BENASQUE, Spain - Yesterday and today involved a lot of driving.
As Kyle Lewis mentioned in his blog yesterday, the bus pulled out of Madrid on Friday morning for an hour-long trip to Toledo, where the team spent a few hours exploring.
After that, everyone returned to the bus for a four-hour trip to Zaragoza. There was plenty of free time for dinner and seeing the sights of Zaragoza's narrow, winding streets and alleyways.
Today's drive took the team through Huesca on our way to the Pyrenees. Tonight's opponent, CB Penas Huesca, is holding its training camp in Benasque, a small ski town, so that's where the game will be.
A few people have questioned whether CB Penas Huesca might be trying to take advantage of high-altitude training, thinking it might help tonight. Needless to say, the guys from 5280 feet above sea level aren't very intimidated to play in thin air. Besides, Benasque is still about 1,500 feet lower than Denver.
Most of the drives prior to today took us through areas that were somewhat reminiscent of the Midwest, although the lack of water in the area makes it seem a bit more barren.
Today's drive took a significant change about 90 minutes in, when the bus started winding through mountain roads with long tunnels cut straight through the rock. We passed a turquoise alpine lake that immediately caused nearly every player to move to the right side of the bus and start snapping pictures.
Needless to say, the drive today was beautiful, much more like Colorado or Alaska than what we had seen in the past few days.
The road we are currently on is allegedly two lanes, but there's sure not a lot of room, and those of us on the left side of the bus are getting some pretty clear shots straight down to the river flowing below.
We have passed a few cars, which involved both the car and the bus stopping before the car cautiously maneuvers around us, and there have been a few hairpin turns that required the bus driver to honk his horn to warn potential traffic coming toward us.
Things got a little more eye-opening when another bus had to pass us. Two things made it a little better for us: (1) the other bus' driver was outstanding as she literally passed within inches of us, and (2) we were on the mountain side, while the other bus was flirting with the guardrail.
The Spanish basketball leagues are split into several divisions, and CB Penas Huesca is a Second Division team, while Real Canoe was in the Fourth Division. Honestly, we don't know much about tonight's opponent, although we did hear that they signed an American yesterday. The only thing we can confirm at the moment is that the American is not Nate Rohnert, who will hopefully be heading over to Europe to begin his professional career soon.
Thanks for Reading: Blog reader Tom Douglis sent us a note a couple days ago, asking some good questions. While we already responded to Tom directly, but some other readers might be interested in hearing some of the answers, too.
- Please show us some Spain as well as the gyms! - After a few technical difficulties in the first few days, Mitch Hyder, the Voice of the Pioneers, has already put together and posted a couple of great video packages that are available on the website, and he plans to do more throughout the trip.
- Can box scores be posted online? - Although they kept stats at the game against Real Canoe, the box score they gave us was handwritten and needed a code breaker to interpret it. We are trying to keep basic stats for the Pioneers, but they may not be 100 percent accurate.
- Casajol Sevilla's website lists our game as a "Closed Door Training." Will it be a scrimmage or a full game? - All six games will be full games, although it would seem that one will have a limited audience that likely will comprise our travel party.
Photo Update: Senior Andrew Hooper has been taking an extraordinary number of photos during this trip. For those who don't know, Hooper is an art major and enjoys photography.
We posted several photographs that Hooper has taken, and we will continue to do so throughout the trip. As you will see if you check out his online photo galleries, you'll notice that in addition to many pictures of his teammates and local attractions, Hooper loves to capture creative graffiti.
Fortunately for Hooper (and the rest of us), Spain has no shortage of material for him to shoot.
As always, please feel free to send any questions or comments to email@example.com.
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