Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Ending


We awaken to the sound to falling rain - it is pouring outside. I suppose that is a sign that it is time to leave. Zoran is ready for us and takes us to the airport. We see Jen off and then sit and wait for our flight to leave 3 hours later. It has been an interesting adventure, taking us over 1600 miles of road, 3 countries, cold to hot climates, and mountain to sea terrain. We gained an insight into the Slovenian and Croatian cultures and have a much better understanding of the political conflicts and hardships that people in this part of central Europe have lived through. So much of what we see on TV and read in our newspapers and magazines becomes humanized when you see it up close and talk to the local people. At that time, it really touches your heart.

The people of this area are genuine and kind. There is very little crime on tourists and the cities are safe, even in the poorer industrial areas. The forests, rivers and lakes are pristine with so much of the countries uninhabited. People live a more minimalist lifestyle with local fresh food and laundry hanging out their windows each day. Outside of Vienna and Ljubljana, w saw no McDonalds and no Starbucks - I hope they keep it that way. Construction is going on everywhere and tourism is alive and vibrant. We hope that they can maintain their quaintness, character, and charm despite their growth and modernization.

I have taken up to a thousand photos and hope to share them in the coming weeks. This part of the world is a wonderful place to visit; it is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Take plenty of time to soak in the culture of the area - it is a place that shouldn't be seen in a rush, stop and breathe the air, listen to the birds, and feel the warmth of the wind on your face. Most of all, get to know the people for they are very, very special. I am grateful to all of the wonderful hosts of these villages, who went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our stay and I hope you will be inspired by this blog to take your own journey there.

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