14 September 2008

Day 13: Kočevje

This was recovery day for everyone after a lengthy night at the party. Right now I'm helping to heat the house through the ol' fashioned use of a central wood stove. Most houses here have a hearth where the firewood loads in the hallway, and the ceramic hearth extends into the next room, decoarted with fancy tiles.

We definitely needed the hearth, because today is the coldest day I've experienced so far on the trip, although it isn't rough; just enough for the full jacket. The rain has at least let up.

I am leaving Slovenia tomorrow night to go back to Munich. I will have one short evening in Munich with my sister, and then take an early plane to Paris (no, not Charles de Gaulle Airport again!), then straight on to Los Angeles. I would love to come back to Slovenia again when things are less busy; so much of the activity here has centered on the party and the many visitors. At least I got to see much of old Ljublana, its castle, and take a short trip to Bled. Of the other attractions in the country, I am most interested in seeing Šempeter, the site of a Roman necropolis with complete tombs, columns, and stelae. Vladimira told me she didn't think it was much, but for a fan of Roman history, I am sure I would love it. The town of Ptuj is also of great historical importance and I would like to take a trip there as well—it's the oldest town in Slovenia. And, by the way, the famous Lipizzaner stallions were originally bred by the Austrian Archduke in Lubjlana at the town of Lipica (Lipizza in Italian). Two hundred of the horses remain on the stud farm today, and visitors are permitted to ride some of them

We ate a dinner of onion soup and a traditional, very spicy Slovene sausage that I've really come to love. There was wine (of course). Maja's dad keeps large vats of it stored outside, and for dinner pours it into a carafe for all of us. I imagine that it's all locally grown grapes. Wild grapes are part of most meals as well, and you can always find them sitting in the center of any dining table.