Rakija is my kryptonite, cevapcici is my spinach.

Posted on April 7, 2012

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07-04-2012 – Kranj, Slovenia
Aw, back to the travel blog is it? The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s been 5 days and I couldn’t possibly document every single thing that has happened. I certainly couldn’t document all the people I have met and I’m very sorry to anyone I don’t mention. For those who can’t get enough of these wonderfully charismatic and hilarious blogs, I’ll be contributing to the mywelshpool section of the Oswestry Chronicle, so keep an eye out for that bad boy. They will be different to these ones as well, these will be more about the people, and the Chronicle ones will be more about the places. Does that make sense? Yes, yes it does.

Anyway, I met two Kiwis on the train to Stansted, and lo and behold they were on the same flight as me. Nice chaps, and it was pretty nice to have a bit of practice at the ‘Hi, my name is ….’ etc etc before arriving at the hostel. Skender, the guy whose mother runs the hostel I was staying at, picked me up at the airport, which was blinkin’ excellent of him. I think we got about 4 minutes down the road before Yugoslavia was mentioned. I am very, very predictable. Skender spoke with a big american twang in his accent as well, the reason for which was that the family moved out to the States whilst the Balkans were in flames. They are also originally from Bosnia as well, champion! Arrived at Most Hostel (not translated as Bridge Hostel, as I assumed, just a coincidence), had a shower, and then out to Pula to have a wander around. Lovely little town, but my wandering was pretty minimal at this point. I decided I was going to get some burek, as it had been 18 months since I’d tasted the wonders. So I paced the streets like a malnourished leopard, stalking my pie prey. Pie purchased, pie eaten. Pie disappointing. Immediately this worried me, had I lost my love for burek? Was this a sign, an ominous ominous sign? Then I remembered the Croats are awful at burek. Panic over.

As always, the first night was drunken. The first night is ALWAYS drunken. A whole team of intrepid explorers went out to an internet cafe/bar and did the usual ‘it’s easier to open up when tipsy’ thing. It’s true. It’s even truer when rakija is involved. Or in this case mednica. Not just any mednica, but the best damn mednica I have had in my entire life. I had 4 of the things, which is 3 more than I can usually take. Either way, it was a fun night, and great to see some fresh faces. I got pretty lost on the way home, and felt blinkin’ awful in the morning. Rakija is definitely my version of kryptonite.

The next morning was spent feeling sorry for myself, and planning the days activities. Myself, Hayley and Hilary (Team America), Jana and Tessa (Team Belgium), Tommy and Dan (Team Germany) and Majka (Team Netherlands) got a boat out to Veliki Brijuni Island, which was sort of Tito’s summer playground. It has a safari park full of animals that were donated to Tito by foreign leaders at the time. There aren’t many left, but it’s still strange to see. We rented bikes and cycled the island, which is something I hadn’t done in a very long time, and I can finally confirm, it is 100% true. You never forget how to ride a bike. We spent the day traversing the island, which was pretty darn beautiful. Hayley kept poking things as well, and when they would move she would squeal in a hilarious fashion. A game of tag on bikes broke out, and I have absolutely no idea who was the final tag. As long as it wasn’t me, that’s fine.

On the boat back to the island all I could really talk about was food, and I knew it wasn’t going to be long until I got me some cevapcici. We got back on land, and myself, Team America and Team Netherlands stopped at a restaurant by the sea to get some scran. Team America went for the fish and chips, and it was never in question what I was going for. Cevapcici please, 10 pieces. I had the same pangs of worry, the same anxiety as with the burek. Was this going to be disappointing as well? If I lost my love for cevapcici and burek in the same 24 hours, I’d have to fly home. So how was it?

Oh. My. Boze. I can’t put into words how much joy I experienced from that first little piece. Therefore, I won’t even attempt it. Wow.

It was during this meal that I started speaking to Hayley about being a complete lightweight. She claimed to be a bigger lightweight than myself. Well, this could only mean one thing. The lightweight drinking challenge. We were to go toe for toe, mono i mono, drink for drink. Bear/bare in mind, Hayley is about half my size, and I’m pretty small. There was only way this was going to end.

DRAW!

Yeah, it didn’t last. But we had a really good day, and I got on pretty smashingly with Hayley and Hilary, which is always nice. That evening we went to see a blues band in the rock cafe, and the drummer, my gosh, I’ve never seen a happier looking man in my life. Of course, he was drunk and had no teeth, but wow. He managed to make ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ enjoyable by throwing a half half time monster bit in the middle. Brilliant. Had to call an end to the night early though because as I said, when two lightweights enter a drinking challenge, nobody wins. Can’t speak highly enough of Team America though. Top work, chappettes. The prizes at the end of the drinking challenge were supposed to be that if I won, Hayley cooked me breakfast, and if Hayley won I had to stay an extra day. I ended up staying, and Hayley got up too late for breakfast, so I guess that means I lost.

So day three was always going to be a quiet one, and it proved to be so. Spent the day walking around Pula, checking out the old Roman Amphitheatre and pretending that I was a gladiator walking out into the arena to fight some sort of beast. I also met Gordana’s (hostel owner) impossibly beautiful daughter Jasmina, who also has a beautiful singing voice. She also seemed to take great delight in taking the mickey out of my accent. Bloomin eck! I’m wrapping this up now, because it’s over 100 words. I’ll do another one tomorrow, because there is still Slovenia to talk about. Slovenia of course being the most important place I have ever visited in my life.

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