Dateline: 18.06 28 Aug 1996
Location: Slovenia, Ljubljana, Dijaski Dom Bezigrad  

Ljubljana. Well, almost; the suburb of Bezigrad, to be quite precise. Being lazy, I didn't feel up to the task of finding a place to eat and hence had a three-star meal of instant goulash and a can of tuna. I am trying to prepare some green tea now, but the outlet which gladly supplied me earlier refuses to cooperate - or is it the heater itself which is broken? If so, how did it happen, and how can it happen given that the thing is basically one big oversized resistor? Oh well, impossible or not, it did happen and that's just 2 bat 4 me.

First impressions? The sad truth is that Slovenia was Commie for a long time and it still shows. But perhaps the key difference to other ex-C countries is that here, the old buildings have been kept in shape and it's only the concrete blocks that are in disrepair. And some of the newer buildings ae magnificent, like the repaired train station, a small but gorgeously classy mansion of pink marble and Italian(-like?) design. But I have only skimmed the surface on my way to the hostel, the real exploration will be left for tomorrow. It's been raining heavily for most of the evening, although there was a flash of sun once; hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

I found this picture lying in a cupboard in the hostel, with the words "EMKA - LJUBLJANA 1965" written on the back in black ink.  Who knows...? 

Contrasts, contrasts. The night before yesterday was spent in a German sleeper train on the way from Praha to Wien. Thanks to some quirk (the girl who took my reservation did seem clueless) I was the only person in my 6-person couchette compartment. Whee! Oddly enough, I had problems falling asleep despite being dead tired, but eventually managed it anyway. The next night, I managed (after a non-trivial chase, completed with the aid of Flavia) to get the last bed in the "Don Bosco" Jugendherberge. It was rated Simple Standard, a fact I noted with foreboding. With reason, as it turned out. My room was on the 9th floor, but they had a floor 0 so make that 10 and adding on the two floors that should've been but weren't it comes out to be 12. In case you hadn't guessed by now, there was no elevator. Ever walk 12 stairs of flights with a fully-loaded backpack and the flu? No wonder I slept so well that night (a strong point in their favor, I must admit). But the shower kept me on my toes, by alternating without warning from boiling to freezing and anywhere inbetween, depending on how many people were using hot water. Most memorable (or should I say striking?), however, was the way the hostel was constructed in the bell tower of a monastery - not a former one, but one still in use, as I found out when one of the monks decided to give one of the bells a shake. A most impressive sound: the KU-WANGGG literally shook the bed and you could hear the ropes grinding between the rings, producing an intoxicating beat with surprising resemblance to techno in some elemental way. Interesting, and very different from the annoying mainly-treble little "ding-dongs" you hear when listening to bells from far away.

 And tonight, I sleep here in Dijaski Dom Bezigrad, a 300-bed dormitory/hostel which is, for the next 2 days, entirely empty until school starts on Monday and the hordes of kids rush in. Don Bosco was packed full, 8 people to a room, but here I have a whole wing of the hostel to myself. The people at the reception tried to sucker me into paying almost double for a single room, but evidently I saved my 800 tolarji at the right time for once. About the only negative point is the pile of decomposing (and smelly) garbage in the shower area, but at ~10 Dm a night for what in the end amounts to a single, you'll hear no complaints from me. And now, it's bedtime. When will I get around to writing the Praha eulogy and Wien comments?

The day's budget 
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