I was just as excited about Slovenia as I was Croatia. Slovenia is where my grandmother is from and I couldn’t wait to meet more family. This time, however, I wasn’t as nervous I was more excited. I couldn’t wait to meet her brother and sisters and everyone else from the family.
We stayed with one of my dads cousins who I met many years ago when they came to visit in Australia when I was five. When we arrived, she gave me the most welcoming hug. Her house was beautiful and so inviting perched up on a little mountain. She didn’t speak much English, but had everything written down so she could read it to us, I LOVED that! We settled in for the night and I couldn’t wait for the next day because my cousin (her daughter) was coming too! I hadn’t seen her since she visited Australia over 22 years ago. I was a little nervous at first because I wasn’t sure how much we’d have in common, if anything!
When she arrived the next morning, I kind of thought we’d have to start from the beginning, like it was the first time we had met… but it wasn’t! It was like we had always kept in touch, and only not seen each other for a little while. I was SO excited to see her, we barley had to say two words to each other and I already felt like she was my long lost sister.
For the next week or so, we stayed in a small town called Lendava. Staying with my cousin and her mum lifted my spirits so high, I think I laughed all day every day, literally to the point where I had tears in my eyes and an ache in my belly. He was also amazing, he was happy to see me so happy. I was always so grateful for the way he was treated by my family, like he was one of their own. I can honestly say I fell in love with him more and more every day. Dont get me wrong, we had our fair share of fights and arguments, but I was happy, and to top it off, my cousin had a very similar sense of humour to me, which made him an easy target at pranking him and scaring him every time he walked around a corner.
One of my favourite things about staying with family, was being able to FaceTime my parents, as they were able to see everyone again for the first time in a long time. I also got to meet my grandmothers eldest sister whilst staying with my cousin (her grandmother), they looked so much alike. They Face Timed also, and it would have been the first time they were to see each other in many, many, many years. This made me happy.
We spent the next week sight seeing, we visited so many beautiful places and like in Croatia, many of the same places my parents visited so many years ago. I was so, so grateful for my dads other cousins for driving us around pretty much the whole country whilst battling an almost crippling disease, he never once showed us the pain he was in, he was just so excited for me to be there and show me around. He still kept in very close contact with my grandmother and just wanted me to experience the best Slovenia had to offer.
After probably one of the best weeks of our trip, we took a road trip with my cousin to the Ljubljana and stopped at a few little towns along the way. This city was stunning! I know, I know, I say that about every city, but this one is very, very high up there, absolutely gorgeous. We stayed in a hostel right in the heart of the city and I couldn’t wait to explore more of what this city had to offer!
My cousins mum and uncle came to visit us and take us to see more sites. We visited Lake Bled which is so stunning and picturesque and somewhere I would recommend to anyone and everyone. We were honestly so lucky to have these people who care so much to go out of their way to take us around the country. My cousin and her boyfriend also took us out quite a bit. One day they took us to these beautiful mountains where we travelled high, up a lift. He’s scared of heights, and going up this lift which probably took a good 5-10 minutes reminded me of the day we first met at the easter show. He was so scared to go on all of those scary rides, but did so to impress me (and, well, it obviously worked)
I knew how much he really didn’t want to go up the lift on this mountain but he did it anyway. He loves the outdoors, its one of his happy places so I knew he’d love it once we reached the top. Once we got up there, there was cows absolutely everywhere roaming around, we tasted some cheese and wine and just explored. One day my cousin and I left him behind so he could have a day to himself. We went on a road trip around the country and visited Predjama Castle and Postonja Cave. We stopped and had lunch and some ice-cream on the beach. It was such a great bonding day for us.
Unfortunately, this time with my cousin had to come to and end, but it wasn’t the end of Slovenia, there was, of course, more family to meet. I was so sad to say goodbye to my cousin, but I now knew, we had a bond that was unbreakable.
We were ready to meet the rest of the family…