Our First Slovenian Adventure
Today we slept in again - it was perfect. It was drizzling outside, and we wanted to have a slow day. There is no need for an alarm when you have a three-year-old. At 8:30 (a little later than usual) he woke up and started jumping on us, saying “arff, arff” and licking my face because this morning he decided he was a dog. What a way to wake up!
We ventured to the market to get some breakfast and snacks for the day. On the way back, I stopped by a coffee shop for a coffee and once again was surprised by how friendly everyone is here and how well they speak English. I never thought it would be so easy to get around this country. When I ordered my coffee, I mentioned to the barista that I thought people here spoke better English than many other countries in Europe, and he simply said “we know” with a smile.
After breakfast it was raining a little, so we decided to find a few things that Andy would enjoy indoors. We headed out (in our car) to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. This ended up being one of the best day trips we have had so far - according to Andy. As soon as we drove out of Ljubljana, the rain stopped, and the sky was a magnificent blue.
We arrived at the caves first. The Postojna caves are the largest caves in Europe. There are tours every hour in English and several other languages. The tour begins with a two km ride on a train through the caves, followed by a 1.5 km walk through various caverns, over bridges and up hills, and then two km more on a train.
I had to watch my heart rate and go slowly, but every day we have walked up large hills and up hundreds of stairs, so going slowly and taking my time is becoming very typical. I don’t think we have had a single day of taking fewer than 10,000 steps. Andy loved the caves. He loved the puddles to jump in, the lizards, the train ride and being in a cave. The tour was about 1.5 hours, and we were hungry when we left.
As we walked down the hill to get some lunch, there were several shops along the way in which to buy souvenirs. One shop, which was full of crystals, caught my eye. I never used to think twice about crystals, but after working at (link: https://withloveandlight.com text: the Center for Love and Light) and being around so many intuitive people, I have learned a thing or two about crystals. However, I wasn't completely sure which to choose, so I sent a text to my friend Anne for advice.
After spending far too long walking around the store holding various crystals in my hand, I decided to buy one that Native Americans considered important for healing and calm - how perfect. I picked it prior to reading what it was for! Andy settled on a stone know to help with creativity, and Brian picked one for compassion and love. If you had asked me five or even two years ago if I would have spent money on crystals, the answer would have been a resounding “No!” but things change. I wonder if it was meant to be that I found the crystal I will carry in my pocket from now on in Slovenia - where some of my ancestors are from.
The next stop was Predjama Castle. The Castle is one of the last remaining castles built into cliffs. It was incredible. I was completely surprised that Andy loved having his own audio guide. He wore it around his neck, and we helped him enter the numbers so that he could “hear the stories” as we passed through each room.
There were two areas of the castle that he loved - one was the room where he could ring the bell (to let people know intruders were coming) and the other was the attic, where all of the armor was kept. There were two helmets he could try on, and he kept saying, “Look, Mom; I am a knight.”
When we arrived home from our adventure, we found a large outdoor screen in the park adjacent to our flat. We saw people waving Slovenian flags, and we saw beer stands and hundreds of people watching….basketball. That’s right: basketball, not soccer. When I initially heard the cheering,I was 100 percent sure there was a soccer game on – we had no idea basketball was so popular in Slovenia. It was the final game of the FIBA EuroBasket championship between Slovenia and Serbia. After a few minutes spent watching the game on the square (it was 8:30 p.m. and Andy needed to sleep - if we had been alone we would have stayed) we went back to our flat.
Once inside, we felt like we were in a stadium, as the cheering, horns and yelling were so loud. Then, Solvenia beat the Serbians 93-85 and fireworks, cheering and shouting erupted throughout Ljubljana. Looking down the river to the east, we could see more fireworks in neighboring towns. Then, as I looked out the window, I saw people running down the street with Slovenian flags in tow. It reminded me of when I lived in Boston and the Red Sox beat the Yankees (P.S. I am a Yankees fan and was not happy that day). About 45 minutes after the game, the whole square began singing the national anthem – what a night to remember, and I wasn’t even at the game!