01 August, 2007


This blog seemed dead for quite a while. Now there's a new month around and this is one of my New Month's Resolutions. Revival of the English language blog.

The series of little Slovenian (and Croatian) weekend getaways continues in the year 2007. The latest of these was the weekend getaway to Karst.

Sezana was the place we visited first. The regional heart of commerce and the largest town in the area is still pretty small with a population of approximately 5000. Apart from the unusual modern amphitheater and a nice botanic gardens the place is merely interesting for its useful tourist information centre.

Next stop Stanjel - a picturesque village that in minds of many presents the very embodiment of Karst. To me it's a bit like visiting Baux de Provence minus the tourist crowds and souvenir shops. Even though we were visiting in the middle of tourist season we were more or less the sole tourists to wander its streets.
Ferrari Garden in Stanjel

No visit to Karst is complete without a bit of prosciutto tasting. We did our little bit of that in Kobjeglava in a posh little restaurant owned by the largest Slovenian prosciutto producer. Fantastic, worth every single Euro cent!

Spent the night in another quaint village called Pliskovica. I guess Pliskovica is as far off the beaten path as you get. And yet Youth Hostel that they setup in an old farm house has all the amenities that could make your stay comfortable. As it proved the next day, it's also really nice to walk the Pliska trail where nice little sheep guide you through the Karst landscape, showing you some of the typical features of this area.
One of the sheep that take you around Pliska trail

Last but not least, we stopped in Vilenica cave. Nowhere near as big as Postojna and possibly less impressive than the other well known cave in Skocjan, Vilenica probably boasts the most impressive collection of cave formations I've ever seen.

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22 April, 2007


I haven't posted anything to this blog for about a month. Well, shame on me. This doesn't mean I didn't experience anything worth noticing. The fact is I was insanely busy with our new radio station. We've been on air since 11 April and things are gradually getting back to normal.

In the meantime I had time enough to test my new scuba diving gear and to take a short trip to Milan last weekend. I didn't really like Milan all that much, but I thought the cathedral was simply stunning.

12 March, 2007

Simply Slovenian

I just had an interesting discussion about a nice complex feature of
Slovenian language. As many other languages, we have three distinct
grammatical genders - masculine, feminine and neutral. Surely this is
nothing unique, as there is nothing unique in the fact that
grammatical gender has nothing whatsoever to do with the real gender
of the noun. But again I think Slovenian should earn a special prize
for the ease with which a certain noun may be transformed from one
gender to the other.

Let's have a look at an example: our basic word for a girl is
'deklica', disappointingly enough this noun is female. If we take a
slightly more poetic version 'dekle' it becomes neutral, while in a
condescending tone you might have use a 'deklic' which is masculine.
Of course all of these could simply be substituted by the plain old
'punca', which again is boringly feminine.

Not all the nouns in Slovenian act like that. In fact the girls are,
as usually, more of an exception. Which possibly shows how universal
these beautiful creatures are.

And, yes, I have been reading some heavy grammatical stuff lately
(namely Seth Lerer's History of the English Language).

17 February, 2007

Carnival Season

Time to bring out your masks again. This is how they simbollicaly masked Ljubljana this year. Well, at least that's my interpretation.

The pic is taken with my favourite new toy. Not bad for a phone camera (or is it camera phone).

29 January, 2007

Charming Sharm? No, thanks!

Just back from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.

Even as I booked the flight two weeks ago, I knew Sharm wouldn't really be my cup of tea. I just didn't realise how bad it can actually get.

The whole Sharm el Sheikh is nothing but a massive sprawl of all inclusive tourist resorts, bars, clubs and various other mass tourist stuff. Prices are, well, European, which means having a capuccino in our hotel bar was actually more expensive than having capuccino at home. Not that I'd had that many capuccinos there anyway.

Anyway we took this as striclty diving holiday. And when it comes to diving, Sharm is good. Of course they turned the whole thing into an industry, but it functions and the dives are great. Going there in January also meant we didn't have to share the reefs with hundreds of other divers, although it also meant that the hammerheads weren't there.

After five days of diving in Sharm we used the last day to go to Dahab. Although quite touristy as well Dahab has somehow managed to retain a proper Egyptian atmosphere and of course it doesn't have all the huge all inclusive hotels. We went to see the two famous dive sites of Dahab - Bells/Blue Hole and Canyon. Blue Hole seemed a bit overrated, although it might have been for the fact that we were there very late in the afternoon, so we didn't get the right lighting. But Canyon was simply fantastic, possibly the most memorable dive of my life.

14 January, 2007


Funicular railway is the talk of town in Ljubljana these days. And nobody really likes it. I mean instead of the nice little old road train that took tourists up to the castle, we now have the glass & steel monster that will take you up. Not that you couldn't walk, I mean it's only like a five minute walk.

Top reasons why we hate it?
1. It cost 7 million € and 2 years to build it.
2. They cut down a lot of trees.
3. It killed the road train.

Having said all that it might not be all that bad for the people visiting Ljubljana for the first time. Took my camera phone with me when I checked it out the other day...

Queue at the bottom
Glorious funicular
Top station

27 December, 2006

Merry and Happy and Jolly...

Just finished reading Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and I agree it's the season to be jolly, the season of holly and of all the things ending in -olly. And wanted to wish you all a jolly New Year, full of travels!

13 December, 2006

Ljubljana this December

I have to admit I'm one of those Grinches, who doesn't like all the Christmasy jingling. But that doesn't mean I don't like what they do to Ljubljana every December. This year the decorators have outdone themselves again. Here's a couple of snaps I took the other day.

Prešeren square & the Christmas tree

Opera house illuminated with the new bluish light.
(in the early evening it looked stunning, hope you can tell from the photo)

It's all about Euro this December. This greenish monstrosity is part of the promotional feature that is being projected from the city council building to the building on the opposite bank of Ljubljanica.

Otherwise all's well in the land of Slovenia. We are finally getting some winter temperatures. There might be snow in the weeks to come, but there's no sight of it yet. And we've got a new mayor in Ljubljana. He looks like the type of person that will cause a considerable stir.

05 December, 2006

Slovenian Euros

We're getting Euros in our little country on 1 January. I'm more or less looking forward to it. The only thing I (well we all really) have is that various businesses might raise their prices. Spar was the first to issue a public statement saying this is not going to happen. That's good to know, I like shopping with Spar.

Some of the smaller businesses are less convincing. Like pizzeria Azur next to our radio station. The price of their daily menu used to be 4.13 EUR. That is a rather ridiculous number, so of course now they rounded the price up, no problem there. I mean nobody expected anything else. But they rounded it up to 4.9 EUR! I'm not too good with math, but that's almost 20 percent, isn't it.

If you're interested in Slovenian Euro coins, here's the link.

23 November, 2006

Birthday and stuff

I survived another birthday without any big pomp. Didn't really feel like making a lot of fuss about it. Still, I'm now officially on my way to the big three-oh. Time to do something about that BA, I guess...

Couchsurfers of Ljubljana had the second meeting yesterday. I didn't attend the first one, as I was in Oman (or possibly Turkey) at the time. This one was organised by an Irish couchsurfer Spyro. Also attended by an Aussie and a bunch of Slovenians.

Ljubljana is already starting to get the Christmas look. Will try to get some photographs sooner or later. The photos I took two years ago are still available here.

Apologies to Rich, no sheep this time. :)

03 November, 2006

It's been a while

I know it's been a while since my last post here, but there was just so much going on in my life.

First it was the big trip of this year. We were supposed to go to India, but after a series of unfortunate events ended spending about two weeks in the Arabian peninsula, then traveled another two weeks around the Balkans. It was a fantastic trip all in all, but quite exhausting.

And then the return home, which proved to be even more exhausting. Upon my return I found out that our management basically kicked me off air. Supposedly they're saving me for this big project they have planned for February, but nobody really cared to ask me whether I can survive until then. Well I can, but that's not the point!

Today I finally started poring over the photos we took on our trip. Some of them are fantastic, others are a dissappointment. The light in the desert is really harsh. I never imagined just how until I opened some of the photos.

Here's one of the good ones though.

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07 August, 2006

Under the sea (part 2)

Yes, we truly fell in love with scuba diving this summer.

We set on a serious diving expedition this weekend. The weather forecast was good, our flat seemed safe enough, we got all the gear together. I even managed to get up at 5:55 am, so off we went.

First stop Beli on island Cres.

After some serious web research I decided to give the diving base in Beli a try. The road to Beli itself was a true adventure. Wide enough for only one vehicle at a time it has regular meeting points where you can safely let an oncoming vehicle pass by. Luckily there isn't a lot of traffic on it.

Beli is better known for the project of repopulation of eurasian griffon. But as written before, our goal was only the diving base. We made three dives altogether, two from the shore and one by boat. Just off Beli's shore there is a cliff that goes all the way to 40 metres underwater. The cliff is as full of life as you can imagine. Enough for at least two great dives. The third dive of the day was done by boat. We went to see an underwater tunnel that starts on 3 metres and goes down to 15 metres. Schools of fish were all around. Pure magic.

We spent the night in Krk and went to Silo the next day. We've been to Silo's diving centre once before. It is much larger and better organised than the one in Beli, but we did most of the diving in Beli alone (there were two other divers on our first dive there, the rest we did all alone) and somehow we didn't feel the same being on boat with 8 other divers. The location they took us to was nice enough, but with divers all around it just lost the charm of exploring. Slightly disappointed and still tired from the previous day we decided to call it a day (well a weekend) and get home.

Again I highly recommend the diving center in Beli, more info to be found on their website.

Sorry, but we didn't take our camera with us this time. No pics, sorry.

02 August, 2006

...it's not always a nice adventure though.

I wasn't really sure whether I'd write anything about this past weekend at all. Then I decided that this weekend was quite an adventure, even if it wasn't a nice one.

Friday night. Katja was on call and two couchsurfers were staying at our place. Since it was their last night in Ljubljana they invited me to join them for a drink in our couchsurfing room. A typical summer storm was obviously coming, a bit of thunder and lightning, a quick shower, nothing out of the ordinary. We didn't realise that the clowns who are converting our attic into flats have done something wrong again...

Next thing I know the water was pouring from the ceiling of our guest room. I ran to see whether there was leakage anywhere else. And of course it was. Another waterfall from the ceiling in the living room. We spent next half hour runing around trying to get at least some of the water into buckets.

Luckily the shower was over soon enough, but Marii and Nick ended up sleeping on mattresses in the dining room. I'm sure this was one of the worst couchsurfing experiences ever!

Below are two of the pics I took for the insurance company on Friday night.

Still there was an upside to all of this. On Saturday morning we had a nice breakfast together and all of a sudden Nick (the Australian half of the couchsurfing duo) produced a jar of vegemite from his backpack. So we finally had a taste of this infamous Australian food. Supposedly I'm one of the few non-Australians who genuinely liked it. :)
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26 July, 2006

Under the sea...


Yeah, spent most of this past weekend under the sea. Five dives isn't too bad for one weekend I guess. Got slightly lost on one of them and missed the main attraction. That's all experience I say. My buddy (Katja) was of a slightly different opinion so we had a longish fight. Not very serious though.

All the dives were done in Rabac. That's the closest really good diving spot in Croatia. We visited the wonderful wreck Lina and some other spots in the area.

Katja was toying with the camera - we borrowed a friend's Canon S1 and the underwater casing - and she came up with a couple of surprisingly neat photographs.


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17 July, 2006

Gozd Martuljek Weekend

The end of another wonderful summer weekend. Visited a friend's weekend house in Gozd Martuljek, a great spot for hiking.

On Saturday we made a rather short hike to Vrsic, the highest road pass in Slovenia. Many people get all the way up by car. But that's no real fun. We took a rather unknown path, that starts about halfway up Vrsic. A nice and easy enough hike even for unexperienced hikers like ourselves. Some of the views are goregous though.

This path offers one of the best views of the rocky face of Ajdovska deklica I've seen so far. According to legend ajdovske deklice (ajdovske maidens) told people fortune at their birth. One of these foretold the son of a hunter that he would one day kill the mythical Goldhorn. The prophecy angered other ajdovske deklice and so they turned her into stone. With a little imagination it's easy to see her face.

Even though Vrsic is only 1611 metres high, there is still some snow left on the top. We like the experience of snow on a hot summer day...

... while some sheep sheepishly tried to find shade under this camper van.

Sunday was mostly the day of rest, as it should be. But we had to do a small hike to the Alpine valley of Tamar, nevertheless. An easy 45-minute hike takes you to this mountain hut (or valley hut as it should be called in this case.

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14 July, 2006

Beautiful visitor

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I had a beautiful visitor today. This was the best photograph I could make. It was fluttering nervously around the apartment, trying to get. Our cat, which sees any large insects as flying food, got really excited about it. The butterfly managed to find a way out in the end of course. Nothing very exciting for us humans, but it's nice to know we still have animals like that living in the very centre of Ljubljana.

12 July, 2006

Pics of our weekend with Val & Simon - part 2

Just outside Pleterje monastery there is also an open air museum. It contains a few farmhouses that were taken from original locations and brought here...

...and they have some friendly goats. :)

Moving on to Olimje. Monks in Olimje have specialised in natural medicine. Apart from herbs, bee products are also seen as an important part of this. Beehive fronts are typically painted in various motives.

Just around the corner from Olimje monastery is also the deer farm. Well it's actually a restaurant that doubles as a deer farm. Still it's really nice.

Pics of our weekend with Val & Simon - part 1

The impressive Zuzemberk castle dates back to the 13th century. It was first mentioned in 1246 as Sosenberch. Although essentially a Romanesque fortress, it was largely rebuilt in the Renaissance period. Unfortunately it was badly damaged during WWII. It still is a magnificent sight seen from the river bank.

Below the Zuzemberk castle there is what I refer to as the Zuzemberk riviera. After this beautiful waterfall the river gets quite and locals bathe in it on hot summer days.

Part of the Pleterje monastery. The monastery is still active, so you can only see it from afar. Still the beautiful surrounding area makes the trip worth it.

The monks of Pleterje have a special tradition of growing pears inside bottles. Their pear brandy famously features a whole pear in a bottle. It looks a bit like ships in bottles. Well here you can actually see how the whole thing is done.

10 July, 2006

Slovenian Tourism part 1

Still recovering from the weekend with Val and Simon. It's nice to be both a tourist and a tourist guide in your own country at the same time, but it can be a bit tiring as well.

But it's always nice to hear all the comments about the beauty of our country.

So what did we do exactly? Saturday was rafting on Krka, a short stop in Zuzemberk and Novo mesto. Then longer stops in Pleterje monastery and Kostanjevica. It all ended with a party evening in my hometown Celje.

Sunday started with a quick tour of Celje and a visit to Celje castle. I love what they're doing with this castle. They've been renovating it for a few years now and they've really done a good job so far. Can't wait to see the end product.

From Celje we went to Olimje monastery and visited the deer farm and the microbrewery in the area. No tour is complete without a stop at a brewery or winery as Simon observed.

We ended our tour at a tourist farm in Rogaška Slatina. Homemade cheese, salami and bread. Wow, fantastic!

Haven't downloaded the photographs from the camera yet.