Another great day for our second "finding our roots" field trip to the Gottshee region of Slovenia.
Hit the road first thing to find a laundromat for Mike to do his delicates, so we opted to forage for breakfast in a little grocery shop (bought a bit of bread, cheese, fruit & sliced meat) and coffee to go from those fancy dispensers I like.
Then we headed south-east near Novo Mesto to find the birthplaces of Oma & Opa. After driving the pristine and speedy A2, I (the trusty navigator) got us onto the "scenic" route through small villages. This made Dianne quite carsick in the backseat driving the winding roads. The landscape is quite beautiful: rolling hills, lush farmland, big skies and dense forests.
In no time at all, we found our first destination: Kocevske Poljane. This is the place our Oma talked about--but it was called Pollandl: a German settlement until 1941 when it was "resettled" by the German occupation forces. Quite a history lesson and lots of information on the net too.
Unfortunately, though we saw twin girls and a man mowing his lawn (uncanny parallels to our Klagenfurt visit), there were no English speakers to help us with the history. But we did see...
A lovely church:
Some houses old and new:
A hip and happening Main Street:
Driving on to Opa's birth town we found a small graveyard with some Samida graves (looks like it was Opa's cousin, August's family). The grave seemed to be kept up, so I'm a little disappointed we couldn't find someone nearby who may have known the family. The few people we did see in Poljane spoke only Slovenian.
Arriving in Opa's hometown--Obcice--we were greeted by a bull crossing the street. Mike refused to get out and pose next to him--what a spoil sport (Mike, not the bull).
I think we got pretty close to someone who could explain some of the history to us when we came upon "Kulturverein Deutshsprachiger Jugend": a place where Gottscheers could know their heritage. Alas, no one was there. But we nosed around taking pictures.
Found some strange looking garden fellows:
Off we went, our tummies grumbling, to Novo Mesto to find grub. Enjoyed the sunshiny, warm weather. Walked around the town and headed along the river for a lunch.
The day ended back in Ljubliana with our final quest: finding the nectar of the Slovenian blueberry that we'd come to love...Borovnicek. If I love you enough, you may taste this divine drink at my house. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will not last (the drink, not my love for my friends).
Just a few more Ljublianna pics (we just love it here!!):
Hanging out on the river...
Heading to Venice at the crack of dawn tomorrow.