Lake Bled, Slovenia – April 2011
There are two paths that lead to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint. I take the longer, less marked trail, intending to make a loop. It’s not yet high season, and the tourist hoards are nowhere to be seen. In fact, I am totally alone. I’ll be able to savor the magnificent view in relative tranquility.
When I step out to the viewpoint, a young man emerges from the other trail. When he sees me, his face hardens. He hurries over to the bench and sits in the middle of it. He crosses his arms and glares down at the beauty below. He is the winner. King of the hill.
I have just as much right to be here as he does, I remind myself. I can go and sit down, right next to him if he won’t move over. But of course I won’t do that, and he knows it.
I step forward and take some photos, pausing to feast my eyes on the fairy tale panorama, burning the vision deep into my memory. How lucky I am to be able to see this.
An annoyed sigh breaks my reverie. I am not obscuring his view, so it seems that he finds my mere presence upsetting. I snap a few more photos, and then turn to meet his scowl with a big smile. “Enjoy the view.” The smile stays with me as I descend. He may have triumphed, but somehow I know that I’m the one who truly feels rewarded.