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Occasional Dairy - Slovenia

Sunday, 23rd October 2005, Novo Mesto, Slovenia
Set Books Free!
Ages ago I remember hearing about It's a great concept - someone basically came up with the idea of leaving several thousand books lying around the world for people to find. The finders read them and when finished leave them for someone else to find. Here's how the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines it:

bookcrossing n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

Our current Hospitality Club host caught us browsing his bookshelf and has given us 2 books to be read and then released into the wild. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts and Ghost Riders by Richard Grant. It's great to have something to read in English again!

Just found out from ( that the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi wants to exempt the Vatican from a I.C.I tax (a municipality tax on buildings that provides 35% of the municipality's income). To do this he needs to change the law. Is this a last desperate attempt to gain some votes? Umm - makes one wonder. Apart from the Catholic Church probably being one of the richest bodies on earth - and the fact that it already receives 3 billion per annum from the Italian public - isn't this rather unfair on all the other religious bodies in Italy which won't be included in this tax exception? According to the LP the country is 84% Roman Catholic, 6% Jewish, Muslim and Protestant. Isn't there enough religious discrimination in this world already?

Wednesday, 14th September 2005, Lipsenj, Slovenia
Notes du vin en françaisVELOMAD EN FRANÇAISE! Notes du vin en français
OUI! Richard has started the French part of the website. For the French speakers amongst you you can see it here.

Tuesday, 13th September 2005, Lipsenj, Slovenia
Visit to Škocjanske Caves.
OK yesterday was incredible but seriously there is a reason why the Škocjanske Caves are an UNESCO world heritage site. Again they were amazingly kind and gave us the entrance tickets for free. Do we feel like the luckiest people on the planet at the moment - yes we certainly do. You'll also see a photo of us on their website if you check it - can you imagine how wonderful these people are are - not only do they generously allow us to visit for free but they thank us for visiting. Do not miss the opportunity to visit these caves if you are in Slovenia.

Monday, 12th September 2005, Lipsenj, Slovenia
Visit to Postonja Caves.
We had a lot of people telling us to visit the Postonja Caves in Slovenia, we also had just as many warning us not to go - it was expensive, it was full of tourists, the train was tacky.
Well we are tourists and we decided to go and find out for ourselves. It is truly an incredible experience and despite the fact it is stuffed full of tourists once you enter you understand why. But we have to say a huge thank you as we nearly had heart failure when we saw the entrance price - it would have been almost 3 days our daily allowance. We explained our predicament to the lovely lady at the cashier desk and she bowled us over by giving us 2 free entrance tickets.

Sunday, 11th September 2005, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Article published in NeDelo.
We had a great article published today in the NeDelo newspaper that you can see here (In Slovenian of course for all 2 million of you!).

Friday, 9th September 2005, Ljubljana, Slovenia
School Presentation.
This morning at the request of the Institut Français, we did a small presentation at the École Française in Ljubljana. Well we should say Richard did as it was in French - Stani just occasionally held up a map or flag! We were expecting only young children of about 5 or 6 years old but we seemed to have a full range of ages. We certainly seemed to cause a disruption when we arrived with the bikes, the children without the slightest indication of shyness made a big circle around us and piled us with questions. In the classroom CLICK TWICE TO ENLARGERichard was only a few minutes into his talk when their arms started shooting up in order to get their questions in. What was interesting was the actual questions themselves. Apart from the normal questions about our bikes, flags, how much everything cost etc, several questions such as "Had we travelled through countries which were at war or in conflict?", "Which were the most dangerous countries", "What did we do in dangerous situations?".

Thursday, 8th September 2005, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Cycling in paradise.
Slovenia may be one of the most wonderful countries we've cycled in yet. The countryside is spectacular and almost more importantly - CLEAN! There's very little litter around and we even see people in towns putting their cigarette butts in the bin. What a pleasant change. We highly recommend any cyclists reading this to come here cycling - you won't be disappointed.

Another positive thing we can say for the country is that the people are very friendly and hospitable - we've stayed with a few people and they have all been lovely and really gone out of their way to help us so thank you to any Slovenian's reading this!

This morning we had an interview with the Delo newspaper - they are supposed to be publishing the article this Sunday.

Plans for the next few days are to head South to Cerknica to see the disappearing lake, the Postojna caves, the Škocjanske caves, then into Croatia. We were going to go down the coast but several cyclists have now recommended doing the islands rather than the coastal road.

Thursday, 1st September 2005, Škofja Loka, Slovenia
Chasing after Panasonic.
We're not sure how much longer we will be able to maintain this website. Our LCD screen has cracked on our laptop and the fluid is leaking out - every day it gets a little worse. We are staying with our new friends Greg and Vili, they have been considerable effort in telephoning every company they can think of (including Panasonic in Slovenia) but to no avail. Panasonic in the USA is not responding to any of our emails - not even the sales department so we don't hold much high regard for their customer services at the moment. We'll like to mention that this laptop is one of their ToughBook series - meant to withstand rain, heat, cold, being dropped etc. We're seriously disappointed. Anyone who may know someone at Panasonic who might be able to help - we'd love to hear from you! You can contact us here.


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