The best day by far! Here in Maribor, Slovenia we stayed at an upscale ski lodge, where the temperature was quite warm even hot. Yes, I got sunburned. Ha-ha. The day started with a hike up the mountain. After the hike, the real work began when we found an intricate jungle gym with many ropes, high bridges, and tires. Everyone was stoked to start playing after we were strapped into our gear and helmets. Oh, did we look good. The first course we completed was the Pamper pole. A twenty-foot high pole with 3 inch pegs alternating up it. The task was to climb up it then stand on top of the 8 inch in diameter log then turn around and jump down while the rest of the team supported your weight with the ropes. It was quite a challenge mentally to completely depend on your balance on a tiny pole 20 feet up. Everyone prevailed and conquered the task. Even though a few looked like cats stuck in a tree unwilling to move an inch. The second task was the most thrilling. “The Swing” as our tour guide Udrash called it. You were harnessed 30 feet in the air and then you pulled a string that would swing you out over the edge of the mountain. My squad, the thrill seekers, all went upside down. Jen Spindler our trainer for the trip and the not-so-thrill seeking kind, stayed up there for 5 whole minutes before she built up the courage to pull her string. Kevin, coach Bauer’s husband, also pulled the string before reaching the top. The team that was at a full run to pull the rope heaving him up all fell on the ground. The third task was quite demanding. The challenge: You and a partner climb up a log ladder without touching any of the ropes that hold the logs together. You are given a 2 ft long rope that was tied in a knot and your wits. The defeat: Tracey and Rachel were the first group to try and they were quite amusing while they desperately hung on to each other as they turned over straddling the log. They also didn’t make it to the second log. The champs: Brett and I were second up and we conquered every log like Sylvester Stalone in Cliff Hanger. Every team did equally as well and the long legs of volleyball players definitely played to our favor.
Phew! We were beat after the ropes course and were ready for some less strenuous fun. We ate at the top of the mountain then we rode down the mountain on a kiddy rollercoaster, that wasn’t so kiddy. I was actually scared I was going to fly out of the little seat. Brooke, our Europe guide, challenged us not to brake the whole way down. I was baby and braked a little. Brooke, Coach B, Obert, Rinne and Shibe all came flying through the finish flags at super sonic speed. We were given some free time to do what we wanted. A few went to the city where they saw where Hitler spoke and the Guinness book of world records Oldest Vine. A few went to a little café and ate ice cream which was absolutely delicious. Nothing like creamy tiramisu ice cream mmmm! Others went strolling around the hotel and we all met up at the Gondala to go to the spa.
The ride up on the Gondola was absolutely amazing. It was a 15 minute Ferris wheel ride that allowed us to get a great view of Slovenia and even some of Austria. Once to the top we went to a fabulous spa and felt o so glamorous. The brand new, chic, classy and very clean spa offered a sauna, pool and hot tub filled with fresh spring salt water. It was the perfect touch to add to the physically demanding day. But the fun didn’t stop there. Our tongues were delighted as we were treated to a true Slovenian meal at the top of the mountain. Sausages, pork chops, salad, red peppers, potatoes, and apple strudel were served buffet style. Rachel loved the sausages and ate almost half of them. The restaurant also treated us to their Slovenian drink that all Slovenians drink for their health. Borounicevec, a blueberry spicy cinnamon flavored drink that quenched our thirst. Shibe entertained us by dancing with the cook in the traditional Slovenian dance that looked a lot like shag. Brooke also entertained our table by telling us the difference between European and American men. Later we played a rowdy game of cards while we waited for the Gondola to pick us up. We all were quite happy with full tummies as we went to bed.