Have you ever done something you thought you couldn’t do?
Well now I can definitely say I have. And so can all of my Hungarian hockey teammates.
At the beginning of August, my hockey team had a team bonding/conditioning camp. It was actually really odd because we didn’t really have an idea of where we were going or what we would be doing. The coaches had just sent out an email saying what to bring (a backpack, clothes for 6 days, a swimsuit, and good shoes). No one expected what we would actually be doing.
We started the trip at the rink, we all pilled into this small van/bus, with just enough seats for everyone to fit. Around 7 hours later we arrived in Most Na Soči, Slovenia.
We settled into our hotel, and all ate dinner. Actually at this dinner, I sat with some girls I had never talked to. I discovered that one of my teammates was a Rotary exchange student last year too! It is such a small world, and I’m so lucky we met each other. We had a lot to talk about on this long trip. And I gained an instant new best friend! After dinner we had a team meeting, and discovered what we would be doing– walking 100km through Slovenia.
Of course everyone was freaking out. What?? There is no way we can do that. No way.
We went to bed and awoke in the morning with the same feelings. Are we really going to do this?
We ate breakfast, grabbed a packed lunch and took our backpacks. The bus drove us from the village to the start of our trail. That sweet, sweet bus we wished we could all stay on to take us to our final destination instead.
Basically, what we did was follow the Soča river for the majority of our trip. We took a break around every 2 hours. We walked about 5km a hour, and walked around 7 hours a day.
Obviously this was no way an easy thing. We didn’t just walk 100km, we walked more like 120+. No one knows exactly how far it was. There was a lot of complaining and bitching to each other about how much our feet hurt, and how heavy our backpacks were. But it definitely was some team bonding. I tried to talk to all the girls there, some of them didn’t speak very good English, and I didn’t speak any Hungarian at all. Us foreigners taught them English and they taught us Hungarian. I might know one or two swear words now (or like, all of them).
On the positive side, Slovenia is an absolutely beautiful country. Every turn we made there were luscious green trees. The river we were following the Soča river, has the most astounding water color ever. It’s this turquoise-blue/emerald color. I don’t even know if this color has a name. I have never seen water this color before. The whole time we were trying to figure out why the water was this color! Every village was out of a fairytale. Churches on top of hills, Castles on top of mountains. The houses painted in bright colors. I was never disappointed by the view.
The big white building in the middle on the right side was our second hotel. We had the same routine. Shower, dinner, sleep, wake up, breakfast, pack, go and walk. That night lots of massages were given. Chocolate was eaten. Blisters were popped.
And then we were back walking. The second walking day we border hopped a bit. Back and forth between Slovenia and Italy. For the night, we ended up staying outside of Trieste, Italy! Such a beautiful city, would love to go back. Unfortunately for us, today was also the day we walked over a mountain. It was brutal to say the least.
Also on this day, half of the group got kind of lost. We were way behind the coaches and the other half of the group, and we came to a village. We weren’t exactly sure which way they went, and ended up having to ask some locals if they saw people like us go by. Of course they spoke little to no English, but one of them spoke German, and so did a girl on our team. So we followed what they said but we were still really confused. Then shortly after this when we found the rest of our group sitting in the next village waiting for us, one of the girls started puking from heat exhaustion.
This had to be an act of God or something, because it was no coincidence, but there was a charter bus parked right in front of where we were sitting in this tiny village. And the owner of the bus was sitting outside with some buddies. The coaches convinced him to drive us to our hotel, which was still a 45 minute bus ride from this village. We were all soo relived and thankful that somehow that bus was there.
Our hotel this night was really nice. And we were in Italy!! A few blocks from the sea, but no one left the hotel because we were all so tired and our feet hurt that much. For dinner we had pasta and it was delicious. After a few of us also had gelato which was convienently located in the hotel’s lobby.
The next day was the last walking day. Then we would be in our final location, on the beach in Portorož, Slovenia. This day we walked the entire coast line of Slovenia. Keep in mind it’s a small country, but damn it was a long walk! Probably the hardest and longest day, just because we were mentally tired and our feet felt like they were going to fall off.
The next two nights and three days we stayed in a 4 star hotel, which was actually these really nice apartments. The beach was right out the door, and the apartments were inclosed in the marina. The second night we all went out on a boat and it was a really good time. The rest of the time was spent on the beach or eating. I didn’t go to the beach during the day because my sunburn was so bad (as always, I am sunburnt). But I had a good time hanging out with some girls inside the nice air-conditioned apartments. We got gelato at night, and had some strolls on the beach.
I am proud of myself that I made it though this trip. It was some of the best and worst times in my life. Well maybe not worst, but at the time it was difficult to keep going. I made some amazing friends, saw some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, done something I didn’t think was possible. And I even think I learned a little bit about myself along the way.
Slovenia now has a special place in my heart. I would love to go back someday and explore this beautiful country more (but next time preferably by car).
Here’s a map of Slovenia. Red= day one (Most na Soči–> Nova Gorica) Blue= day two (Nova Gorica–> Trieste, Italy) Green= day three (Trieste, Italy–> Portorož, Slovenia). Doesn’t seem far but when you’re walking it seems like we walked around the whole country!!