About a day or so from Ljubljana, we arrive at the home of Emilia and her family, a charming little place on a hill with a detached garage, terrace, and garden on the other side of the road. Emilia answers us at our knock and is the only one home. After serving us a couple glasses of water, Emilia joins us at the table and we talk about everything from Warm Showers to politics. Emilia is an artist, staying at home to care for her two daughters. Her husband works an hour away (by car) in Ljubljana. Participating in Warm Showers was Emilia’s idea – she loves the concept of sharing experiences and different cultures while having the opportunity to provide what she can easily give, a place to relax and rest from one’s travels. She has the perfect set up for it, an apartment over her garage with access to a stove, refrigerator, and hammock on the grape vine covered terrace with a very pleasant view over the rest of the village. She has had four travelers this year already. Though Emilia herself is an incredibly giving and sharing person, she jokes that at one time she thought she might like to live in Greece where the people are nicer, “In Greece, a man acquires a cow and his neighbor thinks to himself, ‘Well it will be nice to have milk.’ In Slovenia a man acquires a cow and his neighbor thinks, ‘I hope he dies.’” Still, Emilia raves over having access to so much nature so close to home: the mountains, the sea, the rivers, the forest, etc. and the city, Ljubljana, just an hour away. She bought her home in the country just after finishing her higher education at age 26, actually meeting her husband afterwards. “Just in time,” she tells us, “It is very hard for people to own their own home now in Slovenia.” Apparently home prices rose dramatically when Slovenia changed currency to the Euro and outside chains drove down the value of Slovenian goods. “We are too small,” she says – too small to be lumped into something so big without reducing what it means to live in Slovenia.
Once her daughters arrive home, she takes them to the sea, about a 35 minute car ride, leaving Kyle and I to our own devices out on the terrace. Later than evening, she cooks us dinner, sending the children out to serves us. Sophia, the older one, smiles and says, “Bon appetite!” In the morning the girls are already out the door for school, so we miss a whole family photo opportunity, but some friends of Emilia’s offer to take a picture us. We then bid Emilia farewell as we zoom down the hill towards the Croatian coast. Thank you Emilia for your generosity – we loved our time at your home.