Light My Fire

07/31/2007

Etna Tree on Fire

Love of photography seems to run in our family. Here is a photo my “Aunt Vida” took of a burning tree during one of Etna’s moments of mischief. Vida has lived in Catania for the past 60+ years. More from her coming soon.

All Strings Attached

07/30/2007

Ljubljana hosts a two-month summer festival every year, filled with events that satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences.

After two disappointing performances, a musicle and an opera that flat out let me down, I was thrilled with tonight’s concert by the European String Orchestra.

Please excuse the sound quality, this is to serve just as a tiny memento.

The musicians lead by conductor Pieralberto Cattaneo used the wonderful setting of a chamber in the Ljubljana castle and its acoustics to produce a soul-pleasing experience. I’m sure each of them could easily have performed as solists, but special mention must go to the one who did so – the solist on the trumpet, Vicente Campos. The clarity and precision of sound was moving.

Bravo!

Two more not-very-good sound files: trumpet and violine

My Eyes are Down Here

07/29/2007

Eyes

Hey, buddy, my eyes are down here!

r-e-s-p-e-c-t

Yeah for Bureaucracy!

07/28/2007

Generally speaking, civil servants don’t enjoy the best rep to say the least. We don’t have to think hard to find one thing or another that irritates us. So it is with that much more pleasure that I found some things really are improving a lot.

I am thrilled with the new e-government service that allowed me to extend my car’s registration certificate online. I’ve been filing my tax return online for the past few years and now this new service has come in very handy as a major time-saver. I simply extended my insurance policy online at my chosen insurance company, and then ordered and paid for the new certificate of registration at the Slovene e-administration site.

The certificate arrived in a couple of days complete with an addressed, priority mail postage paid envelope to return the old certificate in.

Impressive.

24 Hours or Go to Hell

07/24/2007

Eyes on You
I C U

Inspired by another blogger’s account of his day, I wrote a recap of one of mine. This is Sunday, 22 July 2007. Not too dull a day. Can imagine what Adriaan’s comment will be. (Click the links to view photos.)

00h – Went out on the town. Met a group of old college mates celebrating a birthday, and ran into a couple of Brits-turned-nearly-Slovene, one of whom I’ve known for 9 years. Yikes, time flies! Almost claimed a mojito a certain sombody owes me, but the otherwise lovely Cutty Sark with enjoyable music had run out of spearmint. The improvized cocktail was Ok since the company was good 😉 With the birthday party girls, found a place to dance that wasn’t completely desolate and even had a lovely view of the city from the terrace. Belgrade native confirmed his home town being alcohol+party.

7h – Damn that bio clock that won’t sleep even on weekends! Off to Šmarna gora we go. Got a bit of sun and fresh air. This is where Ian would probably love to go (think flying). Took some photos of butterflies. And of a golden retriever (Hera) who wouldn’t let me take more butterfly pics unless she had some attention first.

10h – What does one do on a hot day? I had it from a reliable source that one goes to hell. Pekel (literally translated as “hell”) is a gorge near Borovnica south-west of Ljubljana. Rambling alert! I had never been to Borovnica before, which is not very nice since one of my grandmothers was born at its railway station. Don’t worry, this is not as dramatic as it seems. Her father was the railwayman in charge of the Borovnica station and they lived there. Literally. Just a few days ago, she was telling me how her father used to take her on rounds checking the arches of the famous Borovnica viaduct when she was three or four years old, before they moved. At the time the second largest railway viaduct in Europe was built in 1856 on the Südbahn or Southern Railway, the first railway line linking Vienna to Trieste and was considered one of the most imposing bridge structures the world had ever seen. It was destroyed by Allied air raid during the World War II. Today only one surviving pier shows where it once stood.

With a stream and a set of five waterfalls, the narrow and steep Pekel gorge protected by a mysterious, dark forest, provides the welcome freshness even on the hottest of summer days. I took more photos of butterflies, ants, insects I don’t yet know the name of and… a freshwater crayfish! This was so exciting! I had hurt my finger climbing (this is not a sprehod, P! ) up one of the metal ladders (think finger caught between metal and rock, not nice) and was chilling the pain in the water, had camera ready for a tiny butterfly and out from under the rock crawls this guy.

13h – Off to a village in Vipavska dolina to visit family. As this includes (my other) grandmother, pass on the recommended trout at Pekel this time around (where there is a grandmother, there is food… lots of food). Spent time with her sister from Sicily, a real character. We have lots in common. I will share a letter she’d been given over 60 years ago, called “Ticket to Heaven”. And a photo she took of a tree being destroyed by lava during one of Etna’s mischiefs.

17h – Knight Tournament at Predjama Castle. A colourful event with attention paid to detail in many respects. Reinactment of battles of days gone by along with the trades of that time represented by craftsmen selling everything from food to clay pots and fur. Observing the more or less elaborate yet undoubtedly effective tools and methods humans once used to kill one another left me slightly less than enthused, but the scenery and costumes were beautiful. And horses are always a nice sight.

21h – The latest Harry Potter came to town, ergo I took my cousin to see it. The book has been my traditional end-of-school-year gift to him and seeing the movie is a must. This one is LONG.

00h – Home sweet home. Thinking finger still hurts, but the photos of the crayfish were worth it :-)
And here is another favourite: Can you see the damselfly grin as he caught his lunch?

damselfly having lunch
damselfly’s happy meal

Carpe Diem

Hang in There

07/21/2007

Hang in There

Soldier says Peace!

07/19/2007

I heard a most interesting interview on the radio yesterday morning and it stuck on my mind. The guy being interviewed was Srečko Rože, collector and owner of the Military Museum Tabor in Lokev village in south-western Slovenia, near Lipica, the cradle of the White Horse of the Karst, Lipicanec. You may know some of them from their place of work abroad in the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Whoops, rambling in progress. Back to subject.

A miliraty museum is not something I would normally advertise, but I loved the way it was presented. This enthusiastic ex soldier, while fascinated by the items in the collection, says his goal is to exhibit the articles as a reminder of what humans are capable of doing to one another. With this premise in mind and listening to him go on and on about the project, I think I might drop by the museum and see all the uniforms and arms by myself as well. And try not to think too much about their purpose, but more about their message.

This quote does not entirely fit the subject, but I like it so here you go.

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
-Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

Drool with me

07/18/2007

No time to really write, so today, I’ll just post another photo. Being in the real estate business, I come across all types of properties, but the ones on our portfolio lately are so nice they make me go oooh and aaah. If you were a client, I’d be talking investment opportunity, appreciation, rental return. But actually, all I want is some sympathy :-) When I win the lottery, this will be my party place.

Photo I took with my Nikki:
Sunset in Ljubljana Penthouse

Penthouse Sunset

(click to enlarge)

Drool with me… :-)

I Spy With my Little Eye

07/17/2007

Just a pic I took while waiting for Mattie and Dilys at Prešernov trg, fiddling with the menues of my camera.

Peter Božič

edit 18 JUL 2007:
The photo is of Peter Božič. Some information may be found here.

Who Chirps There?

07/16/2007

Why if it isn’t Jack the Cricket of Komna!

Cricket on Komna
(click for larger image)

…and his cousin James.
(again, click to enlarge)

Cricket on Komna

Oh look, there is their friend Mickey the discreet insect inside the Turkish Lily!

Mickey the discreet insect inside the Turkish Lily

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