This past summer Out Adventures veered into Slovenia, and brought Lino DiNallo – our insufferable writer – along for the ride. For better or worse, we’ve let him paint tableaus of his own time in the motherland of America’s former
Third First Lady.
SCENE ONE: We are on a family-run cheese farm on a quaint country road
Our hostess hurries down the hill from the farmhouse. She is fully clad in Alpine country kit: an apron, blousy top, and a dirndl – a dirndl! The ensemble is of another era, and she wears it without irony. Though we are far removed from modern society, the cosmo capital of Ljubljana is less than an hour away.
She offers us a boozy welcome: shots of blueberry brandy ‘for the women’, something stronger for the men…she didn’t get the memo there would be no women, though we gladly take her up on the blueberry brandy. It’s barely 9 AM, after all.
Though the family lived in the old world and practiced old traditions, they weren’t old-fashioned. They made us feel thoroughly welcome and enjoyed the antics of our campiest travellers. Because they loved it, so did I.
To the delight and horror of passing villagers, we added some extra salt to our butter-making demo on the dairy farm.
SCENE TWO: We are atop Vogel Mountain, one of the largest ski resorts in Slovenia
While others admire the view, I’m distracted by the signs that surround us. They warn of eminent death for anyone who ventures close to the edge. And they’re hilarious.
Unable to fathom WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG, I kneel on the ground and shimmy to the edge. It’s a classic, basic photo…I may as well be pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s only after I stand up again that I begin to feel the burn.
My shins feel like they’ve been sandblasted and then dredged in sriracha. Those bushes I just knelt in? Stinging nettle! And oh, how it burned. I don’t know if there was a lesson to learn about kneeling in strange places, but I do know this: if you need to learn a lesson, Vogel Mountain is a beautiful place to do so.
Killing myself to fake my death, before the stinging nettle set in.
SCENE THREE: The entrance of Postojna Caves, Slovenia’s #1 Tourist Destination
We’ve just begun our descent into the cavernous system. We ride a kitschy little train that seems safe enough, and we pass through a massive chamber lit by a Murano chandelier – classy! As we gain speed through the narrow passages, the craggy walls occasionally come so close I can’t help but picture pulling a Jayne Mansfield.
It’s tough to describe the majesty of the actual caves. It was like being in a gothic cathedral hewn by Mother Nature. Cave upon cave, some hundreds of feet tall. Some red, some white, all with stalactites shimmering in the darkness. On the other hand, the stalagmites, standing erect on the ground, looked like dicks. Giant, mineral-infused dildos and dongs with mushroom heads et al.
mineral infused dicksshimmering stalagmites of the Postojna caves.
SCENE FOUR: Open on a campground overlooking Lake Bled. It is breakfast.
The last time I went ‘glamping,’ I had a less than a glamorous roommate. Alas, my expectations were high, and Slovenia did not disappoint.
We spent two sexy nights in smart wooden huts, our own gay commune within a bigger campground. My hut was spotless, tidy and chic like I was the first to lay within its frame. The rear wall was a single pane of glass that erased a boundary with nature but kept me cozy inside.
The outhouse was even more fabulous. After opening the padlock, a fairy-tale water closet for modern minimalists awaited: fancier than the crapper in my condo, and the walk-in shower was separated by a glass partition. There were fluffy white towels to dry your pelt and a waterfall faucet to wash your shame. And it was all only a padlock away. In a private shack. In a campground. In rural Slovenia.
Only a padlock away, my superfancy ensuite awaited.
SCENE FIVE: A gaggle of gays surround our late-night campfire.
“Tell us about Melania,” someone bellows.
We were gathered around the fire with our tour guide, and we wanted his perspective on Slovenia’s most iconic export, the world’s grandest trophy wife. His English was strong, so he didn’t mince words.
“Melania is from…where hillbillies live.”
Everybody burst into laughter. Clearly, even in Slovenia, national treasures can be highly subjective.
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