My god you should see the train I’m on. I walked up the stairs onto the platform and thought I’d run into the Berlin wall. I’ve never seen so much Graffiti on a train. In my life. It is not filling me with one bit of confidence at all.
However inside it is a totally different story. The seats are really comfortable and it’s really clean. I Guess this is where the saying don’t judge a train by the graffiti on the outside comes from.
I couldn’t sleep this morning so I got up at 8 and started sending out couch surfing requests for Sarejavo and Belgrade. I’m starting to see a few more negative references appearing. Looking forward to getting into the bad lands. I’m not even really confident using my computer in the open here. There’s some pretty shady looking characters on the train, and It’s still 10 minutes before we leave.
Actually now that I think about it we’re supposed to be leaving now. But I’d been told not to rely on train timings in the Baltic. No I tell a lie, we’re off. Looks like I wont have to hitch hike from Zidani most to Ljublana.
After sending out some requiests and packing we had some food. I spent the next 15 minutes looking for my sunglasses no idea where they are. Damn sunglasses. That’ll be the 5th pair for this trip.
Christian drove me into the station and I grabbed some more credit for my Austrian phone. You cant top it up in other states, so I’m going to use it as a base phone and try to get another phone to put local sim cards in it where ever I am. The guy who we bought the credit from was pretty funny. As I left he said “Excuse me” I said “Yeah mate” he laughed and goes, where are u from? Australia?”. I guess the yeah mate had given it away and Christian just laughed at me.
He walked me to the station and we bumped into Broo and Ioanna. She’s so funny I’m really going to miss her. And we jumped on the train. Broo originally had a bit of trouble getting hiss bike on but sooon sorted it out.
We got to Maribour about an hour later and being a Sunday nobody was about except a dinosaur of a Fruit vendor. We walked to the nearest map to try and work out where we were. We spotted the train station really easily, but we spotted the other two just as easily and we really didn’t know which one we were at. We took a guess and went the direction that most the cars were going and eventually found ourselves in the middle of town.
We stopped quickly at the Information centre and went to a small local restaurant around the corner that they recommended for us. It was pretty good. I ate an assortment of different meats some potato dumpling and some saur kraut. I love that stuff. I hope its good for u . Probably not.
From there we went to a café near the Information centre. The lady in the info centre had said it was close enough to pick up their free wireless internet and she was trued to her word. So we used that for a bit. Broo still wasn’t sure if he was going to Zagreb of Ljubljana yet so I left him to go back to the train station. I could catch a train at 1415 that took 2.48 hours or a train at 1545 that takes an hour less. I wanted the extra 40 minutes that the first train afforded me so I went on that.
The train was a crack up, as noted previously. It’s pretty cold here at the moment, not as cold as the last few days tho although a can still see snow on the mountains that are flanking me fencing in some of the greenest land I’ve seen in my life.
10 hours sleep last night! You Beauty.
The train got into Zidani most yesterday right on time at 1545 and the connecting train to Ljubljana got there also on time. I was pleasantly surprised. I’d been told to expect nothing from these Balkan train services.
I got off the Train at Ljubljana at 1705ish and walked around the station for a while looking for the McDonalds which was where my new host, Jason, said to meet him. I couldn’t find it and eventually ended up asking someone if they knew where the McDonalds was. The response, surprisingly, was in perfect English and I was directed to a place right beside but slightly outside the station.
Jason had said to meet him there and that he’d be wearing a “red sweater”. I walked towards the door of the Mcdonalds. There was a guy having a smoke with a red sweater on but he looked at me and then looked away so I walked through the Mcdonalds. There was no red sweaters. So I Approached the guy with the Cigarette. I asked if he was Jason. He just shook his head flicked away his cigarette and walked away.
I walked through the Maccas again and when that didn’t help I sat out the front and sent Jason a texty. He appeared straight away. He introduced himself and said that he’d been sitting inside, I just said I was expecting a red sweater. He showed me the jumper under his coat that he was wearing. It waas a dark maroon and I’d walked past it twice.
My host is a pretty cool guy, a Canadian from Calgary, Alberta. 3 years ago he’d graduated in English and decided he didn’t want to live in Calgary. So he shifted to Europe, started traveling and looking for work and then settled here in Slovenia.
We walked through town, and he showed me the sights. Ljubljana is a pretty small place, I bit smaller then Graz so there isn’t a heap to see. From walking through the centre of town we crossed the river and started heading up the castle hill to his place.
After chatting for a while and having a shower we headed back into town for some beers. We went to his local, a cool little bar where he knew the barman and we sat outside so that he could smoke. It was the first place I’d been to with no smoking indoors for a while. It was getting pretty brisk outside but that was ok. I had my gloves a jumper and my trench coat on and that was doing the trick.
About 40 minutes later we were joined by one of his friends, No 3. He was called this because his name was Chris and from Melbourne. However amongst there group of friends he was the 3rd chris from Melbourne, and the names C1 and C2 had already been adopted.
He was pretty cool. He’d been here for a year and a half and hadn’t really lost his accent at all. Dispite studying and speaking fluent Slovene. He had a bit of a flu so didn’t join us for beer. Instead we went to there local pizza joint. We sat down and ordered the large of the pizza player, I think it was called.
It came out less then 10 minutes later. It was huge, the biggest round pizza I’d ever seen. Measuring 40 to 50 cm in diameter. It was easily enough for the 3 of us. However it had been split into 8 pieces. This made sharing the last 2 difficult. We over came this problem cut the last quarter into thirds and every one was happy.
The meal was really, really funny. Chris 3 was from the city, yet he had cousins from the country up near Albury, and we swapped stories of ferreting and he enjoyed taking the piss out of my diction. Aparently saying your going up or down to somewhere based on North and south is a real country thing.
The funniest thing by far though was Jason’s retelling slash re-inactment of the time when he fought a bear. He was planting trees over the summer and this thing had comee out of the forest. He said that they’d had “Bear awareness training” and that it straight away kicked in. He started flapping his arms around and screaming to give the appearance of size and ferocity.
This didn’t deter the bear however and it kept advancing towards him. So he picked up his shovel and swung it as hard as he could hitting the bear across the noze with the blade of the shovel held flat. He said the bear just shrugged off the blow and they ended up circling each other in a Mexican standoff. He was really lucky that his boss showed up, considering the boss only checked on him 2 or 3 times a day, and they were able to hold hands yell twice as loud and appear twice as big.
The bear eventually turned and left at a run. Straight towards his collegue who was about 400m away. This collegue was a tiny female, so he and his boss started running towards her while the bear ran in an arc. He said that the girl just started screaming and stood dead still. Luckily the bear ran straight past her into the forrest.
From the pizzaria we headed home. It was good and I was going to be home at 9oclock. At one point this crazy looking guy in a ramsteim Tshirt a beanie and gloves ran at Jason. I made a wide arc hoping he’d go for Jason and that I could clock him from behind. He slowed quickly and he grabbed Jason, then they laughed and shook hands. “Lachy this is C2” Jason said.
He was out training for a half marathon that was being held next weekend. And this was his 4th training run. He asked if I ran a bit, and then asked if I could offer him any advice. I wanted to just tell him he had no hope. But I dribbled some points about carb loading and breathing rather then destroying his hopes. I dunno hats off to him if he can finish it with this little training. I know there’s no way I could.
Back at home I lay down on my bed and thought man I feel like I’m going to fall asleep anytime soon. I woke up 4 hours later laying on the bed fully dressed. Got changed and went to sleep.
I’m sitting in a café in Ljuljana, in front of me I have a muffin, a fresh OJ, a coffee, and a big bowl of yogurt and fruit, all for 6 Euros!! Nice.
I also just spoke to the lady at the Consulate. She doesn’t want to send my cards to Macedonia, but I’ve persuaded her to do it. She did say though that it was just my cards. And that there was no wallet. Which does confirm that I was pick pocketed. I wonder why they threw out the wallet but not the cards? Maybe they liked it. It was a pretty sweet wallet.
I’m sitting in another café in Ljuljana feeling pretty sorry for myself. God damn Koreans. The next train doesn’t leave for Zagreb for another 3 hours!! It’s pretty cold, I don’t know why I’m sitting outside. I cant really feel my pinkies. Maybe typing will warm them up. I really should buy a thermometer so I can keep track of how cold it is.
Yesterday I got up after almost 10 hours sleep, it was great. Although I squandered it all last night! I walked down town and found a place for breaky. As mentioned previously it was really really good and really really cheap. After that I did all the touristy stuff in Ljubljana. Which meant I walked around for half an hour.
I walked upto the Opera house. Usually they’re the most impressive buildings here. Although this one was covered in scaffolding. But I’m sure it usually looks really nice. I also checked out the “Dragon bridge” but I didn’t see any dragons. Just a bunch of statues that looked like dragons.
After that I walked home and decided to go for a run and tick off the castle. Jasons house is halfway up the hill to the castle. never the less 3 minutes after heading up the slope I was panting and out of breath. The sun was out too so I just wore shorts and a singlet… Dumb. As soon as I climbed over the apex of the mountain that the castle was on the frigid air cut through me like a knife. It was a killer. I was running past other people in pants jackets scarfs and beanies and I was I running shorts and a footy Guernsey. GO CATS!!
Running back to Jason’s I got lost. It wasn’t hard to find my way though. All I needed to do was head downhill until I hit the river then go right. The plan worked however I was way away from where I thought I was. I dropped my camera at Jasons and kept running. I went back up the river and stopped on a pier that was sheltered from the wind. It was really nice here and I lay in thhe sun for a while soaking up the heat. It was only temporary though and as soon as I started running again I felt the knife wind.
In the arvo I went out to a shopping centre. It was freezing and the bus was only a temporary shelter. I shopped for a while and sat reading a book in a café then headed back to jasons.
After that I went and sat in a bar near Jason’s. it had free wifi, so I ordered a coffee and sat in there. The coffee was good, but it was after 6 so I ordered a beer. Soon after a bunch of yanks from the deep south sat beside me. When I finished the beer I was on I ordered another. Talking in a really thick Aussie accent I asked “Can I please grab one more please mate?”. All the yanks went silent and looked at me. I continued looking at my screen pretending I couldn’t see them. Pretty funny.
I went back to Jason’s and got there just as he was leaving to come and meet me. I quickly changed and we left to meet one of his private students. This guy was pretty funny. Thommy his name was and he spoke quite well. We chatted to him for a bit and he recommended I stop for a night in a place called Kragujavac, in between Belgrade and Sarajevo. He said the Female to male ratio is 7 to 1. I might have to drop by.
After he left we went and sat outside so that Jason could have a smoke. We sat there talking for a couple of hours and pretty soon Chris 2 joined us. As he was training for the marathon he just had a cup of tea while we continued on the Lasko’s, the local beer, pretty good actually.
From there we went to Parliament, a place nearby that has a big Erasmus night every Monday, it was only 11 and the place was already packed. We moved in and found a table, and started talking to the girl beside us, Probably the only Slovene in the place. I got home at about 4 or 5, totally nullifying the good sleep I got the night before.