To celebrate the Animal Ambassador and TTEAM/TTouch Center of Slovenia last September, Darja and Andrej Znidarsic organized the most memorable event I have ever witnessed for the opening of Ranch. One hundred guests were invited for an evening that began and ended with the music of the 50-piece Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Dvorsak at one end of the riding arena. Roland and I were honored by a lovely hula performed by a graduate of their Kaja & Grom program. One of their very talented students played a violin solo from horseback. Several students demonstrated their riding skills jumping bridleless. A local dog club showed off the skills of their dogs trained for animal assisted therapy. And Andrej ended the evening by bringing Simon’s Lippizaner stallion Maj front and center stage to demonstrate some new tricks he had taught him just for this performance. The evening was a resounding success.
After that introduction to Slovenian hospitality, I didn’t think we could every top that performance and I was quite surprised when Darja informed me that they had planned two special evenings in honor of Roland’s birthday this year. I had no idea what to expect but didn’t let out a peep to Roland. On the birthday evening at 7 pm Darja asked me to be sure Roland stayed in his room as friends began to gather. Twelve men from Andrej’s A Capella choir arranged themselves in two rows in a semi-circle along the side of the house under the second story window of our bedroom and began to sing traditional Slovenian songs. What a super surprise for Roland who has been involved for years with music and singing in Hawaii. Black Forest cake and champagne followed and it was a delightful evening.
The next day Darja kept saying, “Just wait until tonight for a big surprise.” She was very secretive and made me promise I would not go near the stable after 5:00 pm. I could not imagine what was going to happen with the horses and was told we would not know until 9:00 when Dr. Crusic would arrive with his wife. The evening was to be a celebration for Roland’s birthday as well as Dr. Crusic’s, which was 2 days ealier.
The ¾ moon was not yet above the horizon when we headed for the stable area with only candles in paper bags to guide us from the house to the outdoor arena. In the middle of the pitch-black outdoor arena was a hand-made, natural wood table set for 6 people in a U-shape with settings for two couples on each side. Several of the pine trees in the woods surrounding the arena were lit up about to 20 meters skyward, and we had the impression the dwarfs and fairies from the forest might join our party. There was only the light of candles on the table and about 7 meters away was a small stage with a harp and violin stand lit by 4 candles in 2 tall, antique-looking candelabras. During dinner, Dr Crusic, his wife, Roland and I were serenaded with classical music from the opera “Thais” by Jules Massenet and “Fantaisie”, op 124 by Camille Saint Saens.
Dinner was a 4 course gourmet meal prepared in the stable with different wines accompanying each course.
Herb and flower salad with an emulsion of olive oil and toasted hazelnuts
Fresh tuna tartare with green apple and cucumber and lemon air
Organically farmed sea bass with slightly jellied clam soup and lentils
Slovenia Wonder Cake from a receipe from Uros’ grandmother
Plum pie and pralines
How they managed to prepare this mouth-watering feast in the stable aisle I cannot imagine! I have not drunk wine for many months, but on this special occasion I partook, and I must say I don’t believe I have ever enjoyed wine more.
This entire evening was like a Hollywood production. We had no idea what to expect and I have to say, it was one among the most magical events of my life! The company, the candlelight, the night air, the absolute silence of the surrounding pine trees. sitting in the sand arena, the feeling of fairy folk in the forest surrounding us, the conversation of health, quantum physics, the music, the moonlit magic, the gourmet food and wine––priceless! The fact that it was a surprise was extraordinary.