Soon we emerge onto a huge high plateau at 4740 ft surrounded by mountains that shoot up to 8277ft. A horse is galloping at full speed. A distinguished old man is walking. A shepherd is talking on his cell phone. Did I fall into a Fellini movie set??? I have to stop. Breathe. Enjoy. But I can’t because a hundred feet away, a little girl is waving. At me? This is all so surreal. I point at myself. She smiles and keeps waving. I look behind me. I’m alone. And spellbound. Without another thought, I make a B-line through a field to be united with her. Mike’s last words “Where … where … are you going?” No time to explain.
It takes but three seconds until I am deeply engaged in a conversation with Danielje, Anastacja’s big brother, who runs the family business with his parents. They have a restaurant and three tiny A-frame cabins. This is heaven: we have arrived. Let’s stay a while. Several days in fact.
Before we hit the road again, I get it: Anastacja is the special child!
I take my bag apart, throwing all of its contents on the ground under the eyes of some onlookers who must be wondering about my sanity. And there — finally: I find it: the bracelet! I am SO happy. But hardly as happy as Anastacja herself. I tell her the whole story about Valerie, our long friendship, and how she gave me the bracelet with a request to find a “special child.” She beams!
We on the other hand, left with the best of gifts: two bottles of Grandpa’s delicious wine — one which we drank with my niece Sévane in Romania, and one that traveled through nine countries and was drunk in Mike’s home, as Danielje had asked.