We are here in Koper for about two weeks before deciding on our next destination. During our time with my Uncle we had a good mix of spending time with family (translation: eating) and visiting various small towns in the area. My Uncle is a great host. The days varied from leaving in the morning and driving to a neighbouring small town (Piran, Portoroz, Isola) to relaxing at his home and just enjoying being in one place.
Piran is a beautiful small town on the Adriatic coast. Slovenia has a very small coastline and this tiny town is a gem. The centre is situated on a point jutting out into the Adriatic Sea. All the homes are crowded together, where the red tiled roofs almost touch each other. The walkways are . . .
narrow, just enough for a wheel barrow to pass, which was used when the homes were built. Up above on a seaside cliff stands a church with a bell tower providing magnificent views of the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see Venezia across the Adriatic. These small towns throughout Slovenia have such charm and history. It is nice to be here with Carolyn, Birch and Allegra so they can see where my Dad was born and spent his childhood years. Birch and Allegra have a stronger sense of their Nonno's roots and having family here to visit is a real privilege. I am grateful.
My Uncle is always joking and quite the funny guy. He always has a story to tell and is ready to entertain you. Carolyn did very well speaking Italian and I translated the odd story when the meaning got lost. During our visit, my uncle often fired up an old wood stove where we ate all kinds of cooked meats and drank wine from my uncle's vineyard. My uncle fills old water bottles with either white or red wine. Once, when we all sat down to eat, Allegra asked me to pass the juice, so I grabbed the bottle with the apple juice label and poured some into her glass. Seconds later Allegra took a big mouthful and started to gag, crying, "What is this stuff?" I took a sip, exclaiming "It's white wine!". Allegra said "How can you drink this, it burns!" and needed some water to wash it down.
Mary, my uncle's partner, is a professional pastry chef. She taught at the local college and makes incredible cakes, pastries and sweets. Obviously we enjoyed some great desserts during our visit. At one point Birch spent an afternoon with Mary and learned how to make a cheese strudel. She bought all the ingredients the day before and presented Birch with a chef hat. They busily spent the next hour, rolling, mixing and baking this delicious treat and we all enjoyed eating it.
One of our favorite activities with Mary and Flavio is to walk in the woods, searching for wild asparagus, something we never do in Canada.