Slovenia – 2- 5 October 2016: Savoring Travel

Slovenia – 2- 5 October 2016: Savoring Travel

We don’t do the Slow Travel! We have a new style of travel – Savor Travel –  – to savor the slow pace of travel, enjoying the journey of travel. We like to stroll at a leisurely pace and taking the city in.  It is too pokey for most folks, but for us, it is the perfect rhythm of the day

We left Zagreb at 1:45 PM on the 2nd of October We got to the train station and it was raining. We hopped into an Uber for 5 Euros and got to our apartment, not as capacious as the last, but a nice flat.  Our apartment is a fairly cheap, $30 a night Airbnb studio with kitchen and bath, and to the east the Jillian mountains make a rare appearance as they are frequently enshrouded in clouds, but yesterday morning after a night of rain, the sunlight against the mountains was magnificent for a moment

Sailing across the border in a comfortable bus. This is radically different we remember from decades ago.  The former Republic of Yugoslavia and in particular Slovenia has shaken off the lethargy of the Soviet- Yugoslavian-Balkan war era and has emerged a vibrant culture.

In the northernmost part of the Balkans is the enchanting Slovenia part of the FROY, is now a vibrant European City.  We are thoroughly enjoying this beautiful jewel in the mountains and in the north of Yugoslavia.  Even in the grey October morning, the old downtown of Ljubljana is vibrant and alive.  It is a fairy tale castle dream of a city, with the old fortress towering down from the city above. At night it is lit up green and it looks like the castle in Oz!

Castle of Ljubljana

“When in 1335 the Habsburgs took over the area of today`s Slovenia, they demolished the fortress of the Spanheim family, which stood on the hill, and in the second half of the 15th century started building a new one that still stands today. At first it consisted of only walls, towers and wooden barracks but through centuries the castle got the shape that it has today. Its main purpose was to defend against Ottoman invasions, which were the most frequent in the 15th and 16th century. Besides, peasant rebellions were not rare as well. “Ljubljana Info

Sunday night walking downtown without much of a plan, our preferred way of traveling and seeing a city. Too often, we and others have too much of a plan and itinerary.  In our way of traveling, yes we have a vague sense of what we want to see and do

Slovenia 4 October Tuesday – Dancing Fools that we are

dscn7693Yesterday, a wonderful day, not necessarily filled with all the tourists stuff. Yes, we made it to the Modern Museum, and though I did not have the names of each one of the pieces I liked, I enjoyed the collection, but the most fun was in the café and the waiter was playing fabulous swing and jazz from the 1930’s. I wanted to dance but Zoe was busy. When we got outside there was a large portico, like a huge dance floor, and the music was still playing. We dropped our backpacks and danced to some fabulous Benny Goodman.  Art students were there and we were gabbing about Art, Performance and I performed American Uber Alles, the Hot Pink Coat at the Boston ICA, and other wonderful gab. It is just wonderful gab, nothing more. Or, at least, I found it entertaining. I love the chance to chat with people, especially young people who are engaged in Art and social change.

On the road, there is such a freedom to meet and talk to people. Though we talk to people everywhere, people are a bit more open on the road, they’re willing to talk to open up and engage.  I miss that freedom of the road. For me, that is an elixir, whether it is in NOLA or up North, I’m always open to chatting.  We had a wonderful waiter Marco down by the river and he was thrilled that we attempted a little Slovenian! He made us a desert of Slovenian sweets on the house! This is the kind of engagement we love.

We have an apartment by one of the most charming parks I’ve seen in Europe.  The Tivoli is over 5 square kilometers (3 miles square!) and is a lovely stroll into town and all parts of the city. The old chestnuts with their autumn colors makes me a bit homesick for Vermont and the brilliant fall foliage.

“Tivoli Park is Ljubljana’s largest and most beautiful park, stretching right into the city Centre. It was designed in 1813 by the French engineer Jean Blanchard and created by joining together the parks which had surrounded Podturn and Cekin Mansions. The park, covering an area of approximately five square kilometers, is crossed by three grand horse chestnut tree-lined walks and landscaped with ornamental flower beds, interesting trees and numerous statues and fountains. The park area blends into the slopes of the Rožnik hill, to which it is connected by several walking paths and a trim trail with several exercise stations along its length.

Jakopič Promenade, a popular outdoor gallery
Tivoli Park’s scenic Jakopič Promenade (Jakopičevo sprehajališče), designed by the architect Jože Plečnik in the central part of Tivoli Park, has become a well-known outdoor venue for exhibitions of large-format photographs, open throughout the year.”

TENNIS – The best part of the day was the tennis at the Breskavar Tennis.  The courts were a carpet like surface with a blue sand. I was afraid it wouldn’t be good, but it was very comfortable and easy to play on.  An hour of consistent strong tennis. I was in heaven.

In the evening, an Avant-garde dance performance at the Old Power station. Slovenians take such great pride in their cultural heritage and the performance space is marvelous in the midst of an old power plant, where so much of the old machinery is still intact.

More to write about Slovenia as we are on our way to Lake Bled today about two hours in the mountains with kayaking and of course tennis.

Slovenia, the public transportation is SUPERB! It puts US transport to shame! All the bus drivers speak passable English and there is always a young person nearby who speaks fluent English. But learn a bit of Slovenian it will open doors for you… a Dobro Jutro and a smile does wonders for cross cultural understanding.

This morning heading downtown to meet a Theater critic we me at the theater last night

Slovenia and Ljubljana a superb country that is welcoming and charming, I can’t wait to discover more!

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