T-Day -- Day 19!
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And We. It is crazy to think we have just successfully completed the European Peace Walk!!! The beginning was a really nice walk that brought us out of the village and into a winding forest. Jakob sang to us as we walked I have promised to learn the lyrics of all these songs , and when we finally came out of the forest, we came to a clearing, where we crossed into Italy!! I'm znot sure what I expected because I realized there would be no borders, but we crossed a small bridge and suddenly we were in a new country -- the beauty of walking.
It soon turned into a massive uphill climb, which gave a beautiful view of the mountainous view on the other side, as well as Trieste and the sea in the distance! We soon started on the bike path home : Along the way, we stopped by the coffee recommendation on the guide, which was a cute hotel downhill off the bike path. We did it AHH!! Trieste itself is an absolutely beautiful and bustling city, and not to mention the Adriatic Sea is right there--we had gone through everything from cornfields to dirt roads to mountains to the sea.
It was so bittersweet saying goodbye to everyone, but I have faith that our travels will allow us to cross paths again. I plan on doing a reflection post later on since I have not yet been able to slow down--traveling now in Italy!
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It was such a good first walk since I had not done any before! I do know that I will become a "Walker" since it's such a great way to see the country, really meet people, and just clear your mind to focus on walking and finishing each day. As I am writing, I also cannot believe it: this was the second to last day of the Peacewalk! How did these 3 weeks fly by so quickly? Today was a tougher day, but it was certainly one of my favorites! It was almost 33 km, yet time seemed to fly in the beginning--we got breakfast at the house and started off early around AM. As we walked out of the village, it was interesting to see so many people out and about and later, since it quickly turned into forest, I walked the first 8 km easily chatting with Brigid, before we had our first rest.
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Although I ended up taking a different path than everyone else and not the right one , I still wound up at the restaurant area and went back to see the viewpoint , where we stopped for lunch around AM, already having done more than half of the day! Afterwards, most of the group decided to take a taxi to our destination, but Eva, Jakob, and I continued on the home stretch! Luckily, a lot of the next stretch was under trees, so we got some refuge from the sun this was actually the hottest day it has been in June in Slovenia!!
We walked in a path sort of above the motorway, which was quite cool, and found a random bench perfectly for us, which we named the "Peacewalkers Bench. It was so cool to learn that Jana, who has grown up in this area, now rents out the only pub in town, owns two hostels, and is trying to start a restaurant outside that currently only serves Peacewalkers!
Italian food, here we come! Getting blisters? Life will work itself out, and it indeed has : This experience has been definitely challenging both physically and mentally, but that is what I signed up for, and I am so thankful for the people in my group, people who showed us hospitality, and just the beautiful countries that we passed through, full of their own history and culture.
Fly and I walked the entire way together, taking our time whenever needed and "making the world right," as Brigid put it. We started off the morning walking out of Postojna and mostly on flat ground, passing through a neat little village; in high spirits as we reached the next coffee shop, meeting up with the rest of the group as we enjoyed the morning rest already having done a third of the walk!
The day seemed to have been broken up in 4 segments, where we took 3 rest stops, meeting up with the rest of the group during those times. The last part was through a road, which luckily was not busy so we were not that bothered. Honestly all of it was quite comical, and the last uphill to our accommodation, we powered on through with some good throwback music, finally arriving to the beautiful accommodation around PM another early entry!
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As soon as we came in, our hosts offered us homemade blueberry schnapps, and we showered, chilled, and napped until a delicious dinner of vegetable soup, fresh salad, mushroom gnocchi, and amazing dessert prepared by Borut's mother in law. In fact, our accommodation is Borut's family house, and he is the 5th generation in it, which is amazing! After dinner, we got a tour of the church from Franco, one of the locals in the village, and he showed us the building dating back to the s. Afterwards, he invited us over to see his house, and he showed us around his vineyards, his woodshop where he makes pillars, doors, chairs, etc.
He offered us drinks, and while he took it down like a pro, it was definitely much stronger than I think any of us had anticipated! He told us that they are completely self-sufficient; there is no need to import or export anything because people grow different fruits, the community guts and cleans chickens together, and they really share everything. From what I understood, there was no unemployment because everyone was either studying or working and oftentimes, kids come back to the village to live, even after spending time in big cities.
You can tell how proud the community is of their area and their country as a whole. It is definitely important not to forget Eastern Europe. Tomorrow is our second to last day, which is honestly surreal. It's a tougher day so we will start out earlier, but ready to take the day--bring it on! Whew, today was truly a whirlwind by the very, very end of the day, my phone had logged around 27 miles! We had agreed upon a 5 AM set-off, but we ended up leaving more around 6 AM, hoping to beat the heat that was coming. This day's route has been changed for , so for the first part, we followed the directions given on the EPWalkers FB grou p and followed the arrows that were wonderfully painted leading us up and winding through forests and such.
Life's a climb, and this morning sure was one too! But an uphill also means beautiful views, which is exactly what we were graced with starting off early in the morning.
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We continued making our way through tough hills and took many breaks, munching through our breakfast pack that was prepared by Bistra the night before. Most of the group decided to take a taxi from there to our final destination, Postojna, but Ava and I were ready to walk the final stretch, which was mainly on road. We were very determined to make it to Postojna because we had heard about incredible caves there--in fact Jakob had actually visited these caves 40 years ago, and it was amazing that he was back again to see them!
Postojna is quite a big city, which was certainly surprising after coming from Bistra, an area with only 5 houses. Luckily, when we reached the caves, there were still spots left on the tour, so we treated ourselves to some ice cream, while we waited for the beginning of the tour. The tour took us through around 5. I rented a coat from them, but I suggest if you go, bring some warm wear with you!! It was truly an incredible sight, and I could see why people come from all over the world to see the caves! We have the luxury of sleeping in until 6 AM tomorrow what!! Can you believe it?! After talking to my mom today, I realized I had made a mistake in my last blog post: after today, we have only 4 days left!
That's wild!! She also told me that I should spice up my writing style, so let's try something new! Around 30 minutes later, I roll out of the top bunk narrowly missing the low ceiling , and mosey on over to brush my teeth and put in my contacts AM - I FaceTime my roommate who is currently roadtripping the US!
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