Archive for the ‘Slovenia’ Category

Venice: Canals and Crumbling Buildings

August 26, 2011 - 10:49 pm No Comments

Today is a big day for Frank, as he is of Italian descent, and this will be his first time in the motherland. He plans to trace the roots of his grandfather by going to the town he came from and talking with the locals. Pretty cool.

Leaving Bled, we met a group of English girls on our train who thought I look like Matt Damon. Not the first time I’ve gotten that. To thank them for what I perceived as a compliment, I taught them how to play a simple mind game played with three rows of crumpled up paper balls. When they pushed me to name the game, I told them to call it “Jeff’s Balls.”

While on the train, Tomi was supposed to let us know when we crossed the border into Italy. He didn’t, and when we got off to change trains in Gorizia, we found out that the reason Tomi has seemed a little nervous and timid lately was because this was the first time he’s done this itinerary. He’s familiar with all of the cities, but he’s never run this route before. In any case, the signs were in Italian and police sirens had a different sound. Just like that, we were in Italy.

Our train came stopped in Mestre, the urbanized mainland district of Venice. We parted ways to find our various hotels, dropped our bags, and then met up again at the station to catch a train to Venice. From Mestre, a short bridge connects the mainland to the islands of Venice. We arrived at the station in Venice and met up with Christian, Tomi’s boss, for a quick orientation walk.

The Train into Venice (more…)

Adventures in Bled

August 25, 2011 - 11:14 pm No Comments

Woke up early for a day trip to the mountains with Emerald River Adventures. Our guide for the day was the typical guy you normally see running these kinds of tours: skinny, happy-go-lucky, ill-fitting outdoorsy clothing that says he’s cool and laid back, flip-flops, wrap-around sunglasses, arrowhead necklace, and facial hair that suggests that he smokes a lot of weed when he gets off work at the end of the day. Though I’m working with a very small sample size, Slovenians have that Slavic look, with wide-faces, high cheekbones, spacey eyes, and small teeth. They seem like a mostly happy, friendly people.

We headed into the Julian Alps, and the cool, crisp morning air was the freshest I’ve ever smelled.

Julian Alps (more…)

The Hills are Alive

August 24, 2011 - 10:10 pm No Comments

Most of today was spent on the 3-leg, 10-hour trip to Bled, Slovenia, the longest journey of our itinerary. We headed through southern Austria, where the tunnels were impressively long and the mountains and valleys were suddenly majestic. The hills are definitely alive.

Hochosterwitz Castle (more…)