Of Rabbits and Kites

Every now and then either we pack our kite gear and go to Zagreb, Croatia – or our friends from Zmajoljupci – Croatian Kite Association visit us here in Ljubljana.

This time it was their turn (we were in Croatia in August for the fantastic event in O., and are going back to the island of Prvić in a couple of weeks), so we cooked a huge pot of goulash, got a couple of beers, and set up a kite flying event in one of the few good spots for kites in the general area of Ljubljana – in Zajčja dobrava (Rabbit’s grove) landscape park.

The wind forecast was pretty good, so we were there at half past noon – only to find that the meteorologists (damn liars!) were playing with our fragile kite flying emotions yet again …

Though the event was by the very definition an International Kite Festival (an IKF is when at least two people from at least two countries flying at least two kites while being watched by at least one uninvolved person), we prefer calling it a RDFK – a Relaxed Day of Flying Kites.

The wind showed up later in the afternoon, but it was moody – a nice 15 km/h stream dropping to zero in a couple of seconds, and rising again. Kites were going down only to be picked up and flown again, going down again … a very good cardio for us, a bit frustrating for the crowds …

For there were crowds! A totally unexpected number of curious onlookers came to the meadow, watched the aerial spectacle (well, mainly us walking up and down picking kites and letting them fly for a minute or two), sat down on the grass, had a picnic … the kids were running around, dogs were running faster, and everyone had great fun 🙂

It’s always a special feeling when kids come to you and asks if they could hold the kite line for a minute … and you make a great show of giving them gloves, explaining the dangers, showing them ‘the right stance’, and when they hold the kite, you call them “pilots” – and their eyes light up … it takes only so much to transform a kid into kite flyer – for life, hopefully.

When the wind was in its better mood, all of the kites flew – even our Great Proteus lifted off majestically, among the cheers of the crowd.

And then it all abruptly came to an end … kites and kiters, kids and onlookers had a head-on collision with a – farmer. “This is my land!” he cried, threatening with police and unspecified ‘consequences’ and more specified ‘pain’ … The kites went down again, this time for good, and the relaxed day of kite flying ended rather tensely.

And since the kites were down, it was time for – goulash and beer!

Big thanks to Žuža and Žare of Zmajoljupci kite club, to Gašper for his invaluable help with making the goulash, and to all the kids and adults that came, enjoyed the event, and flew kites. Till next time – someplace more friendly! 😉

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