Our stay in the Slovenian climbing mecca, Osp, was book-ended by sleeps in a slightly scrotty service station populated mostly by truckers and cats. After driving for two hours from Cvetka's house, and arriving at a point only twenty minutes from where we started, we bought a vignetta by accident and so decided we'd better pillage the highway system. We cosied down under the subtle shades of car park illumination, and watched peacefully as a mama-cat coaxed her kitten, wide eyed and stiff legged, through the paths of the megalithic lorries that blasted past. We grew sleepy, soothed by the sounds of truckers partying and a child piling out of a van and pissing in the middle of the tarmac. Bliss.
The next morning, as we began to sort stuff out, we were hailed by our partying friends from the night before, waving a kettle enthusiastically and shouting "coffee". We joined them outside their car transporter, where it transpired that they didn't actually have coffee as it is bad for the heart, so we drank Darjeeling tea and had fresh fruit and pastries, and looked at their photos. Thanks and farewells exchanged, we were soon in Osp and found the campsite quickly. It is a little steep for us, at 21€ a night, but very beautiful with a view to the vast arena of rock framed by weeping willows and only a fifteen minute hike from tent to rock through the picturesque village.
Testing our new Marmot Fuse 2p tent under the vast amphitheater of rock that make up the Osp walls. Amber sporting a matching t-shirt.
Suffice to say, the climbing is awesome. We quickly established (through an 'interesting' 5c 'warm-up' that Amber found 'totally bullshit' and 'aid climbed') that there is much more to the routes than straight forward pulling; they frequently require an arsenal of tricks and technique that keep you thinking. However, once in our stride it was wonderful and we both fell in love with the movement. Amber led her first 6a+ (no dogs here!) in the cool depths of the cave; this tufa encrusted pillar was a gentle overhang, in comparison to the myriad of insanely steep lines that traverse the entire roof. We also visited the neighbouring crag Mišja Peč where Sam very nearly flashed a beast of a 7b (Tortuga), bossing the hardest moves then wobbling through the easier finish after bailing. A nest-egg laid for sure... We climbed so much that we lost all our skin, which we didn't think possible on partly polished limestone, and left wanting so much more.
In the further spirit of Slovenian hospitality, we met the lovely Elica, for whom is named the route Super Elica. We went to buy a guidebook, and were treated to some homemade wine and hand-picked cherries. Despite limited communication it was a privilege to meet such a passionate local proponent of the sport. Hvala.
We returned, triumphant and tired, to that romantic little spot, the service station. The adventure finished as it began, as a carload of Germans pulled up a mere two feet from our open windows and proceeded to, as a family, consecutively pee on the tarmac. Bliss.