Posted by: bkropf | March 26, 2008

Cockta Classic

Riding on the train from Vienna to Ljubljana was much more pleasant with Tyler.  It was also interesting because a lady next to us had this tiny keyboard with earphones and kept rocking out with it.  I really didn’t understand what she was doing but she was nice and quiet so I liked her.

Reading Rick Steve’s book about Yugoslavia on the way to Slovenia really shook me up.  The history, as late as the 1990’s, was absolutely crazy.  There were tons of ethnic cleansing, quasi concentration and rape camps, and families fighting families.  For the most part all these people have descended from the same people, the only differences seem to be their religious backgrounds and grudges from whom did what to who.  I know this is a huge oversimplification of the situation but it was really sad to read alot of the things that went on here.  Makes me want to keep my mouth shut when it comes to talking to people about the past in case I say something that brings up bad memories.

I’m going to be honest, while getting off the train in Ljubljana, with the crazy snow, the communist looking buildings, and the deserted streets, I had to think to myself, “I have made a horrible mistake!”  That is were the pity party ended and things started getting so much better.  We stopped by the information office and the guy knew flawless English and was extremely helpful.  We started walking off to our hostel and we ended up walking past.  The owner ran out, flagged us down and saved some of our time.  This hostel is amazing, probably one of the best I have been in.  The people are really nice, the beds are comfortable, internet is free and easy to use and it is in a really nice part of town.

After settling in to our room we went walking in what had turned into rain.  We were trying to find this ‘Mexican’ pub thingy to have dinner.  This is when we realized what a cool city this is.  Walking along the canal we saw all the amazing buildings lit up, the castle on the hill was bathed in blue and large willow looking trees were budding, casting cool shadows across the plazas.

Romeos Cafe was as good as I though Mexican food in Slovenia would be.  I think that is about all I have to say about that.

We went to bed pretty early our first night here and as normal I take out my contacts and brush my teeth and hop into bed while Tyler does his nightly routine which normal takes a number of minutes longer than me.  I was laying there about asleep when Tyler gets in bed and subsequently yells at me to stop moaning.  I was really confused in my sleepy stupor and when I gathered my wits I realized the moaner was a guy from Singapore the next bed over.  I informed Tyler I had no reason to be moaning.  I guess the moral here is…if you are going to yell at someone for moaning, get the correct guy.  (I have no idea why the guy was moaning, maybe it is a nightly ritual he has back in Singapore)

The next morning we were up early and walking around in the relative sun.  We went to some markets, Tyler bought a belt and I had some greasy national food.  Then we hiked up this huge mountain to the castle on the hill.  We decided to take the 3D tour of the town which was pretty funny.  We also hiked up the tall clock tower and had amazing views of the whole city.  I think we took about 1 million pictures and I didn’t look good in one of them.  I really don’t know what happened, I guess it wasn’t my day.  I also sat in a bunch of water so my butt was really soaking too.  Not a fun experience!

We grabbed some coffee and the really nice barista talked to us along time about things we hadn’t a clue.  I kept nodding.  She was trying to explain how to get to some store but we didn’t even want to get to the store.  It was a really nice gesture though. 

On the way back to the hostel we bought some strawberries and tomatoes.  I had some nutella left over from Krakow so I heated it up in the microwave and started dipping the strawberries in it.  It was heavenly.  The tomatoes were amazing too, but I think that is mainly because my body was starved for some veggies.

We walked around some more and eventually met up with a couch surfing girl and went to a tea house.  It was surprising how we ended up talking at the tea house for about 4 hours.  The tea was good and so were the convos.  Her name was Danaja and she was probably the most cultured person I know.  I am a firm believer she knew more about pop culture than most Americans.  She quickly bated us into a political discussion that went horribly and we tried to quikly get back out of the political topic.  It was really nice to talk to a native Slovenian and get her perspective on things.  I guess she views Americans as having bad schools, bad fashion and generally kind of apathetic.  With that said though, she really like America and hoped to move there some day.  I guess alot of things she said didn’t seem to really be cohesive but I didn’t want to debate, it is always more interesting to listen and hear what peoples opinions are even though I don’t always agree.  She really didn’t like Albanians or Macedonians at all and really scared me about our travels through that region. 

So one of the big things to eat here is Horse Burgers.  Who would have guessed? I normally like to try new things but I think I will pass on this fad, unless they slip some horse into my Kabab. 

Also, when the country was Communist, it was hard to get Western brands such as Coke.  The East came up with a copy though called Cockta.  It is made with lemon, orange, and 11 herbs.  I bought some and boy do the herbs make it a unique experience.  I still haven’t finished it.

I don’t know how long a normal laundry cycle is in the US (maybe 30-60 minutes if I had to guess) but I think it is about 6 hours in Slovenia.  There is a washing machine in our room and it never turns off.  It just sits there going all day every day.  I really am confused by it.

Little did I know that when I stole the book, Master and Margarita from Poland that I had stumbled onto a Eastern European classic.  I had never heard of it, but it seems as though every where I turn these days someone is talking about it, has read it, or knows all about it.   It is really good though, I am half way through it.  I tried to explain what is happening to Tyler but it is so weird I don’t think it is really describable.

As I am typing The Final Countdown music video came on and made my day.  Yeah for the 80’s and Arrested Development.  I don’t know if this is a European song but I hear it all the time, “Take it Easy.”  I really kindof like it.



  1. Good to read a new message, and that things are going OK…with your weird dreams going on, it’s logical Tyler would think it was YOU moaning!
    Horse burgers….oh NO! You are having amazing experiences! Love, Mom

  2. Try the horse burgers man, CMON don’t be a wimp. it’s just meat. your gonna really miss out on a once in a lifetime experience.

  3. Good reading Barney! Did you find an outfit for Aleah yet? Hee hee!

  4. Quit ignoring the baristas and eat a horse!

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