Sunday, May 6, 2018

Trip Notes # 4: Slovenia

May 3, 2018

Plans today were to return to Croatia and see more charming, historical nearby towns. However, the thought of fighting traffic and get our passports stamped at each border crossing - leaving and returning to Slovenia (four stamps - and running out of passport pages) - we looked for something else to do. The hotel manager suggested - Piran, a nearby coastal town.

We had a wonderful time strolling the beach front.

There was an opportunity to check out an underwater diving museum. 

<-------------   12 Pound Metal Shoes ---------> 

                                 Diving Suits From Different Eras 

Our wandering around caused us to stumble onto a small grocery store. We met the owner - decided to buy some specialty meats, cheeses and other items (along with a bottle of local red wine), a yummy, home-made dessert and have a gourmet picnic on our hotel room balcony.

                                        Anybody for Majong?

The store manager was really nice. She gave us little tastes to make sure that we would like what was selected. That was an "Oh my - delish!"

Jerry brings Frisbees, his CD's and packets of California Poppy seeds. Depending on a situation, he will present one of these items to an individual who  was particularly nice. Jerry gave the manager a packet of seeds. She had a BIG SMILE and threw us a BIG KISS! 
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In all directions, there are "old things..." 

...narrow passageways... 

Tucked away places to eat...

Easy ways to swim in the sea...

Opportunities to see fish being cleaned for dinner...

Finishing our day enjoying dinner on our balcony

and watching the sun set over the Adriatic Sea.

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We had experienced two unusual situations in our Izola hotel room. The bathroom kept getting hotter and hotter. There was a towel warmer on one of the walls. Jerry looked all over - trying to find an "On-Off" switch. He finally gave up and spoke to the front desk. It turned out that they control the temperature. (The device was ultimately turned off). Then, with the heater turned off, the room was still too hot. The thermostat was not working. Jerry (again) went down to the front desk and learned that the temperature was also controlled by Reception. Why? If Jerry understood what was said, controlling the towel heater and room AC is a new approach to saving energy. Huh?
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Driving in this area, walking the neighborhood streets and talking to the locals provided opportunities to get insight about the politics, the culture and, of course, the tourist spots.

§       Conflict between Croatia and Slovenia. The coastal claims has yet to be resolved even though the UN voted in favor of Slovenia
§       Many people (when pressed hard for a "Yes" or "No") tend to feel that Tito (as bad as he was) still kept things in check and reduced religious and cultural conflict.
§       We have seen so many handicapped people - all ages, all situations - it's odd. We're trying to figure out the reason. Jerry thinks that medical care is poor and situations are not addressed as they might be in America.
§       There appears to be no "pushy" pedestrians or drivers. Everyone seems to be stress-free, relaxed,
§       Many friendly people. When we get lost or unsure of directions, strangers are very helpful.
§       English is (almost) a must to have better jobs in this area.
§       While driving from point to point, we played games in the car - "I'm thinking of..."
§       Lots of trash burning in the countryside. Not great for the environment.
§       Many small vineyards - six rows rather than entire fields.
§       Olive trees throughout the countryside.
§       Jerry is putting on weight - But, not in the normal sense. His pockets are getting filled up with "Funny Money" - Kuna and Euro coins. The more he tries to get rid of, the more end up in his pockets.
§       We complained to the hotel manager that there are too many "J's" in the Slav language. He turned our complaint around and gave us a phonetic language lesson with the Shsk (or Shsck), Ushhh, Oosh, Chk, Tck and Jlch. We both had a good laugh!
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Today had been scheduled for an easy trek: One town, one city, two countries and the GPS had no idea where we were going.

In any event, our first stop was Koper - a small, historical town that, in some areas, is very modern, upscale. 

It is a port town with large cargo ships loading/unloading containers. Unlike Oxnard or Los Angeles, we actually got quite close to the loading docks. It was quite interesting to see.

The main purpose of this stop was to see a palace built about 500 years ago - now used for the local government. 

Thickness (for defense) of the old doors is unlike what we have today. 

More later...

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