Slovenia 1993

Yet another rainstorm: thunder and lightning had started up in the mountains and crept down to the valleys to drop pelting rain on Bohinj. I ran dripping into the pizza restaurant and sat down at the table next to the bearded stranger and his wife. I had only just dried out from visiting the waterfalls – and I had seen them there also. To reach the falls you go past the Zlatarog Hotel (zlatarog is the golden-horned chamois which lives in the Julian Alps in this part of Slovenia; they are said to guard the golden treasures hidden in Mount Triglav), park the car and walk over the bridge. The bridge is only to get you over the rapids: you have to go on through the woods, up and up a steep path until you come under the spray of Slap Savica. If you aren’t soaked already from the rain that is when you get drenched. At some point among the rainstorms the stranger had managed to find a dry period to go up the highly precipitous but thrilling cable-car to Mount Vogel – where my favourite road-sign can be found.

The stranger and his wife knew some Slovenian. Slap is waterfall of course, and they had clearly mastered the pizza ingredients from some dual-language menu earlier in their tour. Smetana is cream, sir is cheese, Prsut is dried ham. I wasn’t in much of a mood to talk, I was far more interested in my bottle of Refosk wine.  Not only had I got soaked twice but I had missed the 200th birthday celebrations of the poet Vodnik in Koprivnik, where he was the first parish priest. Not a great poet but unequalled as a writer in Slovene: he wrote a manual for midwives and the first cookbook in Slovenian. 

Yet more rain.  They had found a room with a view at the well-named Bellevue Hotel: but they hadn’t yet been able to see any view through the clouds. I am staying in my usual place. All is sweet, things will get better, rain or not. I chose to come here after all and I should know what to expect. I come from Northampton in the UK and this is the thirteenth year in a row I have spent my holiday here in Bohinj.