18 August, 2012

We finally got our groove back! (and just in time!)

It turned out that the bug we caught was a stomach virus that quickly swept through the rest of the campsite.  We heard that it also spread through campgrounds in nearby Croatia, a viral souvenir carried along, no doubt, by travelers passing.  Even after we recovered physically, however, we just couldn’t reclaim our normal vacation Mojo.  We showed up for concerts that were cancelled at the last minute, took hikes that turned out to be dead ends, got a ticket for accidentally driving an a bus lane and arrived at museums right at closing time.  And the boys were bickering nonstop.  Usually they get along very well, but the past few weeks they’ve been constantly on each other’s nerves.  (And on ours.)  A couple of days ago it came to a head and I was ready to pack up and go home.  Or maybe just ready for the boys to pack up and go home.  ;-)  But I’m so glad we didn’t, because suddenly our luck turned around, and funnily enough it was a huge thunderstorm that caused it!
M has been wanting to travel higher into the mountains for a couple of weeks now.  We finally got our act together and drove out to Velika Planina and took a gondola up 1500m for a spectacular view of the valley below.  Except for that the very second we stepped out of the gondola a huge cloud front swept over the mountains and blotted out the view.  ...and then it started thundering and lightning.  And the boys started bickering again. 
So M and I did what any well-thinking person would do:  we started hiking straight up the steep slope towards the next ridge.  And the kids were moaning and groaning, but they were getting slower and you couldn’t hear them very well anyway above the sounds of the thunder.  

*NOT* amused.
We hiked for a half hour, straight up, eschewing the easier paths along the way, which turned out to be a good thing because right as we happened to reach a ski hut it started POURING.  We shared a long wooden table with other Slovenian hikers and drank coffee and then later beer and watched the rain come down in sheets outside.  And it was so bizarre and unfortunate that we all looked at each other and started to laugh—we ended up having a really nice time! 
The storm continued and was so bad that the ground station send taxis up to rescue us all and we piled into rickety, leaking old Yugoslavian SUV’s for a hair raising ride down the mountain with a driver who admitted he couldn’t see anything through the windshield, but that it was no problem because he was driving on autopilot anyway.  

The storm continued to rage and everyone else was able to squeeze in the gondola to go down and we stayed behind and the man who worked the gondolas and ski lifts gave us a tour of the engine room and showed us how everything works.  After that we rode down in the gondola together and drove home happy and back in our vacation groove. 
Yesterday we spent a lovely afternoon in Ljubljana—it’s really one of my favorite cities.  We spent a couple of hours in the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit, had a nice supper right on the river and then spent a couple of hours wandering around and enjoying the street performers and the people watching.  Ljubljana is a student town and so vibrant and friendly—it was still teeming with people when we left at 10pm.
This morning M and I got up early and took one of our traditional hikes.  Last week we’d tried to follow  a route to a lookout point and a wrong turn foiled our plans.  Today we figured it out and hiked a couple of hours through the forest up a steep trail- it was so peaceful and quiet and it felt great to be physically active!  Suddenly we came out into a clearing and saw the most spectacular view of the valley, surrounding villages, mountain backdrop and Lake Bled in all its glory!  We had brunch at a small mountain hut and enjoyed the breeze and the view—it was one of those memorable moments and a fantastic way to close out this vacation and end on a good note. 
We’re now back at the campsite packing things up.  The boys are at the lake swimming with friends and I guess it’s time to close this and help fold up the tent.  I love Slovenia—plan to write a complete ode to the country later in a separate post.  This is a wonderful place to spend a vacation and we will definitely be back…

1 comment:

Goofball said...

interesting story