Travelling with Irena
11.10.19 - 14.10.19 20 °C
Our Dalmation Sunshine Tour has ended. We have had a delightful experience of Croatia and Slovenia. We are sad to say good-bye to all our fellow passengers: all exceptionally lovely people. Our saddest loss is of our passionate, warm, funny, incredibly well-rounded guide, Irena. She filled our drives with, sometimes wonderful, sometimes tragic stories of these lands and her life. Her love of all things Slovenian was inspiring. She had our mouth watering at the food and ice cream suggestions.
Her sympathy for and support for Jen & I when we left our passports (in our security box at Plitvice Lakes made us want to cry. We held it together even when we paid out the dosh for the taxi to bring them to us... never spent so much on a taxi ride in our lives!! The driver (& his wife) then drove us another 100 kms through to catch up with the bus at Postojna Caves.. the main issue was that we had to cross a border into Slovenia to get to the Caves so we couldn’t just get them couriered!!
One of Irena’s most memorable sayings was, Sweet worries!! These are the things that we would call, First world problems! The fact that we are free and able to travel and have such rich experiences makes such ‘minor’ issues as paying out a fortune for our passports to catch us Sweet worries!
Today’s world has progressed in so many ways. Women have opportunities that they never could have dreamed of once, but there is one area where men still reign: Time in the Loo Line. It has been addressed in Wynnum with Unisex Toilets on the waterfront but who would have thought that our humble local suburbs would be ahead of the forward thinking inventive Europeans. We have not yet come across such practical toilets yet. Travelling with a bus load of ladies (as well as some charming men) meant anxiety and annoyance at every loo stop as the line grew as other buses had the same needs. The fact that, in some locations, there was an attendant to take up to 7kuna from us for the privilege rubbed salt into the wound!!
Here we have a Ladies Loo Line as well as some more inventive waste management systems plus a nun:
“A man amongst men.. a legend.. a saviour... an idol.. a charismatic leader”. He only made one mistake in his whole 35 year reign (1945-1980) as leader of Yugoslavia (as far as Yugoslavs are concerned). He didn’t train up someone to follow him as leader and it all fell apart ending up with neighbour killing neighbour because of ethnic difference. Irena grew up as one of Tito’s Pioneer Children who swore allegiance to Yugoslavia and to brotherhood and loyalty to state and to each other. As she read the Motto to us she choked up. Living in Tito’s time might have been irksome to the capitalist world but they felt safe and unified.. a far cry from this region now.
Over the hills and far away..
Amazing how far you can go in a day... from Zagreb (Capital of Croatia where we left our tour group) to Stuttgart (where we were stuck in a Passport control line, heard our next flight called and had to bustle our way forward, ran for the gate, jumped on the bus to get to the plane and had to sit for 20 minutes while the plane refuelled). Then over the spectacular Italian Alps to our ever so humble little apartment where we can almost jump into the Grand Canal from our balcony.. Venice awaits our devoted gaze... Shaza and Daza have already hit the pavement!!