I may owe some people an apology. There's probably not many of them, but still. The thing is, I distinctly remember using the word Holland for the country with Amsterdam as its capital. But in reading stuff after Stephanie and Sarah left, I ran into this. So apparently, "Holland" and "the Netherlands" are not interchangeable terms. Holland is merely a province (nowadays 2 provinces, South and North) of the Netherlands. Oh and to think that here in the Balkans we just about kill each other over names... [Shudder].
Guess what? Our couch finally did move a little:) Well not our couch per se, but we did. These past 5 days we've been at our 100yr old house in the mountains just up from Bitola, in the village called Magarevo which is just at the edge of one of Macedonia's (if not the) most beautiful national parks - Pelister. We come here once in a while in the wintertime and quite more often in the summertime, always with visions of absolute laziness, sun-soaking and long uphill hikes. In practice, our stays here are a mix of really hardcore garden work, the occasional home improvement project and (really towards the end of our days) a couple of lazy morning hours, book gulping and rakija-induced afternoon naps. Despite the blisters on our hands and the really embarrassing tan lines that reek of fieldwork, and no matter how short our stay in this little getaway, we openly daydream about moving to the countryside where we'll blend in with the local folks that live beyond 90, wake up to the sound of birds, eat from our vegetable garden, and perhaps even get used to the idea of sketchy TV reception, no neighbors to steal wireless from and the ever-present village gossip.
Yes, in almost a year of hosting couchsurfers, and close to 30 guests from over 12 countries, this week and for the first time ever we hosted guests from another ex Yugoslav republic. You'd think we'd get more of them - after all, we're all in the neighborhood, the culture is familiar, the region is not that expensive to travel around but no, so far, we hadn't had anyone from any of the other 5 (or 6, depending on how you look at it) ex republics of old Yugoslavia.
All that changed Tuesday with the arrival of Maja and Elena from Croatia (Istria and Rijeka region respectively, both stuyding in Rijeka). We got excited from the moment we received their CS request and in the excitement at some point I exclaimed "That's the closest destination we've ever had guests from!!!" But silly me, I didn't think that Istanbul (yes, the city at the edge of the continent) is, by a straight air line at least, closer than Rijeka. Oh well,
closest Balkan destination then! And oh, did I mention, first ex-Yugoslav:)!!!
How do you say cheers in Estonian? Terviseks!!!!... Yeah, I know, it sounds like something else! :)
So, Mirjam and Hanna arrived on Saturday afternoon bringing us some very cute and tasty gifts…. Like this box of Estonian Chocolate Buttons (or Šokolaadinööbid).