Slovenians are Nature Lovers
It seems that the novel corona virus was needed to make us notice all the things that we take for granted or normal. But while these everyday things we are relearning to treasure can be someone’s normal, they can be prestige for many others.
Practising social distancing for these past weeks (it started March 16 in Slovenia), I suddenly started to realise how much I miss my daily walks to the forest or alongside the river. And I got similar responses from the majority of my friends.
They have been stressed for not being able to run, cycle, walk, go hiking in the hills or mountains, etc. They all started to miss their usual activities in the open air.
We, Slovenians are lucky. We live in a green oasis, a mixture of four geographical and cultural entities – the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst region and the Pannonian Plain. Those four geographical and cultural entities have shaped the character of the country and the country shaped the character of its inhabitants.
For us, it is normal to go for a walk into the forest or on a nearby hill after work, regardless if we live in one of the mayor cities (like the capital, Ljubljana) or outside. Ljubljana has a forest practically in the city centre, as well as a very popular hill (Šmarna gora) just a few kilometres from the centre. It is also normal for the majority of the people to enjoy weekend trips to the mountains.
There are more than ten thousand kilometres of marked mountain trails threaded throughout the dynamic landscape of Slovenia, and more than 150 mountain huts can be found along them.
For us, being surrounded with green and enjoying the smell of pine trees or freshly-cut grass on a daily basis is normal, even taken for granted, but in reality, for a lot of people around the world it is a luxury.
Many, I could even say the majority, of Slovenians, have at least a small garden where we grow our own vegetables, perhaps a small vineyard, some fruit trees, so that we relax our mind for a while and make our hand busy. Households make home-made honey, jams, juices, wine, preserves, pickles, from fruits and vegetables grown in their gardens, or their friends’ or grandparents’ gardens. Nowadays, an estimated 5% of the Slovenian population are beekeepers. Nature is coded in our genes and runs through our veins.