Last Monday, I wrote about the (funny) names of Slovenian villages. I got some nice responses and one reader, from abroad, wrote how funny she thought it was that her Slovenian family lives in a village where there are no street names, only the name of the village with the house number. This is a normal phenomenon here, as Slovenia has many (very) small villages that often consist of only a single »street« or even just a few houses. Our village Gradenc has only 17 inhabited houses in the »center« (ahem ;)). There are more houses, but they are empty. In addition, there are a fair number of stables and barns, so all in all, the village looks bigger than it actually is ;). All houses only have a house number and our address is, for example, Gradenc 27. And because Gradenc falls under the municipality of Žužemberk, we have the zip code of Žužemberk.
Now you might think: “That’s handy, you never have to search for a street, just follow the numbers to the correct house number”. Well, you will probably be disappointed. The house numbers are very often not in order at all. Do you need number 20 and you find yourself at number 21? There’s no guarantee that the house you are looking for is even close, haha. It’s very possible you have to drive another 500 meters, turn right somewhere and drive to the end of the road to find your house ;). The main reason for this is, that over the years houses have been demolished and new houses have been built. A village may have once started out with 10 houses, so numbers 1 to 10. Then later number 3 was demolished and, for example, a new house was built at the end of the village, which then got number 3. Or a new house was built between numbers 4 and 5 which then got number 11. In this way, villages became larger and the house numbers became more and more mixed up. In Gradenc it is not that much of a problem, as it is a very small village with one main road. But if you have a village with, for example, 80 houses, you can sometimes be driving around for quite some time, looking for a specific house number :).
And if you think that Gradenc is a really small village ….. When Bine and I just got together and I moved to Slovenia, for a short period we lived in a village with just 3 houses! And of those three houses was abandoned! The house that we rented temporarily belonged to a man who lived abroad and only came there a few times a few years, so that house was also empty for most of the year, haha. Our neighbors therefore mainly lived all alone in the village. At the time, there was only a sandy path through the village on which two houses. The third house was built a bit more back, away from the road. In both directions it was a few miles to the next village, so we were surrounded by fields and woods. It was really very idyllic. I absolutely loved the fact that it was even possible to live like that. One of my favorite memories dates back to that time. On a beautiful, sunny summer morning, it was still early, Bine called me. I was still in bed and he had just gotten up. In the field across from the house, a deer was grazing, less than 20 meters away. Together we stood in the doorway looking at this peaceful scene. It was such an amazing sight, especially if you have just moved from the Netherlands where you had never experienced something like this before, or could ever even experience it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have mobile phones yet back then, a no camera on hand :(. I would have loved to be able to show you a picture of it.
In the area where we live now, we also have those »mini« villages. Less than 4 kilometers away is the village of »Klopce«, which also has just 3 houses :D. So funny. I often walk through it when I go for a walk. In only a few steps I’m out of the village again. I googled a little and read that in Slovenia there are 22 villages with only 2 residents, 20 villages with just 1 resident and no fewer than 60 »villages« with not a single resident, so empty. More about the latter group in a next blog.