Monday 2 September 2019
It was a late start today as we woke up past 8.30AM – I think we all needed the lie-in. It was a leisurely breakfast at the rather crowded dining room, full of ‘hiker-types’…I wondered if we looked like ‘hiker-types’ too, or if one must do a minimum number of hikes before acquiring the look.
It was well past 11AM when we wandered out to the lake – but not before making appointments for a massage at the Jezero’s spa this afternoon. It was a lovely blue-skied morning, and not too hot. I was convinced that in Slovenia, there is only crystal clear water, as here too, the lake was see-through, the fish and rocks below visible with stunning clarity.
There were canoes on the lake – and swimmers! Thought it might’ve been too cold to swim but some people are obviously built differently. It was lovely being able to take our time with all the shots we wanted, and even going back for ‘re-takes’ after walking away from a spot.
Lake photos done, we ambled over to the church of St John the Baptist. More than 700 years old, the church is home to many beautiful frescoes. There is a faded fresco of St.Christopher on one of its outside walls – there are actually 3 layers of paintings, with the first painted in the 1300s, the second in the 1400s and the third around 1530; St. Christopher is the patron saint of travellers (as well as of pilgrims, drivers and boatmen) and those who look upon him are said to be protected…so I guess we’re safe for today. Must remember to look ‘upon’ St Chris when we leave tomorrow.
We got tickets to go up to the church’s baroque bell tower – and had to pass through a rather modern turnstile then go up some newish but steep wooden steps. We were the only ones up there, so once again we could spend as long as we wanted, taking in the view from the various vantage points.
The church itself was full of history – there was a replica of a wooden head of John the Baptist – the original dates back to 1380 and is kept safely in the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia.
The paintings inside the church were particularly interesting – several seemed to depict the beheading of John the Baptist, with one showing his head on a platter. I’m guessing this might have been the origin of the phrase?
The altar too was an unusual piece, made up of three different altars, each built at different times – though I really couldn’t tell, they all seemed to fit quite nicely.
By now, it was time for lunch. One of the recommendations in our notes was the Rožič Penzion, a short walk from the church. We had a table on the balcony, with a lovely view of the mountains, their peaks covered by clouds. It was another leisurely meal, with the freshest of trout, and another yummy traditional dessert, štruklji with cottage cheese.
We got back to the hotel at about 3PM, with an hour to spare before the first of us went for our massage. There was just one masseuse, Lidija, whom we kept busy from 4 – 7PM. She was a lovely lady who when she heard I was from Singapore, surprised me by saying she’d been to Singapore, Thailand and Muar (of all places) in Malaysia more than twenty years ago…I think even most Malaysians wouldn’t have been to small-town Muar.
As the story went, Lidija had done some volunteer work in Israel as a student – there she met another student, a Malaysian from Muar. She and another friend visited Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore at his invitation, and they’ve remained friends over the years. What’s the likelihood of meeting a Slovenian who’d been to Muar!
We all took an immediate liking to Lidija – she was chatty, friendly, had great hands…and she offered to drive us to dinner and back (I hasten to add that we liked her even before she offered to drive us to dinner). We were planning to go back to the Pri Hrvatu for dinner – the restaurant at which we’d taken shelter from the rain yesterday. While we were there, we’d noticed the plates of food going to the other tables…the sausages looked particularly delish. Unfortunately, we were still full from our ham and cheese special and could only manage coffee and dessert.
The Pri Hrvatu was also on the list of recommended restaurants in our notes. Only problem was that the two taxis in town (presumably one was Milan’s) were both busy. We weren’t about to walk, and so had resigned ourselves to having dinner at the hotel or back at the Rožič. GC happened to mention this to Lidija who immediately offered to drive us there and back! How kind was that!
So, massages done, off we drove to the restaurant…a journey that by car took less than 15 minutes. Lidija had some work to do, welcoming guests at an apartment she rents out, but promised to join us for dessert. The restaurant was full – of mainly locals (always a good sign), and not having made a reservation, we were lucky to get a table, but it was outdoors, and cold! We finally got to use our jackets.
Tragically, that sausage dish we’d been craving (cevapcici) was sold out…what a bummer! We had to settle for another sausage dish which was a tad more ordinary.
Lidija joined us for dessert as promised – it was a fun conversation, and our first proper one with a true blue Slovenian. It shouldn’t but it never fails to surprise me how similar the concerns of people all over the world are…children (she has two boys), education and what the boys want to do with their lives, balancing home and work, worrying about being a good mum…
It was a good day – a day of rest that we all needed. Today we walked a mere 7,731 steps and just over 5KM. According to our notes, it’ll be a 14KM hike tomorrow to our next stop, Bled; knowing us and our penchant for wrong turns and longer-than-necessary routes, I’m sure it’ll be closer to 20KM.
Lidija who also does Reiki promised to do some long distance Reiki ‘healing’ (from the comfort of her bed) as we set off on our long hike to Bled tomorrow morning…I think we’ll need it.