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J170 - Sunday, April 4: Moravci - Prosenisko

74.1km – 10H34’
Altitude: 274m

This morning, René began his day with a bit of muscle building, by changing the left rear tire of the camper, which was completely flat.  I have never had so many problems with the tires of the camper, even on the Paris-Tokyo, where the roads were not always in excellent condition and even if I did more kilometers than on this last trip.  I hope that the “tank” will give us some peace with what seems to be its Achilles tendon: the tires!
Today it’s Easter and we won’t have and Easter egg hunt in the garden.  However, yesterday we were able to see a traditional religious ceremony in every village:  the blessing of the wicker baskets and their contents: meat, eggs, etc.  The Easter Sunday meals are carefully placed in these baskets, covered with a white towel.  The villagers, primarily the women, all walk and leave these baskets at the chapel, where they are then blessed.  For the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Slovenia, Easter Sunday is a feast day like it is at home, but Monday is not a holiday.  We have seen crucifixes, often with statues of the Virgin Mary, along the roads in Slovenia.

This Sunday, people are out walking and even the small country roads which are taking are relatively busy.

At km18, Serge crosses the Drave River, at Ptuj, a pretty village of 20,000 inhabitants.  From here on we are taking secondary roads along a river and mountains make their appearance.  57% of the territory is covered by forest and in some places we are surrounded by trees.
We ask ourselves if Slovenia will be the country with the smallest surface we will cross on this European race. The answer is no, because Luxembourg is even smaller.  If we count the 27 countries of the European Union, Malta and Cyprus are still smaller, so Slovenia is in 24th place.

Serge est séduit par la beauté des paysages, et ce pays aéré. Les maisons sont espacées et pas toujours enfermées dans des enclos, comme c’est le cas en Bulgarie, Roumanie et Hongrie, où chaque lopin de terre et chaque petite maison a des barrières. Ici, peu de délimitations, la campagne respire. Nous retrouvons des personnes souriantes qui vous disent bonjour, qui viennent s’enquérir de ce que vous faites, sans vous regarder derrière leurs carreaux, mais en venant au contact des étrangers que nous sommes. Ce fut le cas cet après-midi.
Serge constate ce soir à son grand regret que les journées n’ont que 24H00. Avec 10H30’ de course et 10H00 de sommeil, il lui reste 3H30 alors que fait-il pendant ces 3H30’ :
Serge is charmed by the beauty of the scenery and this open country.  There is space between the houses, which are not behind fences, like they are in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, where every parcel of land and every small house have a fence around it.  Here there are few boundaries and the countryside can breathe.  We find smiling people who say hello, who come to ask what we are doing and who don’t watch us from behind their windows. They come in contact with the foreigners that we are.  It was the case this afternoon.  Serge remarked this evening that he regrets the days have only 24 hours.  With 10H30 for the race and 10H00 for sleeping, there are only 3H30 left.  So how does he fill those 3H30?
•    Between 45 minutes  and 1hour to get dressed and have breakfast in the morning
•    2 ½ hours in the evening with  5 minutes to unwind, then a shower, then reading e-mails, followed by about 20 minutes to lie down for a short rest before dinner with the team.
When we are not sleeping at the place where the stage ends, between 20 and 40 minutes may have to be deducted from the 3H30.
Serge’s own impressions of today’s race:
•    55km of torture, a headwind, not very hot, no feelings, gross fatigue, I was dragging.
•    Bu luckily, I got my form back at the bottom of a hill with a 14% incline, at km 55; better late than never.

Town : Prosenisko (Basse Stryrie)

GPS : N 46.14’17.1° E 015.20’13.9 °