Ljubljana (day two)

I’m increasingly unhappy with my camera. I want my Elph back. Just wanted to get that out now.

Today we had no meetings at all, and instead spent the day driving around the country on a bus, sleeping at times and being thrilled by the landscape at others. First stop was the Lipizzaner, ah, compound? I’ve been trying to sort out what to call this place since I turned on the laptop and started this entry. They’re bred and trained there. Is it their home? I suppose so.

Isn’t he handsome? Every time I held up my camera, this guy turned and posed just so.

This stop would’ve made 12-year-old Kate swoon. I was one of those horse-crazy girls, and even went to see the Lipizzaners once at ISU in middle school. I had books about horses, and one in particular had a spread and these particular creatures. They really are beautiful, and their pedigrees are very old.

They start out black or dark brown, then shed into progressively lighter hues. One poor guy was running around the paddock looking calico, but I didn’t catch a photo. Here you can see just how dark they start.

When they’re old enough, they’re branded with an L on the left cheek. Several of us exchanged puzzled looks about this because it couldn’t possibly be the right word. Cec pointed out that there are two sets of cheeks on the body, so maybe it really was a usual brand. But no. Look at this guy.

Then they’re given a particular number about the middle of the left side.

I have no idea who that woman is, by the way.

Here they are again in the paddock. Those are all moms and newish foals. When they’re old enough, they head out to pasture, which I suppose is nicer than hanging around a place where the only thing to munch between meals is the chestnut flowers that had fallen down from a tree by the fence.

There’s a little girl inside me just screamingly happy looking at this silly photo.

Here are Davor and Cec engaged in furious discussion as usual. Last night at dinner every time I turned around I heard something more bizarre from them. Everything from Davor’s theory of the continuity of personal knowledge into universal knowledge upon death to Cec’s story about breaking down in North Carolina in college (then put up in a trailer by a very nice man).

I spent dinner thinking that I was surely not interesting, hadn’t read the paper enough, and why on earth don’t I have a more solid opinion of Gordon Brown? But I digress.

Cec and Mara examining the painted walls in an old church. Sorry for the blur, Mara – you’re just too fast.

Here’s a little fellow carved into the side of the aforementioned church. Date of the church is unknown. Sorry. Not unknown by me – unknown.

One of the horse nameplates.

Our guide said it’s a myth that horses only sleep standing up, and that American horses are forced to do it because we lock them up in stalls that are simply too small for them to sleep in. Aren’t we awful? This guy was snoring.

I made Peter pose for me.

Ok. Then we headed out for lunch. We went to a little town, name unknown (by me – I’m sure it has a name). Here’s the courtyard of the little restaurant. The food was terrific, but there was just so much. We started with a local beverage. It’s wine and something else. I can’t remember what, but I’m the owner of a horsehoe-shaped bottle of it now. It’s very sweet. The wine in this region contains extra iron because the soil does, and Cec suggested I go off those awful iron pills and take a glass of wine three times a day instead. Obviously this means the Pub team will learn to submit courses for review along about 4:30 every afternoon.

After that, prosciutto that was locally made (delicious), a soup of cabbage and beans (also delicious – and filling. Lunch could have ended at that point and I would have been perfectly happy.), salad, nice bread, gnocchi, and apple strudel (Peter scolded them for calling it strudel when it lacked the required layers of pastry to earn the name). Oh, and extremely strong coffee.

Here’s a view of the same from the walk we took after lunch.

Ah ha! There’s the name of the town.

Here’s a little cemetery. I love how decorated it is. It looks as if people actually visit and tend to it instead of forgetting all about the graves. It’s how it should be.

Then we went to a cave. The first half of it was fairly standard, but the second half had a river flowing through it and was absolutely beautiful. No photos allowed inside, so I just have a few of the walk we took back to the parking lot.

Don’t pick the flowers.

Here we are looking back at the exit of the cave (what would originally have been the entrance – it’s the place where the river heads underground). Those little specks there are people, though not Cec and Peter. Turns out they were way behind us and got scolded by the guide.


In summary: I love it here. I’m not going home.