Yesterday we were intending to get to Stanjel, but our trusty navigator (Ruzow), this time, led us through windy mountain passes and little back roads. The journey took much longer than expected and by the time we got to a stunning blue lake with hamlets dotted all along the shore, we were all terribly motion sick and desperate to find a place to sleep.
Even though it is high tourist season in Slovenia, specifically Istria, we have not booked a single night’s accommodation. We just arrive in a place with our car and ask around for space for six for the night. If available, we stay the night. If not, we simply move on.
As we drove down to the lake, we saw a little stand inviting customers to a restaurant and apartments. It was right on the bank of the stunning blue-green lake! Mum went ahead to enquire from the lady at the restaurant if they had any space. (She was also the owner of the apartments.) By the time Eulain, Esto and I got to the apartment, Mum said excitedly: ‘We are staying here, in this stunning place, tonight! The lady was so friendly. Children, you choose your beds first, and your Dad and I will take what’s left.’
It was Esto and my turn to choose beds first. I am very proud of my little brother, and how he is growing up to be a lovely boy. As we inspected the beds, he said something I had heard several times from Dad before, but would never have expected to hear from his mouth.
‘Kali, let’s be mature.’ He said this very solemnly, his big, bright blue eyes looking into mine.
‘Yes! That is right, so what is your plan?’ I asked.
‘You know how it is our turn to choose our bed? Well I thought maybe we should be mature like Dad always says and choose the little bed so the others can have the big one.’ His eyes were blazing with excitement. Esto has always had a soft, loving heart, always willing to help and do things for others, but now I could really see this bright light shining through.
There was a tiny single bed and a double bed in the one room, and then a double sleeper couch in the tiny living room. We chose the tiny single bed, Ruzow and Eulain chose the double sleeper couch, and we left the double bed for Mum and Dad. I didn’t mind if I needed to squish in the tiniest single bed in the world. I am so proud of Esto. He is learning so much during this adventure and I get to share it with him. This is just one of those many special moments I will never forget.
We couldn’t wait to wash away the long, hot and uncomfortable journey by plunging into the cool lake water. We played for a little while, but nearly froze to death. Mum and Dad were sitting at the little restaurant, enjoying an ice cold beer, and drinking in the stunning surroundings.
Not long after our swim, we sat down to a lovely picnic dinner at a table next to the water. It was so pleasant to sit down and have a meal together in such an amazing place. A fitting end to an eventful day.
The next morning, very early, the others were running in the area around the lake. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as time alone has been rare during this trip) I didn’t go. I had badly hurt my toe and lifted the nail the day before on a bike. I stayed home, having a quieter start to the morning.
A little while later, I met the others swimming in the lake. Dad and Ruzow dragged two of the kayaks from our apartment into the water. We had loads of fun paddling, surrounded by the alps glowing in the beautiful morning sunshine.
The time came to leave the wonderful place we found and continue our journey towards Istria, Slovenia. I will treasure the golden hours we spent here forever.
Until next time,