Slovenia restored my faith in humanity

Where did all the love go? Apparently, to Slovenia. I’m amazed at how nice Slovenians were to us during our visit last June!

The following situations haven’t made it to the vlogs because I don’t believe in filming every single thing that happens during a trip, in a sort of self-inflicted Truman’s Show — especially when it involves other people. However, I’d still like to thank four locals publicly for having made our stay in Slovenia a lot more special.

To the man that gave us shelter from the rain in Bled

We got caught in the rain on our way to Vintgar gorge, which forced us to take shelter under the roof of a house. We weren’t there for long, though. The house’s owner, a man well into his 60’s, noticed us and invited us to sit underneath a parasol in his backyard. He fed us a plate of fresh cherries and did his best to chat with us in English.

Turns out he’s been to Utrecht, where we live, some 25 years ago, and he still remembers a sentence in Dutch: “kijken, kijken en niet betalen” (“just looking but not buying”), mumbled to him by a merchant at a market. We laughed real hard at that one — what were the odds?!

To Acommodation Zorc’s owners, in Trenta

Walking section 23 of the Alpe Adria trail, from Kranjska Gora to Trenta, was a little bit too much for my couch potato body. I ended up not filming the last part of the trail, simply because it wasn’t pretty — and I don’t mean the scenery, which was stunning, but rather my situation. I’ve reached a level of extenuation I had never experienced before.

After 10 hours of practically non-stop walking up and down steep mountains (under a 27°C heat!) my feet got swollen and I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore. To make things worse, the trail was longer than it seemed on the app we used to guide us and, since Trenta is a teeny tiny village in the middle of nowhere, houses were very far apart. So, seeing a sign saying “Trenta” didn’t actually mean we had arrived — not even close. Tiredness and pain eventually spoke louder than my willpower, and I started crying because it felt like I was on a road that led to nowhere.

I’d probably get a lot more views on that video if I had filmed myself in such a state (“couch potato decides to hike, guess what happened!”) but, hey, once again, I’m not into self-inflicted Truman shows. Some things are better kept private.

Just when Hugo thought he’d have to carry me, it occurred to him to call the B&B’s owner for help. Turns out our accommodation was just a 5-minute drive away, and she promptly came for my rescue. Best car ride in 29 years of existence!

We were planning on walking Section 24, all the way to Bovec, the next day, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to. So, at the breakfast table, we changed our plans: we’d leave our luggage at the B&B, walk just a little bit of the trail so I wouldn’t miss out on seeing the Soca river, then walk back, grab out stuff and take a bus to Bovec.

The owner and her husband overheard us and said: “but that way you’ll only see the river’s source, not the prettiest part of it! Why don’t you guys walk for as long as you want, then when you don’t feel like walking anymore, call us and we come pick you up and take you to Bovec by car?” (section 24 goes alongside a road, which makes that possible).

Once they dropped us in Bovec we wanted to thank them with more than just words, and the only way our poor selves knew how was offering them some money, which they didn’t accept.

So here’s another way I can give back (besides sending them stroopwaffels): if you’re ever in Trenta, please stay at accommodation Zorc. I can’t recommend it enough. Not only because the owners are some of the nicest people we’ve ever met, but the B&B is also pretty damn good.

To the bus driver who found my phone in the Bovec – Ljubljana line

From Bovec, we took a bus to Ljubljana, where we slept for another night and then flew back home the day after. It was a four-hour long bus ride, and I ended up forgetting my phone on the bus. I didn’t even realize it, as I tend to disconnect when on vacation.

The next morning, we woke up to Hugo’s phone ringing — it was my number. Wait, what?! Turns out the bus driver had found my phone after heading back to Bovec and he wanted to meet us to give it back. He spoke very little English, but still made his best effort to communicate.

He wouldn’t return to Ljubljana until the next day, but then we’d already be gone. So he said he’d give the phone to his colleague who’d drive to the capital on that same day, and we could go pick it up at the bus station at 5:00PM.

We did so, and when the bus arrived, guess who was there? The man himself, not a colleague. He switched shifts just to make sure he’d give the phone to us personally!

Once again, thank you didn’t seem like enough, but after what happened in Bovec we were afraid offering money would be considered offensive in Slovenian culture (any Slovenians reading this? Please let me know if it would have). So we added a “so much” to the “thank you”, smiled and left it at that. That kinda bothered me, I wish I could have done more. Uhm, I guess I can send the bus company a box of stroopwaffels?

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Slovenia, you’re beautiful. But the most beautiful thing you have is, definitely, your people. Thanks for the memories.