Mixing Up Memories, Countries Too


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July 19th 2017
Published: July 19th 2017
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Two and a half weeks ago I returned home after travelling in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia, but it just occurred to me this morning that I had confused two different funiculars in two different countries, combining them into just one! And, of course, sent out a blog post while these mixed memories were happily playing in my head. So this entry is a retraction, an apology for not only allowing two different countries to synthesize into one, but in reporting things that happened in two different cities as if it were a single occurrence. I think we all adjust our memories, changing what happened to reflect more kindly on ourselves or others, dulling and smoothing the sharp edges, and over time I have read that these enhanced memories become what we believe truly happened. So I want to set this straight today, before any more time goes by, before my mistaken information becomes entrenched in my, or anyone else's, mind.

The truth is that Zagreb, in Croatia, does indeed have the shortest funicular in Europe, but their Upper Town does not hold a castle; that is in Ljubljana, in Slovenia. Zagreb's Upper Town is visually dominated by the Dolac Market, with a color coordinated array of red umbrellas shining out over the main square, and the ancient Cathedral of St. Stephen. This is Zagreb! One small aside here is that I could not stop comparing this perfect, clean, orderly market with ones I had grown to depend upon and love in Thailand; the markets I frequently daily in Pathum Thani (north of Bangkok) were quite dirty; their umbrellas were ripped and torn (if the seller had one), usually a dead grey color, and it was quite a chaotic labyrinth, walking through snaking rows of crammed in tables, wiggling past crowds, trying not to step on dogs --and people -- sleeping either on the market tables or right on the ground. In Thailand the markets are noisy, hot, an assault on the senses until one gets used to them. In Zagreb I was overwhelmed with the sameness of the stalls, the cleanliness and peacefulness, and the fact that everyone had the exact same, new red umbrellas! It was really quite astonishing, comparing it with my vibrant visual memories of the markets I knew in Thailand.

The funicular in Ljubljana is the one that I found fearful, the one that looks as if it is climbing straight up a mountainside. On top is where the Castle and its museums are to be found, and where the rains poured down so hard that I asked if the funicular could safely be run in such drenching weather. (It did.) I even looked out over the wet city as we descended, but I was happy when we reached solid ground once more.

So there it is, my setting the record straight on the funiculars in Zagreb and in Ljubljana. The more I travel the harder it is to remember what happened exactly where, unless there are such striking moments or visuals that grab one's attention, or unless I've been living in the same place for six months, as I did in Southeast Asia. Travel is an education, a broadening of the mind, but remember to take good notes wherever you go.

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