Sunday, June 25, 2017

Europe 2017 (June) Trip Notes # 2

Europe 2017 (June) Trip Notes # 2


County and mountain Village architecture was a surprise in that the homes have the same steep roofs as they do in Switzerland, Germany or Austria. They must get a lot of snow in the winter. 

Also interesting was the use of the rust color tiles that would typically be used in the Mediterranean.

The countryside is quite special. Besides miles of green pastures and plenty of crops growing throughout the area, the beautiful villages and picturesque farms seem to be a juxtaposition with the nearby forests...

and lakes.

This is a town made up of oddities:

The Slovenian language sounds like Russian with a Scandinavian lilt.

Of the 2 million people living in the entire country, 600,000 live in Ljubljana. It may be the wealthiest country (per capita) of the Balkan countries, highest educated and the most unemployed or under-employed. Many PhD's looking for jobs.

"Tipping" (as we know it at home) is not expected. Sometimes, leaving a "few coins" on the table after a meal is more than satisfactory.

There's lots of graffiti but the town is very clean - no trash laying around. At home graffiti tends to represent gangs and dangerous areas. Here, graffiti is considered "art" or a political expression - tends to be found in safe areas.

Outside of town, cars speed (somewhat like Germany).

Food tends to be heavy - lots of meat. Breads are excellent. We tried salami made from bear, deer and pork.

Notice The Raw Bacon Wrapped Around The Chicken Pate. Fat rules!

Our hotel (Cuba as in "cube") was perfectly positioned and reasonably inexpensive.

The room came with a great breakfast. 

Our room had four strange or unexpected features: 

Everything in the mini-bar is free

The shower is in the middle of the bedroom with glass walls on three sides.

So Much For Modesty!

And, we had a strange shaped toilet!

Does anyone have a rectangle shaped fanny?

Room Phone

Overall, food costs are relatively inexpensive. Meals could be 1/2 to 1/4 of what we would pay at home.

We were able to participate in an excellent city and castle walking tour. The guide made the experience particularly special by pointing out things that were unique and not so obvious.

Un-pasteurized Milk Dispensed Here - Good For 4 Days

Art sculpture at bottom left of photo dispenses drinking water. Apparently, the local water is so clean that it does not need to be purified. (We were not so adventurous at the beginning of the trip!)

The town has lots of odd-looking art - particularly where you would not ordinarily look. The water drain in the middle of the walkway is - ART!

Most retail stores are small and specialized. However, there is one department store tat is a hold over to the past.

Fancy store - not so fancy homes.

By looking closely, we saw that most of the "newer" buildings have not been kept up.

We learned that the local  philharmonic orchestra traces its roots back to 1701. Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Mahler, etc, composed and played here.

One Of The Universities

There was a special treat: The guide took us to a pub where we could taste local sausage accompanied with a horse radish and mustard dip.

After a stop at a candy shop to taste a local specialty --- salted chocolate (Yum!), we headed to a mountaintop overlooking the town to tour a castle.

Many Parts Of The Castle Left Intact 

Great Views

 Many Exhibits In Castle Rooms - Some Historical, Some Contemporary

Festivals were going on throughout the town. Lots of entertainment - day...

 and night. 

Each Street Has Something Going On

We watched a rehearsal for an outdoor (a la Greek Theater) "Big Band" concert. The music style was sort of like the Lawrence Welk era.

Orchestra And Entertainers Wore Tuxes And Gowns The Next Night

TV Cameramen Also Need To Rehearse

Our second full day took us to nearby Lake Bled - a beautiful, serene forest area with a castle on a hill and...

a church situated on an island in the middle of the lake.

Lake Bled It is known as a spa resort with many seasonal sports activities. The water is relatively warm (people swim in it) and crystal clear.

Even with GPS, it took a local person to guide us to the castle

Looking Out At The Lake From One Of The Castle Rooms.
 Archery Lesson 

                                            Ladies In waiting?

We went for a walk along the Lake Bled shore and picnicked on a bench. Now, when was the last time we did that...?

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