We’ve had a wonderfully busy year of travelling this year, what with us travelling through Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania before settling in Greece for five weeks at the start of the year.
Over the summer months, Cait and I travelled to Uganda with child sponsorship charity Compassion UK where we had the opportunity to see their work first-hand and also to meet our sponsored child. She and I have just returned from a trip to Germany, where we stayed in Munich to celebrate her 18th birthday. It’s amazing how much you can pack into just four days but boy, did our feet hurt! I also had a very unexpected last minute trip to Istanbul, where I met two half-siblings I thought I would never know after they finally tracked me down after 42 years! What an incredible year.
No sooner have I unpacked to find myself packing again – this time for 12 of us once more. I have done this so often now that I don’t rely on a series of spreadsheets stuck to my kitchen cupboard doors as much any more. The packing has also become easier as the children have grown. Now that our youngest is 3-years-old, we don’t have to worry about baby bottles, sterilising equipment and all the additional stuff that taking a baby and younger toddlers travelling requires.
We will be spending most of this trip in Italy where, according to Anna, we have been ‘a gazillion times’. One week of our stay there will be spent in the north of Italy at the Marina de Venenezia with Eurocamp. Hopefully during our stay there we will get the chance to meet up with our friends at Barduca Bio, the organic salad producers that also provides to Abel and Cole. Remember when we first met them and took a look around behind the scenes of Barduca Bio’s organic farm? Getting to see the work that went into this place was incredible and we became firm friends! Oh yes, and we also made the Italian newspapers too!
We will then travel down the east coast of Italy to spend six weeks in glorious Puglia, a region we have yet to explore and that is completely new to us so would love any ideas or recommendations of things to do or places to visit there.
On our way down we will be revisiting another place we stayed at and loved in Hammelburg, Germany. The apartments are within an old water mill in the most beautiful area of Bavaria. They’re lovely, spacious and fit us all comfortably. Owner Christa and her partner Hermann kindly gave our children a tour of the water mill when we last stayed, teaching them how the water was converted into electricity and even the twins, who were only three-years-old at the time, remember staying there.
The biggest cheers, however, came when we told the children we were revisiting Domačija Paternoster. Domačija Paternoster, or the Paternoster Homestead, is where we stayed on our way back from the Balkans earlier this year. Located in Tenetiše, it is only 40 minutes or so away from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.
The childhood home of owner Nace Paternoster, this beautiful homestead was where he and his seven siblings grew up.
Now it is where they welcome guests to stay with them, from the international students that stay in their apartments for whilst they teach English at the local school, to people like us who need a place to camp, everyone is welcomed.
And so warmly.
We have been met with wonderful hospitality almost everywhere we have ever been but this place was… different.
Within minutes of arriving and meeting Nace, his brother, his partner Helena, and Helena’s son Jaša, a table had been set up and a selection of cheese, ham and juice, all made here on the homestead, was brought out.
And beer. Beer too. Which was extremely welcomed after our long drive from Croatia. Or at any time, if I’m honest. We couldn’t speak Slovenian and the Paternosters and Helena could not speak English, but thanks to Jaša and his cousin Eva who joined us, we managed to communicate perfectly well.
Jaša brought out a block of parmesan cheese made right here by these very people. It looked incredible! Jaša told us that they no longer made parmesan cheese here and that this was the last bit and to help ourselves. Well, talk about conflicting feelings! Much as we would have loved to scoff the lot, which I think I could easily have done single-handed, this was their last block of parmesan after all. I, being one who harbours such a great love of cheese that I might easily be convinced to trade a child or two in for even a taster, had to remain strong in my efforts not to consume it all.
Resistance was futile. The parmesan was too good.
Jaša brought out more and more food. ‘There’s too much food here,’ he told us. ‘No such thing, is there?’ we thought.
We thought wrong. As it turns out, his mother Helena is actually the best cook in the whole, entire, big wide world. I am not even exaggerating.
And do you know what’s even better than the most wonderful homemade food cooked by Helena-the-Best-Cook-in-the-World? When you have your whole new extended family joining you!
When we weren’t eating, which in hindsight, was probably less often than we realised, we were happy to hang around the homestead.
Chasing the ducks, feeding the fish…
…and guarding the pond was all fun. Although, as you can see, the ‘guarding the pond’ part was taken very seriously by Bel and Libby.
Then there were the horses…
…one of which was pregnant and due any day…
…all of whom looked like Applejack from My Little Pony, much to the children’s delight.
We all hoped that the horse would birth during our short stay at the homestead but it was not a week or so later that Jaša messaged to say that the homestead had a new addition.
Of course, everyone left there wanting a pony. No, kids, not going to happen, I’m afraid!
We briefly visited the pigs who had just given birth to a litter of piglets and didn’t need disturbing by us really, and we also went over to see the cows to thank them profusely for all the delicious cheese they were providing us with.
As well as being the best cook in the world, Helena is also an incredible bee expert. Can you see the hives built into the barn here?
That barn is where we will be sleeping when we return next week. Can you feel the excitement from our house already? Because even when they had all that space to play in, it was always playing up in the barn that won their preference!
We might only have spent three days there but what an incredible three days they were. Where else can you eat apples the size of your head…
…take a fun shower from a dripping gutter. Twice.
…can practice your shuffling skills on a barrel…
…and your poker face…
…and leave saying that you have cooked sausages over a campfire in a teepee in Slovenia?
This place didn’t treat us like visitors. Despite never having met before, we were treated like family. We weren’t the exception either, it seems that at Domačija Paternoster, everyone arrives a stranger but leaves as family. This was a level of hospitality so unknown to us anywhere by anyone before, let alone complete strangers. It was so genuine, so loving and so beautiful that none of us wanted to leave.
I actually cried when it was time to say goodbye! Blush
If you are looking for a strong recommendation where you will not only book a camp site in Slovenia but make wonderful new friends too, this is it. If you hadn’t considered visiting Slovenia before, do it now and do it here. I can’t stress how much you will love this place and these people.
The contact details for Domačija Paternoster are as follow:
Address: Domačija Paternoster, Tenetiše 1, 1270 Litija, Slovenia
Phone: +386 41 218 457
You will love it there, we promise!