The EPW is a marathon--as you continue walking and training, the days get easier. OR if you get lost on the trail, you may be doing a literal marathon, much like us today walking 25 miles (40 km)!
This morning, I woke up at 5:39 AM for our 5:30 AM breakfast, stumbling out of bed because it's definitely the earliest I've been up for quite a long time. Marlis made an amazing omelette & we had a hearty breakfast to get us started on the right foot for the 30 km journey ahead. We said goodbye to the most amazing family (it really was like a home), and Jakob, Eva, Fly, and I set off! Jakob and Eva are from Iceland (the first on the EPW!) and joined our group, since they were not doing the trip to Zagreb (and watching them say bye to the rest of their group was very touching ❤️). As we left Krapina, we ended up walking way past the first turn, but soon we were on our way, walking up and down many hills--and seeing many beautiful sights. At one point, a guy stopped his car on the top of one of the hills and offered to drive us to our next destination (probably knowing the hills that were to follow)!
The weather forecast had predicted rain around noon, but we were lucky Mother Nature held out for a little bit. Instead, our eyes decided to play a trick and we had misread directions and missed the area going back up a path, so we ended up walking past the village we were supposed to be in into another village, looking for the Holy Mary Pub! After stopping at a store and getting snacks & peace iced tea to get us energized again, we had to retrace our steps, adding around 6 km to the original path. But we got back on the trail, found the Holy Mary Pub, and got our rain gear on as it started to lightly sprinkle. From there, the path was quite clear, but there were still many hills to go, and so, I like to believe Mother Nature took pity on us and only drizzled for a short while before clearing the sky and keeping the air cool! We finally got into Zagorska Sela around 6 PM, making it almost 12 hours on the trail. What a true challenging day!
The accommodation we are staying at tonight is a family house, that has been through 5 generations, and was thought to have originally been built in the 18th century! Our hosts were so sweet and dinner/dessert was AMAZING (the pears were their own tree's winter pears!). Donal taught me some Irish dancing--and I plan on learning more soon--and we hung around in the common area, before realizing that we would need to go to bed considering it was another long day and we planned on getting started at 6 am tomorrow! This is our last night in Croatia, as we will be crossing the border into Slovenia tomorrow and staying in Brezice. I can't believe our time here is already over--but don't worry, I will surely come back to Croatia again :)
P.S. We learned from Marlis that the youngest person to do the Peacewalk in the past years was 22 years old, meaning that I am currently the second youngest to do it! We are also by far the youngest group to walk the EPW now--we have a 22 year old, two 20 year olds, and a 13 year old with us!! Breaking barriers one by one! WOOHOO!!!!