You know I rarely need to learn a lesson twice, right? Having been caught out a little late to squirrel breakfast yesterday, there’s no way I’d make the same mistake twice. It’s up even earlier (hours before I used to rise for work 😉) bleary eyed, coffee in hand, nuts at the ready. Himself can’t be dragged along fast enough…come on, come on, come on!!! Luckily we’re staying in Tivoli Park so it’s only a quick stroll through the wildflower meadow to the squirrelly spot.
And gentle readers, she shoots, she scores. This early in the morning, there are squirrels a plenty. We see red ones, we see red ones with dark tails, a rich red brown, and we see chocolatey brown squirrels with creamy white bibs. We see frisky spring babies and grown ups. They chitter excitedly, chase each other around trees and spring about defying gravity. It’s official, I’m truly in squirrel heaven!
But wait….. there’s more! This group this well versed in what we’re here for. Once nuts are produced they dutifully present for treats on offer, scampering across grass, abseiling down trees and generally breaking all records for cuteness and friendliness.
The first hour’s worth of nuts are scoffed, but once they’ve had their fill, the ritual nut burials begin. These squirrels aren’t silly, they know the importance of a good larder for leaner times. I just love watching them diligently tamp down their secret stashes.
The birdies are out in force too. Himself focusses on hand feeding little wild birds, feeding the occasional squirrel,
while I squirrel on, one group after the other. I soon lose count of how many I see and feed. The little chocolate ones are the shyest, initially accepting nuts only from afar. It takes almost two hours of patient coaxing to get one to take a nut from my hand. And deeply satisfying it is too, when he does.
Emboldened by sheer numbers of close encounters, I risk a little under the chin scritch – it doesn’t seem unappreciated. Bliss. Their fur is gently soft, their little jaw bones unbelievably delicate.
One little one, deciding I wasn’t quite in the right position, gently takes my finger and moves it to his liking before collecting his nut. I’m. In. Heaven. Heaven!! When anyone ever asks me what the best part of any trip is, it’s always encounters like these. They remain joyously locked in my heart forever.
We stay for hours before everyone is sated. Well, the squizlings are, anyway. I could have easily stayed a few more hours. I am reluctantly dragged away, only once my final little red co-conspirator is off for his morning nap.
We’ve been staying in Tivoli Park the last two nights (the out of town spot, equipped with services, being full on arrival) and Himself is making noises about needing to fill up with water, plug into power, etc. In the interests of ticking off a few chores, I reluctantly agree. Pesky things chores, laundry in the main: travelling does nothing to mitigate them. We stock up on borek and make our way out of the city to spend the next couple of hours charging batteries and being house elves.
There’s a debate – do we stay in Ljubljana longer, or move on? I know that left to my own devices, I could easily lose time here – squirrelling in the morning, boreks for lunch, chevapchi for dinner. Perhaps the other way around for a change of pace. A market visit when I felt the urge to cook. You might see me home somewhere around….let’s say 2046. Knowing this, I agree we should probably move on. And we do, crossing the Austrian border by early afternoon.
And as pretty as Austria is, the mountains are truly lovely, it’s clear as the afternoon progresses, that the decision to move on might have been a mistake. I’ve done so with quite a heavy heart. More than a small part of it has been left in Slovenia.