I love the beach! Koper is a small city very close to Italy – so close in fact that I tagged along with my cs host to watch the Buena Vista Social Club play in Trieste on Tuesday night. In terms of touristy sights there is not much to see, but the company was heartwarming, the sea refreshing, the cycling invigorating and the lazy days much needed that I stayed for a few days.
A few days ago I had a lame day. It happens when you’re away from familiar faces, and after these six weeks of being on the move and meeting new people every few days where you expend a lot of energy, I felt low and lonely. So I did what any woman does when she feels sad; I took myself out for lunch and called my favourite Cassidy in Toronto for a heart-to-heart. She reminded me that we have ups and downs, that there are always ebbs and flows and that things will be better in the morning. And she was right.
After that roundabout trip to Koper with a Slovenian truck driver I could only smile. And as soon as my next cs host, Petra, arrived to fetch me from my spot on the road, I knew I was in good company. It really is a special thing when you know from the first sight that you will have a heart connection with someone, and it was like that with this lovely lady. Her open manner, and the house where she lives – above the city, on a hill surrounded by veggie fields and vineyards, a terrocota roof amidst the harsh white ground – made me feel at ease and I remembered my smile.
My first full day in Koper was supposed to be a relaxing one at the beach, but I ended up cycling
almost the whole Slovenian coast (by accident – I got a little lost). I borrowed a bike and cruised along the coast road to the next town where I veered off onto a bicycle path that runs behind the town and past small farms. I was enjoying the silence and scenery so much that I didn’t pay attention and ended up much further down the coast that I was aiming for. So I had a swim, got back on the bike and turned back for Strunjan Nature Reserve. After some asking I found the very steep hill that leads up and then down to the protected and quiet beach. After I had figured out a system of getting into the water over the slippery pebbles (no sandy beaches here!), floated in the warm, blue Adriatic and made a little hollow in a sunny patch, I chucked my bikini top and lost myself in my book for a few hours. By then my smile was fully back in place!
Other than lazing about on the beach, I joined Petra and some more lovely ladies (the company really made my stay) for a night of ice-cream and jazz funk and another night of Rakija and bovla (a dangerous wine and peach drink) and some seriously amazing blues vibes. All in all it was a very good time.
Friday rolled around and Manu, a Spanish cser I had made plans to travel with, and I packed our bags and got ready to hitch our way away. But it was so hot – 36 degrees – the previous nigh’s drinking a bit too heavy and the company too good to leave that we went to the beach instead. For the whole day. But we had a plan, sort of.
Busses and trains here are expensive but some entrepreneuring company has created a ridesharing website where drivers post their route and invite people to travel with them for a small fee. We organised a ride from Koper to Ljubljana for €5 each. So much cheaper than the €12 train trip! Once in the capital we took some time to find our way to the outskirts of the city and stuck our thumbs out for Zelezniki, a teeny town in the mountains to the north. Getting there was an adventure, but one better saved for another day. Keep reading!