboring room came back from the lobby to be let back in.
-Karsten spotted at the course this morning sporting a snakeskin-printed uni.
-don’t step on the black joiners between dock sections: not a lot of support there.
-cheese at every meal. EVERY MEAL. Plus some sort of amazing fried cheese inside a cornbread batter. You have to go in guns blazing to get any of them though–they go fast.
Long Live the Dream,