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Reisverslag The diversity of Slovenia
19 september 2016
The diversity of Slovenia
Then I drove my old car as fast as it goes through Austria, into Slovenia.
I had agreed upon myself to do whatever the locals do. However, I have noticed there is no such thing as "a local", they are all different: from the health freak to the wine and honey beer drinker to the silent hard working farmer that keeps on smiling….:
The first evening I had an appointment with the pilot that took me paragliding last time. We discussed some possibilities, and as he is an extremely healthy guy, I spent the evening drinking tea, trying to behave like the locals, and again, I was not allowed to pay… Something that is becoming a thing on this trip and I have given up fighting about…in stead I gave him a jar of dark Belgian chocolate spread in return (better than Nutella :-)).
The meeting with the paragliding pilot lead to some new contacts, so, the next morning I found myself in Lesce, talking to the boss of an adventure agency, who gave me free coffee of course. And again, I gave Belgian chocolate in return.
In the afternoon I decided to be a tourist and went to visit the nearby medieval town, called Radovljica. I especially loved the little palm trees by the church (see picture). Then I walked down to the valley, where the Sava-river runs through and it is possible to go rafting, though easy "family"-style rafting.
Near the river, all of the sudden, stood an Indian tent, and some midget wooden houses. As I was curious what these very small wooden shags were for, I stopped to look at this strange place. A man came up to me, he was the owner, and was renting out these tiny wooden houses he made himself. The Indian tent was meant for groups that like to sleep together in an Indian tent…simple reason, don't know why I did not think of that...
He let me have a look inside such a small house, and I saw two tiny beds, where everybody 1 cm bigger then me probably does not fit in, but the houses were beautifully made, and the location by the river was great. We sat down to talk and he told me how a scouts group of 45 Belgian girls were his first customers, they came to camp on his land and apparently left a great impression :-).
I could tell this 60-year old guy loved taking care of the tourists, which he calls his children ( that is maybe why he makes the beds so tiny).
Anyways, he did not have a business card but he was making wooden plates to cut meat and cheese on, so he wrote his name etc on one of these plates and there I stood with this big wooden business card/ cutting plate, that would definitely not fit in my pocket. Something tells me this will be the most original one I will ever get ;-).
After a while, I told him I needed to go and get back up to the village as my car was parked there and the time was going to expire in an hour. He ended up driving me up to the village, where he bought me a typical Slovenian glass of wine, and cheese and ham to go with it. There I sat, on the terrace, with my big wooden business card in the middle of the village square. All curious locals came by to talk and find out who I was. I tried to go Dutch but they would not let me, so again, no money spent...
And so... I was invited to the local honey festival, where I had honey ice cream and a honey beer, which tasted surprisingly delicious. Needless to say, again, I was not allowed to pay for it…But luckily, I had some Belgian Duvel beer to give as a present :-).
After all this kindness, I was walking home, still with my big wooden business card, through this short-cut way they had explained to me. And I would not be me, if there I got tangled up in a bush full of thorns and... a scar, right in the middle of my face…
Like this, I arrived in Zgornje Jezerko, in the Alps near the Austrian border, happy that me and my car made it, as we both are not used to driving in the mountains. Here I am stayed in the oldest farm of the valley, from the 16th century. It is a very nice place where you also have the option to sleep in the hay barn, camp, get a room or even a house. It is too beautiful to describe in words, so I will add pictures. Also, there is the sweetest teddybear-like dog, lots of cats and chickens, horses, cows and sheep and ducks and so on, running around everywhere.
However, here they are not so gently as the man I met in the valley of Radovljica. No-one had time to explain anything, they did not even ask if I had to eat or drink and did not offer food either (except for breakfast), but I have a car full of cookies and orange juice and I found my way around, though it has felt awkward to be all alone and no-one to talk to. Life on the farm is clearly hard work and I would love to be able to offer them some helping hands one day.
Nevertheless, the other day I finally got a meeting with them after breakfast. The meeting was brief but for now I got all the info I wanted and a very good, new contact. Also, they seemed to be open to my ideas. Unfortunately, but understandably, they did not have time to accompany me, but assured me it is very common here to go walking into the mountains by yourself. As I do believe it is important to challenge yourself, and I always try to adapt to what the locals do, off I went to the top of this mountain, from 990 meters high I went to a 1600 in just 1 hour time as they told me that is the time it should take and there would be a hut without electricity but with a chocolate bar (!) up there, and they gave me the key to the hut .
As I was alone in the forest and later on the top, and nature was quiet, I could hear my heart banging like crazy, though I honestly do not know if that was because of the effort or because I was scared a bear would mistake me for a sheep or so... and even more scared by the thought I needed to get down again as well. I have this thing: going up is usually no problem, but even if I need to walk of a stairs which has nothing to hold on to, I freeze in the middle of the stairs. So, I squeezed the big key to the hut the whole time in my hand and it took me longer coming down then going up, but I am very happy I can now say: I did it :-)!
I walked down all the way all by myself and it was not exactly an easy paved trail. Afterwards I treated myself on a chicken salad and 2 chocolate crepes with whipped cream in a hostel down the road, where I talked to the very nice owner as well :-).
I wish I had had the time to climb another mountain here, but unfortunately, I had to leave this beautiful valley and move back to Bohinj, from where I will try to take a car train to the Soça valley, where new adventures and other people are waiting for me…
And of course, this morning, when I wanted to pay for my 2 nights at the farm, they would not let me, "with the eye on a good cooperation" they said, which made me so very happy, as I believe this very special place has a lot of potential to make many of us smile and forget any worry we may have.
Luckily I had some Belgian trappist (Chimay) with me to thank them with, and I could explain about the monks brewing beer in Belgium :-).
PS: I am running out of jars of Belgian chocolate and beer fast so if anyone is heading this way, please bring me more :-)))!!!
Foto's bij verslag (13)
20 september 2016 21:24 | Door: Anneke
Wat een avonturen al in zo'n korte tijd! Klinkt allemaal goed Iris en erg leuk om mee te lezen :-) Goede reis!