Everyone was so excited. Luggage checks were carried out. Tags inserted. Goodbyes expressed. Busses boarded. Off we went to Newark Airport. No one had ever heard of Slovenia, so when people would ask us where we were going, most would say Italy because it was a more familiar place. Around noon, the flight took off. We stopped for a 5-hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany filled with boredom and exploration, which means walking around and taking a picture next to Dior. We boarded for Venice.
When we arrived, we took a bus to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The first thing you will notice while on the road is that everyone drives small cars. The buildings are magnificent; gothic styled and detailed designs The downside upon arriving Ljubljana was that the magnificent city seemed violated with graffiti. We lodged at Park Hotel (www.parkhotel.si). After a long day, we had some dinner, checked in with our chaperones, and went to bed.
Being a sport geek, I had to wake up earlier than usual to exercise . It was uplifting because I got to interact with other choral-athletes I’d never spoken to. We had a filling buffet breakfast. Following the itinerary, we drove to the Ljubljana Castle but had to walk uphill to reach the castle. The interior was awesome, marked with gothic style architecture, high ceiling and wall frescos. Being a choral family and all, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to leave our mark in the magnificent building. We visited Skofja Loka, also located on a hill and known as the best-preserved medieval town in Slovenia. We had lunch in Gostilna Pri Bostjanu, a local restaurant that gave us a taste of Slovenian cuisine. Everything there had a slower, more relaxed, take-all-the-time-you-need ambiance. Between courses, everyone talked, laughed, and relaxed. They sang and played for us while we had dessert, it was soothing. We then left to rehearse for our concert in Sokolski Dom, where we experienced more of the culture. Coincidentally, the Slovenian president happened to be running some errands and stepped in to greet us. It was epic! Then we sang for the audience, an experience that words could not express.
The next day, we had a guided tour of Ljubljana. We saw the Dragon Bridge, an important structure in Slovenia. Then we saw the cobbler’s bridge, a romantic type of bridge where couples locked their love in padlocks. We passed by a “shed” that sold fresh unpasteurized cow milk. It still remains a mystery how that is possible since there were no live cows on sight. Then, we visited the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, magnificent in every way and sinceYOLO is the motto, we had to make a mark with our voices. After, we were given some free time to explore the city on our own. My friend and I stumbled upon a movie set. Later, we got ready for our concert and sung a combined piece with the Veter Choir. I met so many great people and we bonded over ”childish” games like “bunny-bunny, donka-donka”. And even though we barely new each other, our one connection was music and that was all we needed.
I’ve made new friends from this trip; regardless of culture or language, music united us. Also, my dream to see the world was realized earlier than I’d thought and isn’t impossible after all.