Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Then we went east

Tired of over-crowded tourist spots, we headed over to Slovenia early. We instantly noticed that the people were friendlier and the streets sure felt a whole lot cleaner.

Ljubljana is a really nice place to look at and wander around, and there’s a lot of good food there at reasonable prices. Sometimes I wonder which I like better, good food or reasonable prices. I like both, and the Slovenes cater to this.

On the advice of Anne, we decided to do a mountain climb in Bohijni, about a 40-minute bus trip from Ljubljana. These mountains are much bigger than they look, and the range itself must go back some 6,000,000 km, or at least a very long way. Incidentally, they are called the Julian Alps, for no other reason except they liked the name.

It was here we had the satisfaction of a brutal four-hour climb carrying all our luggage (we later found out you could leave luggage at the camp site), to reach a lodge up the top where we stayed the night. Scared by thunder about half way up, we were urged to keep climbing, despite our bodies having lost all hope of sweet, sweet relief. Nevertheless, we did make it up safely. The lodge was manned by an indifferent Slovenian man and his sidekick, ‘Cold Fish’, a Scandinavian girl whose welfare system was obviously so good that she never had any motivation to smile or be friendly to anyone.

Our bodies were genuinely injured from the climb up with our packs, so we very much enjoyed the view and the sleep. We also enjoyed the climb down the next day, watching the people huff and puff up the mountain as they passed us in the opposite direction.

And this is a tree stump that all the walkers put a stone on for some reason. I thought we had stumbled upon Oskar Schindler's grave.

Waking up exceptionally early on Shelley’s birthday, we headed down to Croatia, to the island of Cres. We feared for our lives during the journey, with a bus driver who had lost the will to live driving at speed around narrow cliff bends, every now and again slamming on his brakes for oncoming traffic. Despite this, we made it safe and sound to the stunning, family-friendly town, where the locals were friendlier still (they oohed and ahhed about us being Australian; if there are any Italians listening, that’s what I pay my money for, to be treated like an exotic animal, not some dirty piñata).

The beaches were really nice here (only we didn't take our camera), and were littered with some weird and not so wonderful examples of topless sunbathing, the weirdest being a mother-daughter combination. We walked veeery fast. Talk about Uncomfortable Town.

Oh, and we found an outdoor amusement park with pool tables.

When we got back to Ljubljana we decided that night to eat again at a Chinese restaurant that we had eaten at two nights earlier. We really enjoyed this place because the food and the hosts were really nice, and the TV was showing a movie about Elvis in english with the sound turned up. It was a family-run shop (with the two little girls dressed up immaculately in traditional attire) tucked away in a dark, dark corner of a shopping village we were sure wasn’t even open. The first night we went there was no one there. The second night we went there was one other person there, a European who seemed to be a friend of the host. She told us that the host wanted to serve us a free entrée because (sniff) we came there on their opening night two nights before. And then one of the little girls came up to Shelley and said, “Dis, iss, ah, gift”, and handed her a little jade dolphin (sniff sniff). Oooooh! Who’s going to eat there. Who?

Then we flew out of Ljubljana back to London (to cut a long story short). There might even be a part three on the Australian leg of our journey.


Helen | Pepperina Press said...

Hahah dirty pinata.

I tagged you for a Seven Things. Sorry.

You can see what it's about on my blog (you remember where that is, right? Right?) Also I posted some old photos of you there. Sorry again.

bitingmidge said...

This is a comment because Shelley said Julian was despondent because only two people ever leave comments, and I thought that if I didn't and there was only one comment, well there may be enhanced despondency.

You've only got a week to find us somewhere to stay kiddos!