A quick guide to Slovenia in some surprises... 1. The toilets
No, seriously. In Ljubljana, even the toilets are a source of amazement. They don't just do 'male' and 'female' at the Pritlice; a third, 'genderneutral' option is also provided. My good old curiosity led me to have look inside... only to be amazed again, this time by a lovely handwritten proverb.
2. The climate
No, I don't dislike snow. In fact, I like the view of an old city covered in a spotless white veil. But ten centimetres of snow falling in the midst of spring...? I couldn't help but feeling somewhat sad about the branches and blossom giving way under a weight that shouldn't be there.
Talk about sweet surprises! I had already put patisserie Lolita on my to do-list early on in my internship. After passing by numerous times, I recently decided to take action, and that proved to be a great idea. On the friendly waiter's advice, I decided to have this 'Mangolita' mangocake to go with my coffee... and boy, a good choice it was. It was exquisite!
During my previous trip to Slovenia, I visited the lovely coastal towns of Isola and Piran. Some weeks ago, I decided to complete this trinity, so on my day off, I headed for Koper by bus. Windy as it was, it was good to stroll around the city and see the Adriatic again. Though the palm trees and the old city center weren't lacking, I must admit that Koper has a less romantic feel to it than Isola and Piran. Still, sipping coffee to the sound of a whispering sea makes for a fine day out!
Who would have thought that I would get a taste of my beloved Nigeria right here in Ljubljana? You can take that quite literally, as I am referring to the Nigerian dish I had at Skuhna, a restaurant where migrants from Africa, South America and Asia prepare food according to their various culinary traditions. A lovely social initiative that allows the cooks to integrate while you travel by using your tastebuds.
6. Wise words for the good life
There is at least one restaurant in Ljubljana that serves it meals with a side dish that nourishes the mind rather than the body. Its menu is also partly a scribbling pad, in which customers may leave a message. Between the soup and the salad I found one that seems to apply to the way many students approach their Erasmus exchange period.
7. Street view, classic style
What they can do, I can do, so eat your heart out, Google! ;-) Ljubljana offers all one needs for a nice classic style street view, and adds a modern twist to round it off
8. Build to last?
You can't be in Ljubljana without stumbling upon the name 'Emona', or, as below, one of its variants. It refers to the Roman settlement of Emona, that was constructed in what is now Ljubljana in 14 AD, succeeding an earlier settlement. They did a good job, as the city of Emona outlasted the Roman empire itself by about two centuries... Present day Emonika is quite a different story. In fact, this huge project for a shopping, working, entertainment and-what-more center never really took off, and to date, construction still hasn't started. To be honest, this isn't all that bad, since Ljubljana can do without another symbol of modern trade. In the meanwhile, I'll happily stick to the kind of local, small scale trade that has proven its worth over the centuries.
Ah, the sweet scent of home, where, in my rare free time, I rest and plan new wanderings. Unless, that is, the rather whimsy April weather thwarts the plan. Yes, I know that (meteorological) beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, but let's be honest: beautiful spring sunrises AND dreary, wintery afternoons within one week in April...? As we say in Dutch: April doet wat hij wil ('April does as it pleases').