Well, I made it to my farm stay. And while the first steps off the train more than made up for the stress of getting out here and then beyond, I guess I can say I’m a bit disappointed. I knew trekking out here without a car might be a bit more stressful than it was worth, but I sort of hoped the friendly people, convivial atmosphere, and home cooked food would make up for it. Unfortunately, the owners were out all day until 3pm, so I’m glad I got here later like I did. I sat outside in the sun with the sound of goats and sheep in the background and wrote some long overdue postcards and waited for them to get home. Finally I heard some noise inside, so I walked up to the main door where the sign was now gone, past the family dog, and peeked inside. A blonde woman looked surprised and ushered me outside, asking why I hadn’t rung the bell. Because…why would I ring a bell if this looks like the reception desk?
Anyway, she led me to my room, which was nice and even included a baby carriage area. She told me dinner was not provided but breakfast would be. Hm. Is there anywhere to get dinner? “Maybe in Semic, which is 5km.” Yep, that country road I just walked on. Luckily I bought bread this morning and still have salami and snacks, but it’s not exactly what I planned on having for dinner.
Oh well. In traveling, you win some and you lose some. I saw a part of Slovenia I never would have seen had I not come out here- the country side, the little villages, the small town life. For all I knew, I’d be greeted by a warm grandmother and would be toasting to good health with a big welcoming family. I think Europe also mostly shuts down for the summer. Even in Kufstein and in Bled, everything was quieter, and some hostels said they were about to close. I guess really no one comes these months. Guess Ireland will be better! For now I have my Slovenian-version of Leibniz chocolate covered cookies and fig cookies to munch on, and a little brook to explore near my country house.
I ended up going for a walk down to the source of the river, where I found an old abandoned building with a couple bricks to help get into it. It was kind of cool to see an abandoned building, and I read that the river was actually heavily polluted for a while, so I wonder if the abandonment of the building was related to that. I walked more, past barking dogs and herds of sheep, into a forested area on small trails, and passed corn fields and wide open meadows. The sun was setting so it was a perfect time of day to see all of it and just relax after a busy week. It reminded me a lot of one of my favorite mornings in New Zealand, when I just went for a walk in the countryside before horseback riding and explored right after the rain.
When I got back, I spent time sitting on the balcony outside overlooking the sheep and eating the salami and fresh bread I still had. Nice way to spend a Wednesday evening.
The next morning, I went down to breakfast to find an amazing spread of local foods all spread out- fresh yogurt, a meat and cheese plate, muesli, red and green grapes, marmalade, and eggs. She was happy to tell me that everything was directly from their own animals and farm, and anything that they didn’t have, they bought from the neighbors. Oh small villages. One thing I love about Europe is coming down to breakfast and having a spread all set out for you, usually fresh and always too much food. Even the hot milked the coffee tasted like it was straight fresh from the prior day. She told me to make myself a sandwich, which I was more than happy to do. She’d also researched the whole way for me to get to Plitvice, where the waterfalls are, but by then I’d decided to go to Krka instead since it sounded less touristy, closer to Split, and somewhere I could actually get in the water if it was warm enough. I was still touched by how much she’d put into researching it, and she further offered to drop me off at the nearest train station since she and her mom would be heading there. I really enjoyed talking to her in the car about the different tourists they get- mostly older Americans searching for their roots or Chinese and German businessmen coming to look at textiles and industry in Semic. I’d also read that there was a big military products industry there, so maybe it was that.
Another interesting fact about this random town I’d ended up in: apparently Semic was actually a Yugoslav Partisan base in the Second World War and hundreds of Allied troops and POWs escaped from German prisons were airlifted straight out of here. The others had to continue on down to Croatia and be evacuated by boat from there. Pretty interesting for a place I’d just stumbled upon, near my village of 47 people.
I have to say, despite the trek out here, it was well worth coming to stay on a Slovenian farm- seeing such a small village that I doubt many others have been to, eating some local food for breakfast, meeting this small family, and jus walking around the countryside and passing sheep, burned down farmhouses, and pastures. Wandering the grocery stores in my spare hour (have I mentioned how much I love doing this in new cities and countries??) and sitting at the train station on the way out, I felt pretty certain I was the only foreigner there, and that to me felt priceless after the commercialized overkill of Bled with its big tour busses and overzealous photo clickers.