I have pushed the bicycle uphill a lot – and ridden her a little today. The views have been spectacular – but I didn’t bother with a photograph (except from much lower down) as it’s overcast and hazy and I know it would look crap. I am currently only 945m above sea level and to put that in perspective, be aware that the Alps (being the highest mountain range in Europe) rise to more than 4,000 metres above sea level. I can see I will be very puffed indeed when I get closer to ‘proper’ ascents.
The cows have bells – or some of them do - the naughty ones who keep trying to run away, or don’t come when they’re called? The bell rings when they’re chewing the cud.
There were also plenty of wildflowers on the way up – big campanula, and the wild strawberries are ripening. Guess what I’ve been eating?
I was wondering why the rooves had sideways tiles and some of them had ladders on in East Germany. Susanne explained it was for the snow (to prevent it from falling on people’s heads when melting?). The rooves here, as well as being steep sided, have teeth – for the same reason, I guess. (My macbook keeps trying to tell me that ‘rooves’ is a mis-spelling. Look, I grew up in the seventies – and ‘rooves’ was correct then, NOT roofs – I didn’t even know there was a debate about it).
I saw one hare – damn, they run fast!
And I see a stork at least once a day – and not just wooden ones in gardens.
I also saw lots of fairly new mothers out walking their babies in prams. And, down in the valley – every other house seemed to have a large wooden stork in the garden announcing a new birth. Fertile around here – is it something in the water? (though 9 months ago would have been September – so maybe it was just a very boring month for everyone?).
So here I am, in a comfy room in Gästehaus Frans-Jozef not 24hours after being in a comfy room in Gasthof Pilcher. This could be habit forming. I had supper (of roll, cream cheese, tomato etc bought in supermarket yesterday) in the bus shelter when I got here. As the storm built, it got colder, so I went in to a café to get warm – it was just about to close, but as the rain came pouring down, and there were a few customers hanging around anyway, the proprieter (a lovely woman with three children running around the store) took pity on me and gave me extra cake gratis (end of the day stock) with the hot chocolate I ordered. As I sat there looking out at the rain which was not looking like it was going away any time soon, she suggested a local guest house, and even phoned them to check they had a room – only problem is, she did not say Gästehaus Frans-Jozef but said Swiercot – so I went off looking for a house called Swiercot – not realising this was the name of the owner not the guesthouse! So I went right on past the guest house – up the hill and beyond – getting very wet feet from my leaky shoes. It wasn’t until I asked someone if they knew of a guesthouse called Swiercot that I was told there was only the one – and then we saw the name plate on the gate – ‘Sweircot’. By this time I was damn well going to stay as I’d had enough. Bleurgh.
It appeared to be a large family with three generations present that I could make out: Grandparents, two couples and their children. They welcomed me into their midst, while the men sat watching football (Poland vs. Northern Ireland). The younger woman could both speak good English – one of them having lived in Scotland for several years, eleven years ago. (I found out at breakfast that these families weren’t related – but they were regular guests. Like the campsite ‘Camp Burek’ where the owner and guests were Dutch, the owner here was Polish, married to an Austrian – so word of this guesthouse gets passed around friends in Poland –hence all the Polish guests, calling in en route to their ultimate holiday destination –Croatia. It’s about 700miles from Poland to Croatia, otherwise).
Tried to call Steve – but wifi connection is a bit erratic so gave it up as a bad job.
Checked rail connections and not impossible to get railway to Ljubljana from this side of the border, so I’m not going to panic. I’ll try not to dawdle either, but I’m not promising myself.