Saturday, June 19, 2010

Long overdue

Sorry about the delay in communication. Suffice to say, things have been chaotic the last couple days. I'm in Venice currently suffering from a pizza/red wine/hour ride on a water bus headache. But first, let me tell you about Slovenia.
The country certainly deserves the label of "quaint." The ride in featured a parade of alps demurely peeking out through thick veils of mist. The mist flows through the peaks here like steam off hot spaghetti. The train ride from Salzburg to Ljubljana was an extremely memorable tour of the Julian Alps and Slovenian karst landscape. I would look out my window, and oh, look, there's a 100-meter deep waterfall or a ancient castle perched on a hilltop like a bird of prey. Slovenia is a modest country of only two million people that has none of the imperial pretensions of Vienna or Austria. They weathered all sorts of invasions by jockeying continental powers. The capital of this young nation, Ljubljana, is traversed by several rivers, so it features numerous promenades and small bridges. Although it's a national capital, it has the feel of a trendy university town, with a plethora of quirky cafes, perpetual street music, and a thriving underground scene. Slovenia's real beauty, however, is in its natural majesty, dominated by caves, sinkholes, waterfalls, cliffs, and underground rivers. Proportionally, Slovenia has more caves than any other nation, including the legendary Postojna caves which I got the opportunity to tour. The caves are like something out of a dream, freakish surreal shapes which your mind can all too easily transmute into demons and bugbears. Caves are so common in Slovenia that one of the feudal lords even built his castle in the mouth of a huge cave. Predjama Grad has got to be the single most epic scene I've ever beheld. Look for pictures to come soon.
Friday, the US and Slovenia tied 2-2 in World Cup Soccer. Ljubljana was a riot, especially during the first half which Slovenia dominated. That night, some friends from the hostel and I checked out an alternative bar in uptown Ljubljana. We drank copious amounts of Lasko beer and had amazing conversations with the young Slovenians, all of whom speak excellent English. All in all, an amazing time. I really want to go back and see more.

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