Thursday, June 28, 2007

Slovenia - the land that breakfast forgot

Oče jaz didn't slovo to pokrajina brž jaz hoteti življati poročen a 13 leto star.
With the wettest June on record setting in on the UK, dams bursting, people drowning and tornadoes touching down (shit you not) Coomba and I decided to go West; as life is peaceful there, go west, to the cool mountain air, go wes.. okay enough of that. So strapping on our travelling shoes we jetted off to the central European country of Slovenia.Arriving in Libjuana on Friday night we wandered the streets before setting our bags down and going for a little wander. Many things caught our eye in this city – well it’s more like a big village – but mainly the dragon statues (Slovenia ‘invented’ the dragon myth), every second shop is an ice cream shop, everyone roller blades and there seems to be no one above the age of 20 or below the age of 32 in the country. After a fair bit of walking, drinking and Coomba’s ice cream eating we decided to hit a club.

Cast of characters

Located next to Zvezda Park, the Bachus Centre promotes itself as ‘a popular hangout for late night partiers’. And I do agree. If you are in a bar before 1am in Libujana it’s dead. So about 1.30am the crowd starting building. This is when we realised quite quickly that jail bait is a popular dish in this town. Leaving later in the night wondering if half the crowd even knew that George Michael was actually in a band before a solo career and Michael Jackson didn’t always like 25 year olds (because there are 20 of them – bah boom cha) we made our way back to the hostel. Coomba ate another ice cream. Arriving back we found two American girls and an English bloke (who since January had cycled from Gloucestire to Istanbul). He said it was a challenge, whilst I recalled my last flight with Ryan Air and thought his mode of transport was apt.

Site seeing the next day made Coomba and I realise that there weren’t too many sites to see. What we realised further was there is no such thing as breakfast in this country. We walked for hours and could not find a meal. We found a market that sold nothing but blueberries – billions of them!!!! Coomba found a chocolate doughnut - it shut him up for a little while. I was still hungry through, and the selection on offer didn’t really appeal.
Thinking this was just a one off, the Stallion steak and Horse fillet in the next place told me the Mc Mr.Ed was not a once off. Taking a look around the Three Bridges (it’s just three bridges next to each other), a look at Dragon Bridge, and then I realised that they really liked their bridges. So making our way up the mountain, which is smack bang in the middle of the town, we had a little peek through Libjuana Castle. There wasn’t much in the castle – except for two ice cream vans – and only took us 30 mins to get around it. We did find much amusement in the term Pentagonal entry tower as a name of one of the buildings so spent the ten minutes on the way back down giggling like school girls. Then Coomba got an ice cream.
Hungry after our massive ‘site seeing session’ we sat down for our well deserved late lunch. Sitting down at a pizzeria we placed our order. Well, I placed my order, Coomba was ordered for. With three sizes – small, medium and family – I ordered a large beer and a medium pizza. Coomba struggled a little here. Ordering a family size the waiter said: ‘No, too big’. Fair enough medium then. Ordering a bottle of beer, the response; ‘No, pint’. Okay then. So waiting for mine and the waiter’s order, we realised why Coomba was dissuaded from ordering the family (seeing it later is was the size of a truck tyre).

In fact we had to go and have a little granny nap about 7pm to prepare for the night. Going out and having the usual drinks before the club.

Sitting at a bar along the River Ljubljanica we were entertained by some live DJs for some Bacardi Breezer promotion. Aware that we both had testicles we quickly refused to drink the Breezers. Speaking with some Americans from the Air Force – and recently back from Iraq - kept us entertained for a little while. After an hour or two we called Patty, a friend from London who was in town with his missus. Having a few drinks with them Coomba and I headed to Global, which advertises itself as ‘wait in line at the glass elevator outside Nama with the other late-night partiers for your chance to strut your stuff with the in crowd.’ Now don’t get me wrong, the people there were quite an attractive bunch, but I wouldn’t call bopping along to the Macarena the ‘in-crowd’, but that’s Eastern Europe for you. After ascending in the glass elevator to the top of a 6 storey building (no line’s when you earn pounds in Eastern Europe) the view of Libjuana was amazing. Chatting to a few locals, the night ended quite amusingly and boozy, until I finally found my desired meal at 3am: Slovenian kebab!Next morning we got up early for a trip to Lake Bled and white water rafting in the Bovec Valley in the Italian Alps. After a stop at Lake Bled, a stunning valley with a huge body of water in it, I recognised a castle on an island in the middle of the lake from a Disney movie when I was young. This is one thing I love about many places in Europe. You don’t know where something is or expect it, but all of a sudden something that you saw in your childhood is right in front of you and you didn’t even know it was there.

And with this we drove through a forestry valley and spotted helipads and tents. A quick word from our guide and we were told that the valley we were crossing through was were they filmed the first Nania – Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe movie, and all the tents is where they are filming the second one. Passing through and ascending in to the Italian Alps we reached the top and were greeted by a freezing breeze – great time to wear wet shorts and a singlet. Descending down in to the Bovec valley we got to our launch site. Changing and off to the river we pushed down the rapids with two other crews. With the other crews crashing and flipping we ruled the river. At one point a crew dangerously flipped in the larger rapids which meant our crew – the fastest one – had to power our way down to rescue paddles and people. Now I know how Superman feels.
Coomba and I were pretty wrecked after the rafting, so we spent most of the night sitting in a bar and people watching. The next day was a national holiday but the town was dead. Everyone had gone away for the weekend, so an earlish night. The next day spent walking the city again, out to the airport, stuck on the tarmac for an hour and we were back in sunny England to news that the country has received a months worth of rainfall in one day – welcome back. Coomba got home and had ice cream.

More photos of Slovenian action here.


At 9:48 PM, Anonymous bob said...

I always thought Europe was to the East of Britian are you sure you were not in Ireland?

At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's like the New Zealand lift experience Bobby, depends on which way your facing.
The mountain photo is soooooo Julie Andrews Bart, did you burst into song
The hills are alive.......................

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