I was camping in France next to a family from Slovenia. I was somewhat apprehensive about travel in a former east block country. I asked them if I could visit them in Slovenia, they said yes, cool. I told Anusa that “I`m pretty entertaining” (selling my visit), she responds with, “Oh no I`m married”, her husband, Matjaz, speaks up and says, “that`s not what he meant”. Maybe a language or cultural mis-understanding, but all is good and they give me their address.
After many many stops I finally find a window of time to visit. I decide to ride my bike from Skofja Loka to LJUBLJANA, Slovenia´s capital and largest city. I thought of just taking the train, but the bike is just to much fun. It´s not the destination but the journey that is so fun. Natasa tells me “it´s simple”, till the road splits with no sign. I wonder around town lost, I finally ask a couple of lycra cyclist and they set me straight. I head back to the scene of the confusion, while riding a cyclist who passed me in the other direction, pulls up next to me and asks about my trailer. After talking, he asks where I´m going? Ljubljana, that´s where he´s headed too and offers to show me the way, that´s easy, YES! We ride gravel roads, over railroad tracks, cut through a farmers field. We pass through this small village and tells me this is where he was born. Now I know why he knows all these shortcuts.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO JANEZ SKVARC FOR SHOWING ME THE BACKROADS TO LJUBLJANA.
I´m going to meet Tyler and Carolyn of TWO WHEEL TRAVEL. I´m at the farmers market, yep, BLUEBERRIES!. We finally hook-up and head to the hostel for lunch and conversation. They´re renting their house out in Portland too. They have an appointment so it´s quick, I hope to meet-up with them before I leave Slovenia.
I visit a rock shop trying to buy a local rock, but no. She tells me that it´s illegal to sell gems or rocks from Slovenia. OK? whatever.
So I´m ready to ride to my host families house. It´s east of town 8km, the bike path ends. I´m getting a little discouraged, I´m thinking of turning around, but in my mind I know these kind of encounters always yield great experiences. I keep riding and I´m still thinking of turning around, no keep riding. I pass back and forth by their house (not knowing it was their house)then I hear a voice calling my name. Apparently Anusa brother was in the bar across the street and alerted her to the fact that I was close by and lost.
Since I have no kids etc., visiting families is always special for me. This visit is even more special, Anusa mother lives with them. She´s 80 something and tends the garden, takes care of the chickens and baby sat when the kids were young.
GRANDMA TAKING CARE OF THE GARDEN
Matjaz is busy organizing a Goulash Cook-Off, where his band will also play. So me and Benjamin cut some wood and make a fire for a BBQ. We have a special sausage that´s from Bosnia and vegetables from the garden (I can´t believe all this, it´s so awesome). I knew I shouldn´t turn around!
They have remodeled their basement, where I will be sleeping. Shower, sauna, kitchenette, and exercise room. Let me just sat I´m glad I got a new sleeping pad. I´msleeping on the hardwood floor.
The next day they suggest I just take the bus into Ljubljana, I think about, good idea. I visit the History Museum of Slovenia. They had a great rock collection that included this stone table.
THE FULL NUDE BRONZE CASTINGS TOOK ME A LITTLE BY SURPRISE
I´ve been in the country 2 weeks and have only seen 2 policemen. I´ve seen more parking patrol (uniformed) officials writing tickets than policemen. There is NO free parking here, I mean almost none. So I interrupt the policeman who is “guarding” the parliament building, he is playing on his computer, we make some small talk. It´s my first encounter with a policeman, yep I need the photo for my every country policemen photo.
I KNOW IT´S ONLY ONE POLICEMEN BUT I FIGURE I BETTER GET IT, JUST IN CASE I CAN´T GET 2 POLICEMEN TOGETHER.
I grab the bus back “home”. Matjaz band is playing this week-end, so the band mates come by and load up the equipment. I tell them how disappointed I am that I wasn´t able to see them play. Wait a minute , they pull out their instruments and start Jamming.
MATJAZ (guitar), SAYS THEIR POLKAHOLICS, HE IS SO FUNNY. HERE´S THE VIDEO
Anusa gets me up for a quick Polka lesson. I´m not that quick a learner, she can tell and sets me back down!
Anusa is a school teacher and school is starting. They wake me early for coffee, I was so asleep I forgot where I was.
I COUPLE OF AMERICANOS AND I´M READY TO RIDE.
The night before we looked at photos from their trip 16 years ago across America Washington DC to San Francisco. But not before a stop in Las Vegas where Pika was conceived.
THIS IS MATJAZ AND BENJAMIN SAYING GOODBYE. What a GREAT family, we had an awesome time hanging out. I was really impressed by all the places they have traveled to. People who travel seem to have life experiences that other travelers like myself find very interesting.
I noticed this while riding to there house but was so anxious to get there, that I took this photo on the way back to Ljubljana.