76.67km – 10H42’
Altitude : 318m
It‘s very cold and the sunshine is beautiful. At 7:00 Serge is at the starting point, for a new day. Even if we don’t argue much, sometimes there is friction and yesterday evening it was the case. Fatigue is the main cause; after a good night and a few kilometers, the thaw takes place, at km 50 in Slovenia. Serge tells me that he is tired and he won’t run 75 km today.
At km 26.5 we cross the border post, which is only there for show, or at least to check a few trucks, because we go through without a hitch. There are no policemen outside, no documents are checked, so on you go. We are in Slovenia, in the sunshine. Marc has no problem filming the sign and the Slovenian border post, while Thomas takes a few pictures. The road continues in this small country, which became a member of the European Union in 2004. The Euro is its currency since 2007, so I change the 11,000 forints that I have left. Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, then part of Yugoslavia until 1991. Since that time it is an independent country, with a dynamic economy, in spite of its small population of 2 million inhabitants. The Slovenian government presided over the Council of Europe for the first semester 2008.
It’s amazing how a border, which in Europe can appear to be virtual or obsolete, can signal a change. Of course, all the members of Europe find their place as time goes by; however, there is a “but”. Differences are felt and as we cross through these countries I begin to have an idea as to the answer. Europe is an old continent and the European countries all have a history, which is old and above all, varied, with completely different influences. For example, Hungary, like Bulgaria and Romania, experienced occupation by the Turks at the time of the Ottoman Empire. It is obvious that WW II upset populations as well as borders, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. To unite these people with their histories does not appear to be easy to me and often the comparison to the USA, with its 50 states, isn’t a good idea in my way of thinking. The United States of America was founded as a new nation by pioneers and not countries with diverse histories and languages. The weight of its history is what shapes a country. Europe is only in its infancy and without mentioning economy, bankruptcy like in Greece, single currency…. Europe seems to me to be of utmost importance to maintain peace and stability among all these populations, some of whom have not been spared in the recent past.
And during this time, Serge is running and he finishes the last 2 kilometers on a hill with a 10% incline. He gets winded between km 40 and 55 and this evening when I remind him of our conversation at km 50 “luckily you told me you wouldn’t do 75 kilometers,” he replies with his never failing humor “I didn’t do 75, I did 76.67 km; I was better toward the end!”
Town : Moravci (Slovénie)
GPS : N 46.30’54.1° E 016.00’30.6 °