You’ve all read about our harrowing, hairpin, death-defying adventures through the Julian Alps, wherein we skillfully maneuvered, usually with our eyes open, around those Berserk, Bavarian BMWers. Needless to say, after having relived WWI at the wonderful Kobarid museum we were in no mood to battle another onslaught of Deutsche Daredevils on their Dynamo Diesels. (And I mean it had bordered on near-authentic reenactment, as we got caught up in a crushing wave of clearly indifferent academic adolescents being herded through the various exhibits. What an obvious study in contrast it was for us who had so enthusiastically journeyed well over 6,000 miles to specifically see the sites. Of course, chronologically we are much closer to the actual event so maybe that was the deciding factor!) Instead, we were looking for a more peaceful, gentler experience as we headed into the setting Slovenian sun and our Ljubljana hotel.
So there we were, the embodiment of everyone’s favorite Wacky Racers, Dick Dastardly and his canine side-kick, the snickering, but ever-so-lovable, Muttley. [Ed. Note: The choice of this pair of villains is purely fictional and bears no resemblance to the actual participants. I just couldn’t see us typecast as Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat. Yes, Professor Pat Pending in the Ring-a-Ding Convert-A-Car was an obvious contender, as well as the Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe. However, these Wacky Racers lacked the furry faced conspirator, an absolute must for a good story.] Having, rather rashly it now appears, left my perfectly valid driver’s license safely tucked away in my underwear drawer at home, I, like the ever-loyal Muttley, was the designated navigator. (Who in their wildest dreams imagined a Slovenian Hertz franchise would be so enticingly situated a few mere meters from our home-away-from-home in Ljubljana or that my intrepid traveling companion was willing to risk not only her tenured life and limb, but my aspiring ones, simply for lack of convenient public transportation. But, I digress.) Not legally allowed to fiddled with any knobs, sticks, or pedals that might actually interfere with the operation of the Mean Machine (aka VW Polo), Muttley cleverly occupied himself by stapling, folding, and otherwise ingeniously mutilating the map as well as frantically searching the interior of the vehicle for the correct combination of Euros to be carelessly thrown at the Slovenian trolls guarding the all too frequent toll roads.
So there we were, zoom, zoom, zooming through the East European countryside. The former Yugoslavian wind was blowing through our hair (well it would have, had we scraped together enough Euros to rent a convertible) and the Slovenian sun was tanning our fresh and eager faces (and it would have too, if the moon had not already been out. I’m just trying to set the perfect stage here. Work with me here!) God was obviously in his Heaven and all was right with the world. Only another 100 kilometers or so (that’s around 60 miles for the metrically challenged) and we’d be skidding under the checkered flags, home safe and sound Yes! Score another victorious run for the Wacky Racers! And then, unobtrusively situated at the side of the road, there it was……Stay tuned for Part II. Same time, same blog….