You were standing there, all dusty in the middle of a parking lot by the main train station. It was a calm and pleasant August day. I came to Ljubljana from the Slovenian coast just to get to know you. I wasn’t expecting anything. Except maybe an unforgettable and perfect adventure. It was love at first sight.
Nothing was important to me once you let me reach your heart. You opened the door to your most intimate parts of your soul. You are modest. But you had exactly what was important to me. The real energy and and a huge desire for discovering new horizons.
When we were staring at each other, face-to-face, it was absolutely clear that this was it. A romantic encounter on the way to the emerald Jasna lake passed quickly. Usually men can be complicated at the very beginning, imprisoned and vague, but you, no, you were giving me instructions. From the very beginning you were standing by my side. When we reached the border and started to get familiar with Italian roads in the dark, I realized that I was in safe hands. While you were digging and biting into the slope, you kept the energy to send me your warm winks, hints, because I did not know you very well. And I was hoping we will – together – hit the road and overcome all those sharp and narrow curves of the unknown roads. Yes, I know, I am sorry, the weather was not made for us. Instead of watching the stars and relaxing in enjoyable ride, we were constantly cooled by heavy rain drops. But we succeeded and stayed together – in good and bad - and overcame the effort across all of the 280 windy, narrow, rainy and dark kilometres all the way to the mysterious and moisted Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Although we were tired, we found the last empty spot at the campsite Rocchetta. We woke up to an amazing morning, that was waiting to show us what it had to offer us, complete with bright sunshine. You woke me up with warm, fresh coffee made with love, breakfast and later on showed me the way to our first starting point. Since we were too tired for any big ventures, we first set out through the flooded Cortina d'Ampezzo to the pass Tre croci. This was the place where you decided you would wait for me. You said you needed time for yourself. Oh honey, I do understand you.
Lago di Sorapiss. A pleasant and quite sightseeing trail through the forest, pines and pleasant slopes passing by the military installations from the First World War. Too many tourists, that were wearing fashionable shoes, something I might wear on a sunny Sunday morning to go for a coffee along the Ljubljanica Riveriver. A few more steps, light well-protected climbs, for those who are wearing comfortable and suitable shoes, and there was the view I was waiting for. First to the Rifugio Tondi and from there a breathtaking turquoise lake. What would I do to have you with me…
You waited for me with… mmmmm… fresh coffee. I almost smelled the aroma on the way back. You almost made my day. I was tired, you were full of energy. Together we were like ying and yang. Perfect combination. Perfect combination to find the way to Falzarego pass. Dreamy scenery was beside us. Mighty Dolomites were giving us the scenes I could just imagine before. We were overwhelmed by the views so we missed the parking place… No problem, it was worth driving up and down the same road once again. There were a lot of Slovenian mountain lovers and climbers, all waiting for the sunrise and the new journey into the slopes of mountains where you can never know what is waititng for you.
Sunset. The glowing walls were similar to those that woke us up at the sunrise. Magic. And a climb to the 3,225 meters high Tofana di Rozes, one of the most picturesque Tofanas, that followed, was unbelievable. A slightly frozen top opened the view to a large part of the Dolomites. The most prominent among all, Marmolada of course, welcomes you. In the afternoon I returned to your warm and comforting embrace full of inspiration and the desire to discover new paths and conquer the peaks. After a quick afternoon rest, we peacefully, without any rush, found an accommodation for a new night.
Piz Boe directly out of our bedroom. A sight-seeing curving street by the green meadows, spreading around a picturesque giant. And the Campolongo pass. You had to make some effort to overcome this ascent. But every one of those who passed us by during a tough climb, did envy us. Open windows, a pleasant mountain breeze, our calmness and unbearable pleasure that we were experiencing together. If I could only wake up every morning where the dreams start. Again, you trusted me and left me to climb to the top early in the morning. Alone. The mist was slowly going up from the base of Piz Boe and prevented me from waving to you from 3,152 meters.
There was the penultimate stage ahead of us. 460 kilometers you did to bring me back to Cimolais after 13 years. We have met with my childhood friends. If this is not the best man in the whole world! We slept by the gravel of the river Torrente Cimoliana. She reached somewhere from the top of the Dolomites, which we passed by while coming down here. We drove past picturesque small mountain villages, kids were waving at us, also the older ones, more of your age. But everyone with a smile on their faces. As we also welcomed them, too.
When we met, we knew that what is important is our way and not the goal we want to achieve. Therefore, this path should be endless and the goal can be set over and over again. With new adventures, acquaintances, friendships, beaten heavy passes and rainy nights.
My dearest Jerry. Thank you for being next to me all those 98 hours and a half, for driving 744 km for me, fighting over those 5 mountain passes, bringing me to heavenly mountains and waiting for me while I was able to reach 3,000 meters twice. Without you I would not have made it.
It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey. And when you travel with Balkan campers, the journey becomes even more than expected.