The kids awoke bright and early. Another gloomy day loomed outside our window, taunting us as the boys elbowed and kneed their way out of bed.
We played, we packed, showered, dressed, and otherwise counted the minutes until breakfast. And yet the clock seemed to drag towards 8:30, moving a minute at a time as the boys dumped the same large basket of teeny tiny toys over and over again (which their fool of a mom continued to pick up, time and again, miniature piece after miniature piece).
Finally it was time to eat. As coats were donned, however, the morning took something of a turn.
For perhaps the fifth time since the previous evening our little Finn broke into loud and frantic, though short-lived, cries when we picked him up.
Until that point we thought perhaps he was sore from his fall, or maybe just entering a new stage of independence that made holding or cuddling of any sort entirely repugnant. But at that moment my mother's intuition kicked in (granted, it was twelve-hours late, but at least it made a showing).
So we laid him on the bed and stripped off all his clothes, looking for some physical sign, or lack of, that would put our minds at ease.
And we certainly found something. It looked like a little lump, or bruise of sorts, underneath his armpit. It made sense with the fall and accounted for his discomfort when picked up.
And while I prepared to pack our bags and head back home, my more sane half (Joel) reminded me it was just a bruise. It only seemed to hurt if we lifted him wrong, so let's keep an eye on it and keep going. We thought about calling the doctor, but what would we say. Our child has a bruise.
So after a mouth-watering breakfast and quick good-bye to the animals we piled in and headed out.
Finn cried a bit, but nothing abnormal, particularly for a three-hour car ride. But mostly he slept. As did Aiden.
So when they woke as we pulled into the city of Ljubljana, and though we were careful to hold him the right way, we hardly noticed anything was wrong.
Instead we walked along the riverside cafes, stopping briefly for a macchiato and snack for the kids. We scoured the large, outdoor market, settling on a large bottle of what we thought was homemade apple cider (only to later realize it was, what we could only pinpoint as, an alcoholic apple soda. Which we were certainly not made aware of by our three year-old son's utter repulsion to the drink.) And slowly meandered back to the car while enjoying some traditional Slovenian food (hot dogs and gyros). Of course stopping for the obligatory train impersonations and pigeon chasing.
But the day remained chilly and bleak, so in a last-minute decision we changed courses and headed to Postojna, home of the famous cave trains. Need I say more.
The train-ride was surreal, the caverns lit from within, glowing from its recessed chambers. Speeding through with giant, age-old rocks passing shockingly close to our heads, it felt more like a dream than reality.
Until the train stopped, mid-trip, and the walk began. Let's just say the tour, though beautiful and fascinating, was a bit long for a two and three year-old. But we made it through, with no lack of complaining (mostly on my part), and were heading back to daylight, tired, but more knowledgeable (right Joel?).
From there, in the dark and pouring rain, we found our next "home" and settled down for the night.
Nothing really noteworthy to talk about here .
While Bled is a beautiful region of Slovenia all-year long, it is mostly enjoyed for its glassy lake in the summer and various snow sports in the winter.
So cold, rainy fall days leave the region tourist-free, and really a bit eerie.
We did try bowling, but after a quick eight frames Aiden wanted to go home because he "wasn't really good."
Finally some sunshine! It didn't last long, but was a nice start to the day, and though the clouds returned, the rain didn't, and we were anxious to explore the great outdoors.
So we headed straight to the lake's most well-known waterfall. I knew from my research on TripAdvisor that it wasn't a short walk to the falls. In fact, it consisted of 555 large, wooden stairs built into the side of the mountain. And I'm still not sure how we ended up there, but after asserting to Joel we would not relive the "cave walk" and should choose something shorter, we stood at the base of a long, winding trail, waiting to pay our six Euros for what I could only assume was impending disaster.
But somehow our preschool-aged son, who complains that his legs are falling off when we walk half a block, practically skipped up the stairs... all 555 of them... all the way to the top. We heard the waterfall before we saw it, and did not regret the climb as we turned the corner, greeted by the rush of pounding water and gently showered with the mist of the falls.
It was beautiful, and though I'm still not quite sure how we got there, I found myself, in a rare moment I am hoping he quickly forgets, admitting that my husband was right. It was worth it.
After a short walk by the lake, where our sweet, youngest son was bit on the leg by swan (who I still can't think about without seething with anger, darn swan) we ate our first of many Italian meals and headed to bed.
We mostly forgot about Finn's fall. He didn't complain or cry, unless appropriate of course (such as hunger, exhaustion, his brother beating him with a train). In fact, we assumed his injuries were healed and the fall a distant memory, an inconsequential moment in our trip.
So much for motherly intuition.
(To be continued... again... in a third and final installment.)