Articles tagged with "slovenia"

Back to Trieste

Back to Trieste

In the morning I headed back to Trieste. I got a train to Opcina, and as we sped through the Slovenian countryside, the grey skies were gradually breaking up. As we descended there was less and less snow on the ground, and the air was getting warmer and warmer. At the Italian border it was a bright sunny day.

I got a bus from Opcina to Trieste, and then bought a ticket for the airport bus. I waited at the station for a long time, before someone came to tell us the bus had been cancelled. There were five other people waiting for the bus, and after we’d been refunded for our tickets, we headed for the station to get a train to Monfalcone. We were all on cheap Ryanair weekends, and we still had plenty of time before our flight. But at the station, confusion set in. We needed to get the train at 12.15pm, and by the time we’d all got our tickets it was 12.14pm. We rushed onto the platform, and there was a train there which half the group jumped on. But this train was on the platform next to where ours should have been, and I reckoned it was going to Udine. If it was the Udine train, it would not be stopping at Monfalcone and we’d miss our flight.

I told everyone what I thought, but no-one seemed convinced. I was sure enough to jump back off the train, though, and now that I had infected everyone with my paranoia, the group suddenly decided to follow. But disaster struck – the train doors closed before half the group could get off. A couple were divided – a girl got off the train but her boyfriend didn’t, and she was carrying all their money.

Luckily, the train driver noticed the panic, and opened the doors again. Our reunited group had now failed with the bus and the train, and our only option was a taxi. We got two taxis between us and made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare before check-in closed. We flew back to the London winter, relieved not to be stuck in Udine.


Ljubljana

Ljubljana

We got to Ljubljana at four. Srečko pointed me in the right direction to walk into town, and then headed off for the radio studios.

The streets were virtually empty and the city felt like a ghost town. Someone told me that everyone heads for the ski slopes each weekend in winter, leaving the city in the hands of the old, the infirm, and the travellers who don’t carry skis. I walked randomly, eventually finding my way to the foot of Castle Hill just as night was falling.

An icy path spiralled up the hill, and I walked slowly up. I stopped half way to look out over the snowy roofs, and could see the dark silhouette of distant mountains on the skyline.

By the time I got to the top it was dark. I headed into the castle, and bought a ticket to visit the clock tower. A short climb up a narrow staircase led me out onto the roof, and I was the only person up there. I stayed for a while, feeling like I had the view, the castle and the city all to myself.


Train to Ljubljana

Train to Ljubljana

In the afternoon I got a train to Ljubljana. I shared a compartment with a Croat called Srečko, who was a journalist on his way to do an interview in Ljubljana. He said his German was better than his English, but my German wasn’t up to a conversation so we spoke in English. About half an hour out of Zagreb we arrived at the Slovenian border, and Srečko said that even now, eleven years after independence, he was still surprised by how close the border was to the capital.

For most of the journey to Ljubljana we were travelling down the valley of the Sava River. Out in the countryside there was thick snow, and the green river was hemmed in by steep forested mountains. It all looked pretty stunning, especially when new snow began to fall. Srečko said he often travelled this way, but never got bored of the scenery.