As you might know, Zi is originally from Slovenia, and after being together for a while the time came for Tom to meet Zi’s parents. So we traveled to Slovenia, both for Tom to meet the parents and to explore this small but stunningly beautiful country.
One of Slovenia’s most iconic landmarks is Mount Triglav, the highest mountain in the Julian Alps and with 2864 meters above sea level it is quite an impressive sight. Triglav means ‘three heads’ which reflects on the three sharp peaks that makes Triglav so iconic. It is said that you’re not a true Slovene until you’ve reached Triglav’s top. This is the story of how Tom became a true Slovene, as told by Tom.
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ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO DATE MY DAUGHTER?
Zi’s father loves Zi, but there’s one thing that he might love more than Zi and that’s hiking and climbing. In his younger days he was a very good free climber and he’s been all over the world climbing massive mountains like the Kilimanjaro. He still goes out for a hike a few times a month and invited me to climb Triglav with me and his friend Ecio.
Since I’m dating his daughter I felt like I couldn’t refuse. After Zi’s mother made sure I understood what I was getting myself into we went on our way, Zi’s father and Ecio who are both very experienced climbers and both in their 70s, and me, a 28 year old who’s never done anything like this before. Oh, and to complete the picture you should know that they don’t speak English, and I don’t speak Slovene, so communicating was difficult to say the least.
AN EARLY START
Getting to the top of Triglav is a long hike and only very experienced climbers can go up and down in one day, so we decided to make it a 2 day trip and spend the night in a mountain lodge close to the top. We left at 5 in the morning for the 2 hour drive from the coast where Zi’s parents live, to the foot of the mountain. We wanted to get as high as possible before the sun hit the mountain cause once you get above the tree border there is no shelter from the sun and you’ll get roasted.
The climb starts by making your way through a thick forest. There’s small painted circles on trees every now and then to mark the way, but if it wasn’t for my guides I would have gotten lost within minutes! I felt I was in good hands though knowing that they both had been up over 30 times already
TIME FOR SOME VIEWS!
After stumbling over tree roots for 2 hours and being amused by hearing the occasional echo of a cow mooing somewhere on a farm in the distance, we got out of the forest. That’s when the first big views came into sight and I realised we were already pretty high up. It was also when I realised that I would probably need to bathe in sunscreen to not become lobster-red from sunburn.
Our first stop was at a small hut where we sat down to eat a sandwich, catch our breath and look out over the forest we had just emerged from. With the top becoming visible far above us and still a long climb ahead we continued onwards. The path had transformed from a reasonably comfortable to walk on dirt path to a narrow and steep rocky path, where I needed to watch every step to not create a small rockslide. We must have been a laugh for other people seeing us, let me paint you a picture. Zi’s father in the front leading the way, me closely behind him, bathing in sweat and panting like an overheated dog, and finally Ecio who was in no particular rush usually about 20-30 meters behind us yelling “počasi, počasi!” (slow, slow!) as a way of letting us know to wait up. Which was fine by me cause it gave me a chance to catch my breath and take in the overwhelming views.
After a total of more than 6 hours we reached the mountain lodge where we would spend the night. The afternoon had not passed yet and there was enough daylight left to reach the top, so we took a powernap, filled up our water bottles and prepared for the last and most challenging part of the climb. We had to put on a climbing harness as the climb involved a via ferrata going straight up and balancing on a small ledge with a huge drop on both sides.
AT THE TOP, AT LAST
A very scary but exciting hour and a half later I had reached the top of the highest mountain in Slovenia, and with my 2 meters I realised that at that moment I was probably the tallest point in all of Slovenia. I didn’t get a chance to think about this for long though as this is when the real initiation began. On the top there’s a small round tower called the Aljaž tower. It is tradition that when you reach the top for the first time you are told that there’s something for you in the tower and that you should stick your head through the door to see what it is. As it was my first time on the top I was told exactly that, and sticking my head through the door is what I did.
As I stuck my head through the door I noticed that there was nothing there, just the inside of a small metal cone. And just when I realised I was being fooled I got slapped on my ass with a rope, and then again, and a third time. When I turned around I was embraced by my two guides, cheering and laughing! Turns out that the final part of the ritual is to be slapped on the ass by a true Slovene.
How tough are you?
Triglav can be a tough climb no matter how many days you take to conquer it, but there’s not many hikes that give you so many different beautiful sceneries and the views over the Julian Alps once you reach the top are incredibly rewarding.
So what do you think, is Tom man enough to date Zi? And do you have it in you to climb Mount Triglav or have you already been to the top? Let us know in the comments below!