Friday morning we drove back down to the river and ate breakfast at a cafe nearby. We watched a group of kayakers and rafters getting ready for an adventure. It reminded me so much of Idaho. The breakfast was really good too, everything tastes better in the mountains.
Sanja’s boyfriend, Saso (pronounced Sasho) told her about an old road built by Russian soldiers during World War I. It follows the Soca River up across a mountain pass, and some of the original stones are still found in the switchbacks. It was the kind of road that would make Eli really carsick, but the views were the well-earned payout.
The rock was so white! Sanja pointed out to me that the stone in the Slovenian Alps is so bright that from far away the peaks look snow-capped, but really it’s just the stone.
(The mountains in the background are the perfect example of the white stone looking like snow.)
Once we made it to the top of the pass we hiked around a bit for better views. Then we just sat in a meadow and appreciated the majesty.
Our mountain friends. We got a good laugh out of the lady who was trying to feed a banana to the sheep.
The lovely Sanja in the lovely meadow in the majestic mountains. And the green grass grew all around all around…
On our way back down the other side of the mountain we stopped at this small cemetery, built for 63 Russian prisoners of war who were killed in an avalanche while building the road.
We stopped in the city of Bled, where I saw the only Americans I saw during my entire visit to Slovenia. (As far as I could tell.) Americans are pretty easy to identify, mostly because when you hear someone who sounds like you, in a country of people who don’t sound like you, you notice. Sanja says Bled is a popular Slovenian tourist stop. There is a really pretty lake there, with a small island that has a church on it.
We sat by the lake for a bit, and then we did the most important thing you can do in Bled, which is get the famous Bled creme cake.
Kremna rezina. Sanja might have laughed at me for getting ice cream too. (Crazy gluttonous American.)
We drove from Bled to Celje (pronounced Selya), which is Sanja’s hometown. It was another pretty drive, but I think I did fall asleep for a bit. What can I say, I crashed from my sugar high.
We put up our feet for a bit in Sanja and Saso’s flat, and then the three of us went out to see Celje. It was really fun having the two of them for tour guides.
Saso and Sanja with the Celje castle in the background.
We ate a tasty dinner al fresco, the weather was perfect, and then we drove up to see the castle. At dusk. Perfect.
Medieval swing set.
More hazy blue mountains.
A great example of the pretty green valleys surrounded by the dense trees.
(When I told Richard I hate my posture in pictures he said it was just my look. My “aww shucks, I’m just Jo” look. Still, I’d prefer something more glamorous.)
After the castle we drove out of town a little ways to a man-made lake that was really serene. We took a walk around it but I left my camera in the car so I didn’t take any pictures. Then we drove back to the town centre per my request for gelato. Then we sat on a bench and had the longest conversation I’ve ever had about bread.
There are so many things I don’t know I don’t know. Sanja and Saso laughed at me sometimes, and then I laughed sometimes when they asked if all Americans are preparing for a Zombie apocalypse. (Reality T.V. at it’s finest…) But really, I think Sanja and I are both curious and intelligent people, and yet we are completely unaware of some fundamental cultural differences. That is, until we sit down and talk about bread and toast and sandwich bread and real bread and sliced bread and rolls and baguettes and so on and so on…
I loved all the things I got to see and do in Slovenia, but I loved my conversations with Sanja and her family just as much. Sometimes it really feels like my brain is growing.
And my heart too.