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Published: April 8th 2009
Green bridge at night...tourists delightwww.justgiving.com/3marathonchallenge
green bridge in the morning....er someone's probably forgot to switch off the light.
Slovenia was to be country number 5 in 11 days. We made a beeline for it's pretty and historical capital of Ljubljana. Having previously been here on holiday about 4 years ago, it was my turn to lead the tour. Ahem, that is just as soon as we got our bearings, parked up, continued on foot and found a hostel.
The hostel was in a prime location overlooking the river Ljubljanica and the fella that checked us in resembled a slightly overweight Tom Hanks. Whilst I realise there is absolutely no connection between those two points, I thought they were worth mentioning.....I don't want you thinking I'm holding out on the good stuff!
We went for a bit of a walkabout and even though it was wet (of course it was....we were travelling Europe with Rich 'cursed by the weather gods, to spend his remaining days on Earth being trailed by rainclouds' Roberts) you could see just how charming this small capital would be on a lazy sunny afternoon.
We walked along the Ljubljanica as it snaked its way though the old town, passing the three bridges the city is famed for stopping to look at
the shops, bars and bohemian cafes the line the pavements on either side. During a usual bout of abusing each other, Ben got his usual Barry White foghorn fit of the giggles going. It all began earlier in the trip. When Rich was asked which famous Rich he'd like to be, he said Ashcroft of Verve fame. Ben and myself however decided that Richard Clayderman was more appropriate. (I'm sure a click on the homepage of www.clayderman.co.uk will settle this dispute). During a session where Ben was calling Rich Clayderman, Rich played his trump card and stated that Ben resembled that fellow from the Dragons Den. Not the millionaires unfortunately. No it's that poor fella that presents the show and talks to the contestants afterwards. If you're a fan of the show you may get the reference!
With dusk approaching, I headed off to an internet cafe to compose my latest blog. I sat there writing the part about how Ben had been off having beers with Rich without me in Munich. As I paid the clerk and headed off to find the others I wondered if I'd been a bit harsh, after all it was only one small
beer! Like a drunkards beer burp caught in the breeze, those thoughts quickly disappeared. I caught up with the other two sat outside a bar with two almost empty Heineken pint glasses. With no remorse they asked the waitress for '3 THIS time' laughing which made me think that the two empty glasses were not the first of their kind this evening......the Judas.
We were in the need of food and I remembered a place I'd eaten the last time I was here. My reason for remembering it so well is that it served the biggest pizza I have ever eaten. As soon as I mentioned this, a wild eyed look came over Ben. It was like a cross between Augustas Gloop and Veruca Salt from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book. 'I must have it!' Now obviously this was 4 years ago so the place might not have even existed any more. We walked back along the river and there it was, behold the kingdom of Pizza. Once inside, the waiter politely suggested to Ben that the family size might be a bit too big for him. When the ridiculously large medium pizzas arrived, we were grateful
for his imparted wisdom. Of course Ben still maintains he could have finished a whole family size himself.
We had grown tiresome of cities, and so the following morning set course for the Slovenian coastline. We made a stop halfway round to look at a couple of Slovenia's tourist attractions. I visited both the Postonja caves and Predjama castle last time I was here and thought they might be a good idea. Postonja has a series of caves that can be explored via a short walk and a train ride though them. The castle meanwhile is built into the rock face and served as a lair for the Prince Erazem during the 15th century. The real highlight of these trips perhaps unsurprisingly was Ben. Firstly whilst walking around with the video camera he mistook two dark grey manky pigeons for doves....easy mistake after all he's no Bill Oddie. Secondly anyone who knows Ben will know that he is very opinionated (as am I.....there beat you to it) but also very intolerant. Imagine how hard Rich and I laughed when when he began a sentence 'I like to think I'm as tolerant as the next person .....'
quick examples of Ben's tolerance;
1. In response to a teen wearing a trilby......'it's just a stupid fashion hat, it's not comfortable!'
2. In response to a portly teen laughing...'what are you laughing at you stupid tubby f***!'
3. In response to an elderly man taking slightly longer to turn his car then necessary..'come on you silly old c*** move!'
The words of a tolerant man.
That afternoon we arrived in Piran. A quaint old town on the tip of the Slovenian coast. Cobbled streets, archways, small alleyways and and passages...it all felt different to the global corporation filled cities we'd been spending time in. Out of season and wet, there weren't many other tourists around, which is lucky I guess as later on we were having lunch in a seaside restaurant, when Ben got a fit of the giggles again. Thankfully there was nobody else in the restaurant to upset! We headed out for a drink that night, mainly just to get away from the solitude of our hotel room. I can confirm that thin canvas shoes, dark alleyways and puddles do not mix.
The next day was just what we needed. With Rich's curse
taking a temporary reprieve we sat about enjoying the warm sun on our faces. We'd been on the go and covered so many miles of late that just sitting about doing nothing felt a bit odd. I was feeling restless after just an hour. That said our legs were achy and personally my knee was still not right from the first marathon. A touch of rest could be just what the doctor ordered!
Making the most of the sun, we didn't leave Piran until mid afternoon. Our plan was to find somewhere to stay near Treviso airport in Italy so that in the morning we could catch an early bus to Venice. Great plan, except it took us longer then planned to find the airport and then even longer to find somewhere affordable to stay nearby! Eventually we found a hotel out in the middle of nowhere, just off a country road. The lady who owns the place warned us there was to be 'no dancing or partying' as the place was 'tranquilo'. No prizes for guessing what tranquilo means in English (even I could work it out!) It has to be said that I don't know what passes
for a party in these parts. But if it's just three tired Englishmen then that is definitely one party I don't want to be invited to! The grand total now sits at an unbelievable £2347.20! You are all heroes! Remember it's still not too late......after all £2500 is a much nicer figure to finish up on!
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