Month: June 2007

False friends

No, no – Not the sort you get when your famous in Anja Magazine – the term ‘false friends’ is often used to refer to a word that is the same in two languages but with two different meanings. Some funny examples exist in Slovene and English.

In Slovene the word ‘brat’ means brother. The word ‘bog’ means God and taking a dump on one may land you in trouble.

I also learnt that ‘Sega’ is pronounced the same as the Italian word for a ‘hand job’ which makes the SEGA Master System a lot lot funnier and, the fact that a Toyota MR2 in France would be pronounced “Toyota Merde”. Who say’s you can’t polish a turd?

I’ve also heard some funny translations of the (already odd) insect the Daddy Long Legs. Translated to English, the French call it ‘Cousin’, the Italians ‘something off the wall’ and the Slovene’s call it a ‘Snake Sheppard’!!! However, I have to admit I’m still investigating this one as its possible this is bollocks. Either way, collecting names for the Daddy Long Legs is now my new hobby.

So, what’s been up since the somewhat troublesome weekend of last? Well, gladly it’s all been good. I had a shot-glass sized schedule on Thursday and celebrated it’s completion with a pint sized bottle of Lasko with a cool American girl who pretends to be a Slovene. She even has an elaborate story about her family history etc but I’m not buying it.

Friday, well Friday was Friday and therefore time to fill Obi, gather the troops and leave for a random destination. Actually, we had planned to conquer (in the nicest possible way) the northern Bosnian town of Bihac, however, this apparently causes my insurance company (The Post Office) a few problems who require 48 hours to decide if it’s OK. So, instead we headed west to the town of Idria. Idria is a world famous source of Mercury, home of a traditional (and protected) form of pasta called žlikrofi and 2 kilometre drive from Slovenia’s shortest river. The lake at the end is well worth the tiresome, dangerous and difficult 50 meter walk.

Today, Sunday was even more active but less pioneering (I’ve been there before) however, we conquered Smarna Gora – the 600 meter boob that looks over Ljubljana. Lost, we were told by a cheeky chubby old guy in a vest that it would take us ‘beginners’ about an hour to get to the top. 34 minutes later my bum was in a deckchair on the summit. In your face vest man!

We got down and three seconds after closing the car doors the heavens opened and, two minutes later we were practically washed off the road. Untrained as a sailor, I docked Obi and we sat out the storm drinking coffee in a service station. I always thought people were exaggerating the changeability of the weather here but, we set off up the hill to a clear blue sky and beaming sunshine and returned in rain (and hail at the same time) like I’ve never seen before.

Oh, my Slovene boots have now been up (and down) their fist Slovene hill and so far, so good.

OK, now I’m commenting on the status of my shoes – a clear sign that I’ve written too much and need to go to bed.


The view from our balkan balcony

Kos or “Blackbird” serves great žlikrofi

Irdria – famous for its Mercury mines

The ubiquitos church on a hill

The stunning, small and dangerously deep lake (80 meters) sits at the end of Slovenia’s shortest river


A view over Idria

Where I live. A view of Ljubljana from Smarna Gora

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Be freeeee with your love, be freeeeee with you’re love

Be freeeee with your love, be freeeeee with you’re love
Now baby..

[repeat these lyrics mindlessly to the worst tune ever played and you’ll have some idea of what I’m being subjected to by Radio Slovenia International.]

Starters en route to Lasko

I did it again, I avoided writing until I had so much to write that it became difficult and something to avoid. However, I have tea, 2 hours free and I’m gonna face up to these Blogging responsibilities like a real man!

Actually, I haven’t thought of anything to write so, starting with today I’m gonna ramble backwards in time and type anything interesting that comes up – let’s see if it works.

Today is Wednesday and therefore one of the only day’s I don’t have to rise at 5.45am however, I did rise at 8.30ish – because bodies are annoying like that. So, I went swimming (1 whole mile), battled the BTC city until I had a new pair of (Slovene made) walking boots (for Slovene mountains) and then went for lunch with Christophe. Actually, for those who are curious about the food in Slovenia (that’s most people who I speak to) this provides a good opportunity for me to explain. Ljubljana is covered in fantastic restaurants, Gostilnas and Pizzerias. The food is always home made, always fresh, always cheap and almost always better than the average pub food experienced in England. Now, I’m not gonna bash the Great British cuisine cos we all know that some of it’s good but, to get any good food at home you have to pay – and pay a lot. Here, with a little insider knowledge and a bit of luck you can eat home made soup, stuffed peppers with mashed potato (covered in some nice sauce) a salad, an ice tea and an espresso – all for 10 Euros and 5 cent, about £6. So I regularly do.

OK, that’s food covered and today over.

A Saturday night to remember, to forget and not to be repeated

The latter half of Saturday night provides a perfect opportunity to document exactly how well I can screw my life up in 8 hours, after 8 beers.

It goes something like this…

…goes out with Slivia, Danielle and Christophe for one of those fantastic and cheap meals mentioned above.
…meets Dave, Dave and Tom and has his arm twisted into a night on the town.
…makes many mistakes
…gets escorted from Global for sitting on a table (yes I was only sitting on a table)
…gets punched in the left ear by the nice bouncer. A kinda good night kiss
..can’t hear
…wakes up with a hangover and goes to play cricket (still can’t hear)
…single handily looses the first game by bowling 6 ‘wides’ in one over giving away 12 runs (we lost by 1 run) and thus upsets his Slovene team mates.
…spends 3 days smoothing out the dents in his eternal optimism and trying to right his wrongs.
…can almost hear again in his left ear.

Note to self: Don’t do that again.

Friday and Saturday (until it went wrong) – Road tripping again.

Friday and Saturday were far better than the rest of the week as we hit the road again and ended up in Gorizia (Italy) via a stunning little village called Stanjel in the North West Karst region of Slovenia. For those who don’t know, Gorizia is the border town where Danielle lives, Silvia et al went to University and I visited to celebrate the accession of Slovenia to the EU. It’s also the setting of Ernest Hemmingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms’ which I finally finished last week.

I was super happy to learn that both Daniele and Silvia were in town and we all met for coffee and talking in the now familiar Theatre Bar. The coffee, talking and fun was repeated Slovene style on Saturday when Silvia and Daniele repaid the compliment and came to Ljubljana. It’s been 3.5 years since I met Silvia here and I’m very lucky to have done so.

The weeks before

I think they were pretty normal except that I finished a few classes. One took me for a beer and the other presented me with a small Jug ‘for memory’.

Oh, how could I forget, we also took another road trip and pilgrimage to Lasko – the home town of Lasko Pivo, the beer that was to be my downfall last weekend. We took an incredible 4.5 hours to travel the mighty 80km distance, however we were rewarded with a fantastic lunch and a good laugh at the unfortunately named villages of ‘Kum’ ‘Mali Kum’ (Little Kum) and the amusing Sola Podkum (School under kum). I will never forget Christophe singing “Oooooooh I need a dirty woman” in his French accent.

And everything else

:: I love being called Professor but I really don’t deserve the title.
:: I had my first Slovene lesson last week and I’ve been making Slovene’s laugh at me ever since.
:: I’m going to Norway on the 27th June and then home from the 1st until the 7th July.
:: I have wasted too much time on Facebook.
Like the rest of us, I’m wonder where my bro Pete is?
:: I had a lesson the other day which started with me fielding questions on, and drawing ‘spotted dick’ on the board, and ended with one of the ministers admitting he had a mirror on his bedroom ceiling. The rest of the class now call him the ‘Pink Panther’ which is funny but odd.
:: I forgot to write about Dolenska, but you can see the pictures

Oh, and Jaimie has his own account of our day tripping HERE.

Say Sirov…

All roads lead to Hrastnik

A view over Lasko

A castle on the river Krka and a wedding venue for many Slovenes

Christophe poses again however, this one never madeit to Anja magazine

The Krka again

The sun setting in Dolenska leaving us very, very lost on a hill in the middle of bear country

Drinking Lasko in Lasko

The amusingly named villages. Sorry Mum – I’ll try and grow up one day.

Sun sets over Lasko

Nuclear testing resumes on Celje

A view accross the valley from Stanjel

Who needs streen names? Stanjel 22

Cricket – before I ruined it

PS. Thanks to Christophe who took some of these photos.

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