Venice and Ljuljubiana
24 May 2000

greetings from ljubljiana where we just recently arrived from far eastern italy!

i must say that i have to take back some of what i said some moths ago about italy. not all of italy is always like what we experienced last winter. i still think most of it is, but i do feel a little bad about the completely sweeping generalizations i made, only a little bad though.

this time we stayed in padova. padova is actually a pretty nice place. it is a university town. people actually ride bicyles there! there were actually pedestrian areas. (i think thsse are illegal in most other parts of italy.) it was a good place to wander the old, medieval streets. so we did. we wandered one early evening just at the end of a heavy rain storm as the rainbow was still blaring in sky. it was good. it gave us a nice relaxing reintroduciont to italy.

despite all the negative things we think about italy, we felt a certain comfort when we arrived due to the familiarity. however, i remained a pretty ugly american tourist for the two days we were there, not trying to speak any italian, because we were only there for two days. i didn't want to confuse my already tired brain too much. i figuesd, keeping the little bit of german in my head would be more useful in eastern europe.

we spent two nights in padova, but we spent the day in between in venice. we felt like we had to see venice and we needed a bread in the long train ride to ljubljana. so we went. it was sickeningly touristy. it was impossible to get away from. it was an interesting place otherwise though.

we wandered the old city toward san marco cathedral. we tried to get lost in the tight, winding, often dead ending streets, but every other corner had a sighn pointing people to s. marco. oh well. we got a good feel for the place in any case. i liked all the little canals running through the city. the grand canal was almost like a water highway but more slow moving.

it wasn't as dirly ans smelly as i expected it to be. we didn't even get any mosquito bites. i guess we were too early in the season. i cannot imagine what the place must be like in the peak tourist season. i alsmost got claustrophobic in the crowds that were there is may! i think it would be hell, literally.

after we got to the palace and the cathedral we started taking the bus-ferries. we went to a bunch of islands, only getting of on one. it took about 3 hours. we ended with a trip up the grand cnnal at sunset. i think all the tourists were in there nice, expensive hotels by then because the boat was almost empty!

our trip to padova (only a half hour ride away) took about 3 hours that night. luckily we made a friend at the station so we had amusement. our new friend is a young man from romania who is now living in italy. it was very interesting. we were very happy for the distrations from stressing out about the long train mess.

the next day we left italy again with very little trouble. we took the train to trieste and then into slovenia. slovenia is a beautiful country and the people here tend to be very friendly. it is an interesting mix of slavic, italian, and austrian. the landscape is a physical embodiment of this with the adriatic coastline in the sourth and the alpine peaks the north.

we are enjoying our timne here a great deal. it took all day yesterday to get into the swing of things here, but i am more relaxed now and much less hungry than when we were trying to figure it out last night! initially it seemed the most wentern of all the eastern european countried we have visited, but on futher inspection it is still quite different from the west. this was actually kind of nice to discover. it makes it a more unique place. unfortunately we plan to move on tomorrow. we always need more time!

we will head to the beach in the next couple of days, enjoying the dalmation coast. it should be great fun!

© Copyright Cheryln Crowl 2000