Now that we are real Slovenians also to the eyes of the people of Jezersko -climbing Triglav for them has no value since it’s too easy, we had to climb also Velika Baba Nova Centralna- Matej feels like we are ready to cook the spruce resin magic balm. This is the ritual that is going to make us real Jezerskans. The process is secret and cannot be shared with non-Jezerskans, for this reason we will limit our explanation to the following passages. The spruce resin we collected in the past weeks has to be mixed with oil and boiled. The bee wax has to be added together with a secret ingredient. Everything is then filtered and jarred. It takes organisation,cleanness, good timing and precision, especially when filling the jars.
Outside it’s raining. It has been raining since last night, with a violent thunderstorm and buckets of water. It’s the perfect weather to be in the basement heating up oil and resin.
Home-made beer, the best beer
These past weeks we have been drinking Matej beer, he was happy to share it and promised that when it was about to be over we would have brewed more together. The beer was very good and we drunk it everyday. For this reason, now, after three weeks it’s almost over. Fortunately, Matej prepared 25 litres on new beer about two weeks ago, and today we are making 25 more. The beer itself is easy and quick -apart the two weeks of waiting for fermentation- to make. However, home-sterilizing takes time and it’s hot. Boil around 50 litres of water, use a few litres to sterilize all the caps in a large pan, and fill each bottle with some boiling water, shake it, wait a few seconds, empty and close with the cap without touching it. We also add a few grams of sugar to boost the fermentation, the beer is not fizzy enough according to Matej. After a few bottles we get a good rhythm. We bring the closed and sterile bottles at the third floor of the house where the beer is fermenting at the perfect temperature of 24°C. We fill each bottle paying attention not to touch the caps, with the beer that will keep fermenting some more days in the bottles thanks to the sugar we added.
We then go back to the basement where we clean and sterilize the 25l tank of beer and brew new beer for the next months. Matej uses malt and yeast he buys on a website for DIY beer, boiled water, and organic sugar. He also adds a secret ingredient he doesn’t want us to share.
We taste the beer before the fermentation, it’s good, but not the best hot!
A busy afternoon
While we are making the beer Matej receives a call from a local bed and breakfast that asks him for his balm and teas. They are selling local products in their small shop and they just ran out of Matej products after a group of tourists arrived. Luckily we did the balm in the morning, it is all sold by the afternoon. We also pack all the already mixed tea, there is enough for eight 50g bags, also sold to the bed and breakfast as well as some bottles of syrup.
Moreover, there is people passing by to buy syrup and jams, we all are in the basement, making beer, selling products and talking to the tourists.
Anja also receives an order of 10 litres of syrup from a famous pub in Ljubljana. We agree that since we are passing by tomorrow afternoon we will deliver the syrup.
Our last morning in Jezersko
Since all the balm has been sold, Matej asks us to make more. This is the activity that occupies our morning together with cleaning.
We have one last lunch with Matej and Anja. She cooks -with M’s help- a soup with the vegetables from the garden, served with home-made bread. Eggs-dipped-fried-bread with sugar is the perfect dessert for this simple and delicious meal. After our last Turkish coffee we leave with the syrup heading to Ljubljana.
Slovenian capital City
Ljubljana is quite small to be an European capital. It counts 294.113 inhabitants and it is located in the middle of the country at 300m above the sea level. It is a nice city, with some beautiful corners and classy buildings. The castle that dominates the town is worth a visit and allows for an interesting overview of the urban area.
After delivering the syrup, we head towards the parking we found online where we will be spending the night. It’s just behind a Mercator (Slovenian supermarket) and costs 12 euros for 24 hours, there is also an access to electricity -useless for us, with our panel we are independent.
We then walk to the city centre and wonder around. We buy a plastic-free solid shampoo (we are afraid not to find any in Slovakia) and have a beer in the main square -bought in the closest supermarket.
At 6pm we meet a friend of M, they met a few years ago in South Korea, volunteering in a hostel in Busan. He brings us to a vegan fast food where we have a very nice falafel wrap. We eat it in a bar not far drinking one last Lasko -Slovenian most common beer. Around us it’s raining very heavily, luckily the tarpaulin over our heads seems to be holding the water pretty well.
We then go back to the van. When we arrive at the parking we are soaked with water and tired. The night in the parking lot is calm and restful.