When we moved to Slovenia in 2003 we first rented a house in Predoslje, near Kranj. We lived there for 6 years. When we learned that the owner was thinking about building a new house for herself on »our« spot, we started looking around for a house we could buy. My parents, at that point, were looking to buy a holiday house and on the internet, I found an old house in Gradenc. The price was just 38.000,00€ and it had almost 2000m2 of land. Together with my parents we went to have a look. And while my parents thought it was too much work for them to renovate it, I saw a lot of potential, loved the location (got a Heidi and Peter feeling), and therefore suggested to buy it for ourselves.
After some deliberation we decided to go ahead and buy the house. This was at the end of 2008. In June 2009, when the summer holiday started, we moved to Gradenc. The house was not even close to »livable« so for the first three months we stayed in 2 caravans, thinking we could get it livable in this time. It soon became clear there was no way we could get the house ready before the winter and the villagers knew this as well. They suggested to ask the owner of an old empty house in the village if we could rent that house for a while. He had inherited the house and lived somewhere else himself. Luckily he let us use the house for free. Although it was really old and in bad shape, it was livable. It had 2 large rooms, a kitchen and a functioning bathroom with a shower and toilet. We had to heat it on wood. At the time it was a great solution for us. It was just 100 meters away from our house so we could work on it every free minute we had. Bine build almost everything himself, without any prior experience! In the end it took us almost three years to finish the house and move in. But it was so worth it. We love how it turned out and still enjoy it every single day.
Gradenc is a very small village, as I already wrote in my introduction blog. It only has about 20 occupied houses and probably as many empty ones. The village is surrounded by fields, hills and forests. We live on the edge of the village so we don’t have any more houses after ours, which means a free view from our living room. Two years ago we built a big porch so we can enjoy the outside even more, even when it rains. When the twilight start in the evening we often see deer pasture in the fields near the forest. Sometimes we see foxes, even in our kitchen! A few years ago, a fox actually came walking into the kitchen…..I couldn’t believe my eyes. Unfortunately, she didn’t look very healthy and was probably looking for food. There is lots of wildlife around, also bears and wolves. It’s such a privilege to be able to live in such beautiful and quiet surroundings. Both Bine and I absolutely love it.
Another thing I really like about the Slovene countryside is how self-sufficient people are. They all have a small farm where they grow their own vegetables, have a few cows, maybe one or two pigs and chicken. This region is known for a special homemade wine called »Cviček«. It’s made from a mix of red and white grapes and has a low alcohol percentage. All of the villagers (except for us) have their own vineyard and make their own »Cviček«. When it’s time to harvest the grapes, friends and family come to help and after the job is done they have a feast with lots of Cviček and food. Too bad I don’t drink alcohol ;).