PIRAN, Slovenia – It’s all in the timing.
I had a great tour of this lovely town on the Istrian peninsula today. It's much like a non-crowded Dubrovnik or Split, I'm told, but with Italian coffee, good pizza and gelato.
Anyway, I was snapping pictures (isn't digital photography wonderful?) at the top of the church tower that dominates the town when I figured, "Okay, 437 pictures is enough." Sure as you know what, I got halfway down and suddenly the bells started pealing to announce the noon hour. Of course, if I'd stayed up a minute longer I'd have great shots of about a half dozen teenage girls screaming and yelling from the noise of 12 enormous bells that were hanging two feet from their heads.
On the other hand, I got a break at dinner. It was only so-so, and I was feeling a little tired so I left the little seaside cafe and wandered out to the point, or punta, to see the sun go down. Just as I got there, I spotted a guy in yellow pants sitting on the rocks, with his girlfriend, also in yellow, sitting in front of him. They were caressing one another and dreaming and watching the sun get ready to do its finale so I snuck up behind them and started taking some pictures. A couple came out pretty well for an amateur with a $450 camera.
PIVO, NOT PINOT
I probably haven't made many fans in the Slovenian wine industry with my comments about their viniculture. I had some stuff today that was really, really bad. But I had some lovely Cabernet the other night and some decent Merlot. It's not cheap, but they do make some pretty good wines over here.
The beer (which they call pivo) on the other hand, is cheap. And quite good. I've had a couple Union beers (it's pronounced Oon-yun) and tonight had a Lasko, which seems a little more full-bodied but still within the lightish-lager neighborhood I tend to inhabit. Quite tasty, both of them.HEY, LADY - KNOCK IT OFF!
Forgot to mention that during our walk in the Skocjan caves the other day we had to walk along a narrow ledge (with a very well-built fence next to us, mind you, but still). It had to be several hundred feet down to a river that runs through the bottom of the cave. I don’t like heights, so I just kept my head down most of the time, focussing on the path ahead of me and not looking over the edge.
We got to a large, wooden bridge over a huge chasm and I started to get the willies. It was fine, probably because I didn’t look down, but about halfway across some woman started jumping up and down to show her husband/boyfriend how strong the bridge was. Now THAT I could’ve done without.
MOVE OVER, LOU GEHRIG
So, I'm about ready to come home. I had a couple days in Zurich and several more days bombing around Slovenia in a rental car; eating great food and staying in (mostly) great hotels and seeing some spectacular scenery and meeting wonderul Slovenian people.
So I'll close by paraphrasing the Great Lou Gehrig and his famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. With apologies to The Iron Horse, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.