Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ljubljana - same, but different

Even though we're in this exotic locale, our day-to-day life is not so different from home.  We work, get groceries (see Ben's posts), walk Bobo, do laundry, etc.  On weekends we have some adventures, like quick trips to Italy or Croatia, but we also do more mundane stuff like hike, go to movies, walk the dog, exercise.  

- Last weekend we hiked around Lake Bohinje (above).  What a glorious place!  

- Lots of dog lovers here.  I never see anyone picking up their dog's poop, but I also never see uncollected poops.... Hmm.  They are really good at trash and recycling here...

- We went to our first movie - Boyhood.  Really interesting movie.  They have assigned seats in movies here, even when it's half-empty.  

- Ljubljana is even whiter than Knoxville.  

- We got our first package from home (thank you Tina!).  No extra taxes, but the authorities had definitely opened it up and gone through the contents, which felt quite invasive.

- I've read that Slovenia is 90% Catholic.  The church bells ring, calling people to prayer every evening, but I never see any people.  The Catholic church is funded by the state and is one of the primary landowners in Slovenia.  Strange!

- We went to our first concert this week - Swans, a heavy metal drone band that had no harmony, melody or discernible lyrics.  Very loud.   Still, fun to have a night out!  Kino Siska, a cultural center and concert venue, is just a few blocks from our house.

- The girls have their first piano recital Tuesday.  Georgia is learning to knit.  

- Teaching is still really really hard, but I'm less stressed about it than I was.  

- School is going well for the girls.  I worry that they are missing a lot of academic rigor that they'd have back home, but they are learning so much outside of school, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Crossroads --> crosshairs
Whenever I meet people and mention I'm from Knoxville, Tennessee, they say, "Oh yeah, I drove through there once, on the way to _____ (Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, etc)".

Similarly, Ljubljana is 'on the way' to a lot of bigger, cities - Vienna, Budapest, Sarajevo, Venice, Munich.  This is great for our travel plans, but also means Ljubljana got caught up in a lot of conflicts.

The Romans took over Ljubljana, naming it Emona, about 2000 years ago.  Since then it's been part of various entities that I have only a cursory knowledge of.  I started reading Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe by Simon Winder, which I'm sure will clear everything up for me!

WWI brought the 12 Battles of Isonzo, Italy v. Austria fighting in the Slovene Alps.  Hemingway wrote about it in A Farewell to Arms.  Apparently the pass built by Russian POWs is one of the most scenic roads in Slovenia.

Today I went for a little run along the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship (Pot spominov in tovarištva) (photo below).  This 33 km trail follows the line where Italian Fascists put up a fence and bunkers to keep the underground movement in Ljubljana from communicating with the partisans outside the city.  

The fence was there from 1942 to 1945.  They put these posts, with the barbed wire engraving, at all the bunkers sites along the fence.

If I ever need a dose of American patriotism, and WWII history, all I have to do is go to our basement.  The people we rent from have a son who is really in to WWII history in general, and the U.S. role in particular.  There are a ton of model airplanes, tanks, books and WWII posters.  And flags from all branches of the U.S. Military!


Fall Break please
We have one more week of school, then a week-long Fall break.  I wish we had a full week off at Fall break in Knoxville.  It's a much-needed recovery period for tired teachers (and students).  

We are going to Greece!

1 comment:

  1. 2nd attempt to comment so will be brief. Love your entries: great facts and information and observations. Almost no one we have spoken with knew where Slovenia you are educating not only yourselves but us and others as well. Enjoy Greece and some relaxation...though knowing you, learning will be part of it. Love mom b