Monday, 30 July 2007

Picnic season


Summertime in Slovenia is always the right season for various picnic events. This Summer is no different. Every birthday of a friend or even a sunny weekend can be an excuse for another picnic.


Locations of these events vary. Sometimes it's just a terrace by some friend's house and sometimes it's some remote place in the middle of nowhere.


On one of the previous weekends one such event took place. To get there we had to turn off the local road and follow a macadam forest road full of holes for a few kilometers uphill and park next to a barn, just to continue on foot for another 20 minutes.
These kind of places always make me wonder, what the heck were these people thinking to build a house in such a place? And how did they do it? If the pyramids are a World wonder, why not these places? It had to be a life project just to get all the building material to such a remote location.



Our destination was an old deserted house, where the relatives of the guy who invited us used to live. Once again various barbecue meat and vegetable dishes were on the menu. Besides that the location was just perfect for relaxing and chatting with friends (and of course drinking a beer or two when doing that).
The main barbecue dish was cevapcici (you can see it on the first photo). It's a traditional Balkan dish. I guess barbecues without those are quite rare in Slovenia.



One could just lie in the grass and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. There was also a net between two of the trees for the same purpose.


Because the house is surrounded with trees, there is lots of wildlife around. A dormouse has made itself a home in one of the rooms on the first floor. At dusk and again at dawn deer come to feed on grass growing around the house. And occasionally even a bear is seen roaming in the neighborhood. It seemed like we were making way too much noise for any of them to come close. Except for the dormouse that is. It seemed like it went on a night shift and payed us back for the noise we were making through the day.



For those of us who wanted to spend the night, there was lots of space inside the old house (not for the picky ones though) and outside for pitching tents. Some even took the option of a sleeping bag under the stars.



Some of the guests were city folks and I could tell they didn't feel very comfortable when the night fell.


At the end we all had a nice weekend event. Definitely a thing to do once in a while.

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Thursday, 26 July 2007

Into the bear realm


Two weeks ago my girlfriend had an idea that it would be nice to go hiking again. It has been quite some time since our last hiking trip. You can read about that in this post.


Our destination for the day was Kurescek (Kurešček in Slovenian). It is only 826 meters above sea level and we took an easy route - 4,5 hour walk up and back down. As the idea of the whole thing was getting in shape for our planned trip to Egypt, we started at high noon.



We left our car at the Turjak castle and took a path into the forest. After a nice, but because of the heat a little bit exhausting, two and a half hour walk, a church dedicated to The Queen Of Peace greeted us at the top of Kurescek.



After a meal at the nearby cottage inn we continued our circular route down the road. Not long after that came to a small village of Visoko. Our hiking guide-book was not too generous with the information on where to go from there. We took a path into a dense forest but after some 50 meters it was simply gone.
We decided to go back to the village and ask for directions, because we didn't feel like getting lost in the unknown forest.


We tried our luck with two ladies who were, as they told us, more weekenders than real locals. They both said that there is another path but they didn't know where it was going. Besides that detail, they also mentioned that it's not very safe to go deep into the woods around there because of the many bears roaming around.


I didn't take them very seriously. What do some scared middle-aged city ladies know about woods and bears? Right? Right!
But when I saw a look on my girlfriend's face I knew right away we weren't going down that path.


Bears or no bears, I wasn't gonna settle for that. I decided to find a true local person who knows those parts. I got lucky soon enough. The next one gave me some useful info and we were off to find an overgrown path. She didn't mention any bears.


At the edge of the forest there was an interesting sign that made us think. I tried to cheer my girlfriend up with an explanation of this sign. I said it's quite obvious that this round sign is forbidding bears to enter the area, so we are surely safe. Of course I was ignoring the two words saying: Bear region.


My hiking companion was not too happy with the overgrown path occasionaly blocked with fallen trees. She was constantly urging me to pick up my pace. On top of all that we were beginning to run low on water (when asking for directions we forgot to make a refill).
My bright idea to take photos of a weasel crossing our path was promptly dismissed. And there was no room for argument. None at all!


She was not at all comfortable when that little path ceased to exist. I was confident we were on the right way, but not at all certain.
Eventually the path appeared again and we were nearing the edge of the forest.


When we were out in the clear again I could hear a loud sigh of relief and soon she was in a better mood again.


After that it didn't take us long to get to our car parked in front of the castle. After a half an hour drive we were taking a shower in our flat in Ljubljana.


In the end another interesting trip is behind us and after all we are glad we decided to do it. (Un)fortunately we have no bear photos to share. ;)

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Monday, 23 July 2007

Never-ending sunrise


Can you imagine how it would be, if a sunrise lasted for 24 hours? I must admit that until recently I haven't thought about that.


It was a few days ago, when guys from the Apollo Team contacted me and I have decided to share this with you.


The Apollo Team have started a project for which they need people from all around the World to participate. People from different time zones are necessary to accomplish shooting sunrises in their local places.


They will try to achieve installation of 24 live webcams to display sunrises around the Earth. The Sun will keep rising from screen to screen, from bottom to top vertically. This 'never-ending sun' will last for 24 hours in a day!


If you think this is a cool idea, check out their site at http://www.neverendingsun.net and give them a hand. I am sure they will appreciate it.


The above photo was taken on a beautiful September morning somewhere north of Bastia, on Corsica, France.

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Thursday, 19 July 2007

Sailing day at work


At a firm I work for we had a Sports day the other day. Above all it's a team-building thing and we do it two or three times a year.


In Winter we usually go skiing and in the Summer there are many options. This time we went sailing for a day.


Our day together started in Izola, Slovenia, where for starters we listened to some sailing theory. Soon after that we went on board.


After some more briefing (this was a first time sailing for some of my coworkers) we set sail. The weather and also the winds were ideal.


We even tried a short regatta. Our boat finished last, but we had a great time in the process.


In the evening we gathered for a delicious dinner. Afterwards it was time for some nightclubbing. I went to bed at half past five in the morning in a surprisingly good state.


And another day at work was over. It was a good day. I hope we do something like that again.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

WASBE 2007 Conference, Ireland



My brother is currently in Killarney, Ireland. He is attending a World Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference. So if you are in the neighbourhood from 8th to 14th of July I guess you should not miss this event.
Unfortunately I won't be able to attend.


He has been chosen to play in the WASBE International Youth Wind Orchestra as a lead tuba player. He is the only Slovenian musician to play in the orchestra this year. We're all very much proud of him.


I hope he is enjoying Ireland.


He took his camera with him, so I hope he'll share a photo or two when he comes back.
If you are interested you can visit his Tuba Blog at tuba-blogging.blogspot.com.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Malta experience


The other day my girlfriend and I did a short presentation on our trip to Malta. This time it was for my mother's colleague and her husband.
We always enjoy sharing our stories and tips with everyone interested. They are on Malta as I am writing this and I hope they are having a good time. If they enjoy it only half as much as we did, they will still have a blast.


We went to Malta two years ago (September 2005) and it was just the opposite to our last years (September 2006) Corsica adventure (you can have a taste of Corsica in some of my older posts). We loved both places, but they are just so much different that it's quite hard to compare them, but I'll try to put it in a sentence anyway:

If Corsica throws nature in its best edition straight in your face, Malta on the other hand could bury you under literally tons of history on your every step around the island.


Here are three of my many photos from the trip.


On the first one there is a guard post from the city walls of Senglea - just across the bay from Valetta. Eye of Osiris can be seen on its side (it is supposed to look for the dangers coming from the sea).


The other two show the religious side of the island. Most of the locals are deeply religious. A traveler can see it everywhere - for starters there is an enormous number of churches all over the island, there is a small altar with a saint even on each of the old buses, every city has it's own patron, in whose honor they organize a festival twice a year and so on and so forth.



Maybe I could write some of the highlights of our trip to Malta in one or two of my next posts.
Would any of my beloved visitors be interested in that? Well, let me know...

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Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Trip to Maribor


Recently I attended a business conference in Maribor, Slovenia. It was only a one day event, so unfortunately I didn't have much time to take photos. Nevertheless I decided to take a stroll through the old city center on my way back to the main train station.


These photos were taken on the main city square. It seems like the City Hall with its clock tower is carefully overlooking the people gathering below. In the center of the square there is a plague monument. It stands in memory of the devastation caused by the 1680-1681 plague which claimed the lives of approximately one fifth of Maribor’s population.



Maribor is a truly photogenic city and it still stands on my photo-shoot list. But then again - what doesn't? ;)

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