Mike and I are hoping to leave Slovenia later today and head into Austria. It is really hard to know if this will work. Hopefully, it goes better than when we arrived in Slovenia. The internet says that a resident of Slovenia, coming from Slovenia, can travel into Austria without a problem. It doesn’t specifically say what the situation is if you are just coming from Slovenia and you are not a resident. We have a wishy-washy email from an official that says they think we are OK, but they can’t guarantee what the border police will say. If Austria wants us to quarantine, we will turn right around and stay in Slovenia longer. Luckily, we like this country. Another option is that it appears most people are allowed to transit through Austria, as long as they do it within a twelve-hour period. This would be fine for us as we would head for Slovakia. The concern is that I expect the rules for non-residents entering Slovakia would not be much different than the rules for Austria. If this was the case, then transiting wouldn’t help us either. We will know what is happening by tonight.
Mike and I have spent the last week camped in Mestni Park, in the city of Celje. Celje is the third largest city in Slovenia with a population less than 38,000. There are only a few spots for campers in the park. Parking for us is free but we have to put coins in a meter to get electricity. In the park is an indoor ice-skating rink, tennis courts and an outdoor café. The ice-skating club has been around since 1948. Mike went in to cool down from a long walk along the river and watched the skaters for a while. He was surprised to hear the skating coach briefing a group of young skaters using a white board and speaking in English. In addition to parents dropping off their children for lessons, there is a small bus that is constantly running skaters back and forth to local hotels. We think this means that there are some serious lessons going on here. The Savinja River runs beside the park. There is a nice pedestrian/cycle bridge over the river, right into the old town. The short walk to town takes you past two cafés, a large museum and then you are in town for dinner. It is a great location.
I must tell you that thanks to my husband I am the new Miss Marple. No, I have not turned into a detective, but I can ride my bicycle sitting almost completely upright. Mike spent hours one day, taking the front of the bike almost completely apart and putting it back together again. The trick wasn’t just bringing the handlebars up higher and closer to me, the bike and cables still had to be able to fold up like they were originally designed to do. We keep both bikes, folded up in the back seat of the car. I feel bad that I haven’t used the bike as much as normal, even after all Mike’s work. It has been almost as hot here as Toronto has been for weeks. I do not like this heat and I do not do well in it. Mike has gone out on his own a few times. We still found time to bike up to the castle on a hill overlooking the park. From down below it looks likes ruins, but they are continuing to do a lot of restoration. I skipped the torture chamber. I have no interest in them anymore. I think I have seen too many in old castles.
For a few days we were parked next to a Slovenian man in his 30s and his dog. He lives all year round in his camper. He spent the winter on the Italian coast and lives most of the year in Trieste. He often comes back to Celje, where he is originally from. He lives an interesting lifestyle. His dog didn’t appear to be doing any better than I am in this heat.
One day we went on a drive in the mountains hoping for cooler weather. We stopped and walked through a gorge. Luckily, the walk was only about 3 km. I still found it too hot, but the shade helped.
Anyone who can read phonetically, can learn to say Slovenian words. They might not understand what they are saying but Slovenians will recognize the words. Unlike English, a letter nearly always has only one pronunciation. You don’t have to worry if the letter “C” is pronounced like the C in cent or the C in cork. ”Cork” in Slovenian is pronounced like the English word but is spelled “Kork” which makes much more sense. The letter “i” always sounds like “ee”. Try saying these Slovenian words out loud: “butik”, “takzi” or the name “Aleks”. Not many of the words sound like the English equivalent but some do. Mike thinks “butik” makes much more sense than “boutique” for the same pronunciation.
Even if we leave Slovenia tomorrow, there is a chance that we will be back just before we return to Canada. Slovenia is a great place to leave the RV if you are returning in the early spring. Storage near the Adriatic is inexpensive. It might be cool over the winter but there is very little snow and freezing. Wish us luck getting into Austria.