He seemed to be a dreamer living in a magical fairy tale house. When I saw this house on a picture, I knew I had to do everything to come here. I stopped thinking about Maribor, stopped thinking about anything else. This little red brick, red roof house surrounded by the trees and a see of grass, brought back all my longings for the village life. My countryside soul started calling and yelling and as she is the one that peacefully coexists with the city girl soul in me, I knew it was time to feed this one as well.
“The old house doesn’t exist anymore, but you are more than welcome in the new one” – answered Peter to my extremely long letter, in which I was asking, whether I could stay at his place and I was giving at least dozen of arguments why he should answer “yes”. It worried me a bit (that the house was not there), but I thought that it actually didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that I just got invited to a countryside! Again! I haven’t been to the countryside for so long – among silence, fields and trees. At the place where time suddenly slows down. Always.
“When you enter the valley, go straight until the little bridge, then turn sharp right and you will see a blue house” – doesn’t it sound like hints how to get to the land of magic? It was getting dark as it was already after 4 pm, I left Graz quite late, so I couldn’t reallt see the colours of the houses anymore Is it already here or not yet? A dog barking loud came out from one of the properties and scared me a lot. “Welcome to Slovenia!” – I said to myself and I thought that it would probably not happen in a beautiful, well-organized Austria. Then I saw Peter cycling towards my direction.
There wasn’t a magical house anymore. Peter said that the old one was so old that in the winter time the temperature inside was three Celcius degrees below zero during the night time and he had to wear the termical underwear in order not to freeze. But still, when I look at that picture, it makes me feel a little bit sentimental. Doesn’t it? There was a freshly baked apple pie waiting for me in a new Peter’s house. It was baked by his 75-years old neighbour – the one that has never in her life bought a single egg. Duh! She had never in her life bought a single hen. She cared herself to raise enough hens on her own to have enough eggs – for herself, for her family and for Peter. And maybe for some other friends, I don’t know. But what I know is that I don’t remember when was the last time I was eating an egg with such a yellow egg yolk!
Peter loves his house and his land – and you can see that. He says though that it’s too much for one person – and he rather wants to have less than more. There are different plans – about travelling, about the camper van, about owning a piece of land with the access to the water source. He took me for a walk across the surrounding the hills (which led us to the discussion about the definition of the mountain/hills – because Peter says that when there is still something growing on, then it’s not a mountain, but it’s a hill, but in a contrary for me – a girl from the seaside, everything that is a bit higher than lower, is already A MOUNTAIN. Well, just a semantice difference in the world’s vision).
He took me for a trekking to a nearby waterfall – at the peak which we had to climb on the way, there was quite a lot of snow, although down there in the valley was a beautiful sun and +15 Celcius degrees. He told me a story about three teenagers who tried to cross the waterfall – all of them died at the scene. Once I saw the waterfall and the water force, I was not surprised, but I’m always sad when I think about such an ultimate punishment for one’s own foolishness. Since then there is a sign at the entrance to the trail saying that it’s a very dangerous one.
Lunch that day has been unexpectedly served to us by the woodmen, whom we met, just like that, in the middle of the forest. They were sitting there, eating mushroom soup and a huge piece of meat for the main course. They asked if we wanna join them – who wouldn’t? A warm mushroom soup after such a trekking in the middle of the winter forest – sounded like a dream!
Peter fixed my bike as well. I’ve had problems with the gears for a long time already, they were sometimes leaping, sometimes not, actually they kind of lived their own life. So we bought what was needed (including super extra light, which will definitely help now when cycling in the darkness) – different pieces, some of them silver, some of them black and some of them – pink! And now you can ride Peggy, change all the gears, all fixed! Peter says that I need to have it checked after some three thousand kilometeres and I wonder, where it will actually be.
Peter has been riding his bike for almost 10 years now. But not a regular bike, but the recumbent bicycle – he says it’s much more comfortable and that he can look at the world ahead of him and not only see the groud all the time. “Asphalt is the same all over the world” – he laughs. I kind of get the point, but I wouldn’t give up on Peggy, oh no! Peter is still not quite sure whether he will go for the few months long bike trip to the United States or maybe around the Black Sea next year for his 40th birthday. Or maybe the wheels will carry him further away? Who knows. He says that all the cyclists whom he met so far have always cycled further than they have planned (like his friend from Slovenia who decided o cycle to China and when she had reached it she had also decided to cycle back.. or another friend who also cycled to Beijing and then finally found himself in San Francisco). He says that it looks like it’s always closer to cycle to the next country instead of going home. And once you are that close, it would be a pity not to do that. I laugh under my breath.
Days 78-80 (1-3 December 2015)
- from Graz to Kungota: 65,5 Km
Kungota, Slovenia, 3 December 2015