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Slovenia: Meeting distant cousins

Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
To the left of Carrie in this picture, you will see Viktorija and Polonca.

Viktorija is pronounced Vic tore ee yuh – like Americans say Victoria.

She is Slovenian.

Viktorija and I share the same great-great-grandfather (That’s two greats).

Back story:

Grandma went to Slovenia more than 20 years ago with my Aunt Kerry.

Speaking no Slovenian, in pre-Internet era, they managed to track down some of the relatives who had continued living in Slovenia.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
Grandma’s parents (my great grandparents) had come to the US, but both died when Grandma was young.

I don’t know how Kerry and Grandma did all that tracking down and communicating without email.

I assume they showed up in the town and asked around a lot.

A few weeks ago, I asked my grandma for the address of her known relatives in Slovenia.

Grandma emailed me the address of Martina.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
Grandma didn’t actually meet Martina when she was in Slovenia, but I assume that somehow Pepca (one of Grandma’s cousins) introduced Grandma to Martina in letters.

(I’ll ask Grandma to clarify it at some point.)

Martina is the daughter of Pepca. Pepca has now passed on, but had 12 children. (10 of them are still living.)

I sent Martina a letter, and got a response from Viktorija (Martina’s daughter) via email, in English.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
Martina had given my letter to Viktorija, since Martina doesn’t speak English.

Viktorija arranged everything for us in Slovenia, which included staying the night at Martina’s small winery, overlooking the town of Kostanjevica, Slovenia.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
Staying at a winery is something Carrie and I have wanted to do a long time (since learning about the idea in Mendoza, Argentina in 2008.)

Viktorija definitely helped us make the most of our time by scheduling us to meet with lots of the family of Pepca.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
In addition to meeting quite a few of the descendants of Pepca, we also met Albina (another of Grandma’s cousins), and a few of her descendants, including two great-grandchildren.

I will talk more about the beauty of Slovenia in a different post, but it was amazing.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family
Our time in Slovenia was made even more amazing by the depth of the care and hospitality we were shown by everyone.

I’m just disappointed our time was so short (this time), but it’s amazing to have made this connection.

We will definitely be back to spend more time with distant cousins (who are suddenly not so distant) in Slovenia.
Ljubljana, Slovenia travel and family

5 thoughts on “Slovenia: Meeting distant cousins

  1. Marko

    Hi, I found your blog by coincidence and must say I like it. I am glad you enjoyed your time in Slovenia – it definitely is a country worth visiting.

    My brother did a similar thing – he went to Sicily to search for the place where our late grandfather spent a few years during WWII. He flew down there, found the village and asked around. It is actually easier then it sounds (at least in smaller villages and towns – everybody knows everybody).
    He quickly made friends with descendants of people who knew our grandfather. They were all thrilled about this and the story even made it into the local newspapers. They also visited us a year later – it was a great experience meeting them.

    1. strive4impact Post author

      It’s really neat to be able to trace roots and meet distant relatives. Sicily sounds like afascinating place actually. Somewhere we’ve never been. What was his favorite food from Sicily?

  2. Marko

    You should go one day – loads of history, beautiful beaches and tasty food. I don’t know for sure, but I guess he loved everything with their home made olive oil.

  3. Marty

    How happy I am for all your wonderful experiences. Also happy you
    are taking an interest in your family tree at such a young age.
    Most of us wait too long & then many are no longer here. I spent
    five years doing my family tree a few years ago & have meet and
    now truly enjoy the cousins I would never have known otherwise.
    I just did a fabulous Vantage Tour of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia
    with nights in Sarajavo, etc., Montenegro & Venice. I had no idea
    how beautiful these countries are, esp. along the coast of Croatia.
    Probably the most beautiful seaside I have ever seen with lovely,
    long, large white rocks as piers. A MUST is to see all of Zagreb
    including the old town on top of the hill, and the coastal towns
    of Dubrovnik and Opatija with the lovely hotel Milenj. We took
    a long walk through one of the most lovely National Parks, with
    wood sidewalks & little wood bridges over many streams, in
    Krka Nat’l Park near Sibenik, Croatia.

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