tito. a pet emporium to rival any american outlet, nestled in a brand new shopping mall that could exist next to any four-lane american road. we gotta say, it was hard to accept the fact that we were in slovenia at that moment. here we are in a ford being driven by a guy from st. louis going to buy kitty litter and we're shooting the breeze in english. unreal. after stumbling through broken slovenian and german for the last few days, this was fun!
40 minutes later, up a road alongside the drava river, charming towns one after the other, and farms in every direction, we were welcomed by paula. while being wowed by the scenery, the wonderful charm of an old farmhouse, suddenly there appeared a huge plate of garden fresh vegetables and hunks of cheese and meat. we happily made huge sandwiches and started chatting. after a tour of the farm, a small lesson on apple and pear trees, we hiked up through the hills to an old hunting lodge, the spot of a WWII sniper attack on some slovenian partizans. back at the farm paula and mike treated us to roasted pork and some more fresh vegetables (earlier, paula disappeared and came back with a big pile of freshly pulled beets. "do you like beets?" "JA, prosim!") and some homemade upside down plum cake, great conversation and a few of the most characterful cats you'll ever meet. this place reeks of history. topographically, it rests on a ridge overlooking lavrenc, so their "backyard" is a 1000 foot (i think) drop down to a small village complete with requisite white church nestled against a green backdrop. one hardly needs coffee in the morning waking up to that!
ljubljana planning our next move. after being misled by a conductor at maribor, and nearly missing our connection by one minute, (seriously, we realized our mistake, jumped off the wrong train, ran to the other side and jumped on the correct train and it immediately started moving. *whew*) we settled in for some stunning scenery, particularly the canyon stretch from celje to zagorje. wowza. the train carves its way through a winding canyon alongside a lazy river. it's what you see in travel brochures. all this for 13 Euros. that same train ticket in austria, distance-wise, would have easily been 40 Euros.
|a little song, a little dance... podvelka, slovenia|
we've only been in ljubljana for 18 hours but, after the quiet of pohorje, maribor and podvelka, last night's first impression along the river seemed a little like a disneyland version of a european old town center. three bridges across the ljubljanica river, pedestrian promenades on either side brimming with restaurants, bars and young'uns. of course, we still have much slovenian food to eat, some sparkling wine to drink, some jože plečnik architecture to absorb and today we hike the castle hill and storm the fortifications. we'll report back.