The biggest advantage of living in Gradenc is the sense of freedom we have here. That is absolutely priceless! Freedom is a broad concept and can mean something different for everyone. For example, we do not have financial freedom. Being able to do what you want without having to worry about money is, for many, the highest achievable goal in life. I also dream about that sometimes, of course.
But the freedom I mean is having living space and being surrounded by nature. Not being »confined« in an apartment or an enclosed garden of a few square meters. Our garden is not fenced and neither are (most) fields. Although many pieces of land (including forest) are private property, almost nothing is fenced. And it will rarely, if ever, happen that someone says something about it when you walk across a field or through a piece of forest that is privately owned. The fact that I can walk out of the garden, onto the sandy path, past the fields into the forest gives me such a fantastic feeling of freedom. We are surrounded by forest and nature everywhere. The fact that you can run into a wild animal, which also happens regularly. Isn’t that fantastic? It is not without reason that Slovenia is also sometimes referred to as “Little Canada”. Now I have (unfortunately) never been to Canada, but I know it from movies and documentaries. I get that Canada feeling very strongly when buzzards fly around, making their characteristic sound. On the internet they call it a “meowing” sound. I love that. Then I really do imagine myself somewhere in the wild nature of Canada: D.
Having a detached house is also an unprecedented luxury for us. In that sense we feel very rich. In the Netherlands we would literally have to be really rich to live the way we live here. That would never have been possible for us over there. The fact that this is still possible (affordable) here is one of the great advantages of living in Slovenia. There are quite a lot of old houses for sale, usually with a lot of land, and if you are a little handy you can renovate them beautifully. You regularly see that young families move from a village to the city because of work. When their parents die, they inherit the parental home. When they are not interested in going back to the village or have no interest / time / money to renovate that house, they sell it.
In response to a previous blog, a friend wondered why so many houses are empty. That also has to do with inheritance law. When parents die and there are multiple children (and grandchildren), they inherit the house (and the land). It often happens that these children cannot agree on what to do with the house. Sometimes it is possible that one of the children may want to live there later and therefore does not want to sell it, but is unable or unwilling to buy out the others. In that case, such a house remains empty. When one of the children dies, that inheritance passes to the grandchildren, etc. This way it can happen that, for example, next to us is a piece of land with an old house on it that has no fewer than 26 heirs. Some of them live abroad. If there is just one that does not want to sell, the rest cannot do anything.
There are so many houses (cottages) in ruins here. Truly a shame. But breaking it down and having it removed costs money and nobody wants to spend that kind of money. As far as I know, there is now a law in the making that requires the heirs (owners) to demolish or renovate houses in decay. Those dilapidated houses can of course also pose a danger. Along the gravel road that leads to our house, there’s an old dilapidated shed. It has happened regularly that roof tiles came down in the winter, when it was snowing. Lexi walks near that shed to and from school every day. She could get a roof tile fall on her head! We have already spoken to one of the heirs, who still live in the village, about it, but nothing has happened so far. In the meantime, the roof has already collapsed to the extent that there are still few roof tiles that can fall down, but it remains a danger. Let’s hope the new law comes through soon!