Wednesday, March 24, 2010

too bad nobody from Slovenia is reading this...

... because I am having the damndest time finding a hotel in Ljubljana.


Nan said...

Vacancy? Price range? Location? Mode of travel? Not that I've been there is years but do have a basic clue about the city.

PaxetBonum said...

And too bad you can't write in Serbo-Croatian, because I don't think English is much spoken in the "former Yugoslavia". I went thru Ljubljana briefly back in the '80s, nice town. Back then, the Yugoslav govt was a fairly mild form of Communist police state, but there was no doubt you had stepped thru the looking glass when you crossed the border at Trieste; the teenaged army border guards with the submachine guns who boarded the bus to check passports were very serious about their jobs. It's probably much nicer now that the grim-faced Communists have left the building.

You might want to take a Serbo-Croatian phrase book, it will facilitate your interactions w/ the locals, they will be charmed at any tourist's attempt to use their language.

Remember to smile a lot at all uniformed officials carrying weapons, just good policy. P&B.

nazareth priest said...

Better be careful here.
Just a thought...Slovenia might be a rather difficult place for an American.
I have no expertise here; just a "gut feeling". Correct me, anyone, if I'm wrong.

steve said...

P&B--things are much different. Four year ago--no uniformed officials, no machine guns--unlike Rome's Termimi Station. Slovenia made it through the Yugoslavia break up quite nicely and Tito left the beautiful churches alone. Slovene is similar to Serbo-Croatian, must most people ignore your attempts to speak it and talk to you in English.

Nazareth Priest--Slovenia is the European country that I've felt the safest in. The people are very friendly and surprised to see an American who wasn't doing a brief run-through on their way to Croatia.

Nan said...

Um, Pax, having been to Yugoslavia three times before they broke up, I can tell you that many people, especially in Ljubljana, speak English; furthermore, there were four official languages in the country, including Slovenian, the native language of Slovenia, go figure. It is not for nothing there's a monolith recognizing Napoleon for allowing his Illyrian province to educate its children in their native language. Re: Serbo-Croatian, Serbian and Croatian are actually two languages, separated by their alphabets.

With regard to border guards, I don't recall having seen any with submachine guns on any of my border crossings, though I did see people taken away at the border, for whatever reason.

NP, I'm not sure what sorts of difficulty you're thinking of, but my biggest difficulty was the lack of diet coke in the country, the fact that tortes which appeared to be made of chocolate were actually laced with cheap, crap rum, the isolation I felt due to a perception that I was interchangable with Teddy Ruxpin as people wanted to speak with "the American girl" rather than becoming friends with people who didn't have an agenda.

Otherwise? Lots of administrative hoops to jump through, including a seemingly never-ending array of ID. My foreign passport entitled me to a foreign-currency bank account.

nazareth priest said...

Nan: You are the expert. I was just being "paternalistic"...don't trust the "former Soviet bloc"...sorry.
Just being over protective:<)!

nazareth priest said...

And Steve: Thanks for that info.
I'll keep it in mind, if I ever, God willing, get to Slovenia.
Like I said...just being an over-protective "pater":<)!

Nan said...

NP, but Yugoslavia was always straddling the fence between Soviet bloc and the capitalistic west; always more open, even in 1966 it was possible to go, rent a car and drive wherever you needed to go, with no problem. In the '70's there were tours with a company from Cleveland; sure, you needed a visa, but when I went in the 80's I was able to obtain it myself, it was nothing like present-day Russia, where you still must have a named Russian sponsor, though all arrangements may be made through someone here. They also want passports that are at least 6 mos. old upon arrival; thanks be to God that I applied during a lull in the passport world so my visa application will meet their needs.

I'm going to Russia for two weeks in the fall with my iconography teacher, partly because I'm attempting the New Testament Trinity and she's going to Tretyakov Gallery, where the real one lives. I hope to bring books of prototypes back.

Terry Nelson said...

There are vampires there. Nan knows.

PaxetBonum said...

I stand corrected, but glad my post elicited much more current and knowledgeable commentary from Nan & Steve.

In fact, I spent only a couple of hours in Ljubljana, going to and from the '84 Winter Olympic games in Sarajevo. Also stopped in Banja Luka and a couple other little towns along the way. All very nice places, with great people who were truly thrilled to see so many foreign tourists. No one particularly appreciated my attempts to communicate in Serbo-Croatian, but in those days virtually none of the Yugoslavs I came in contact with spoke any English... which didn't surprise me, since the language situation was much the same where I lived in Italy, most Italians (who didn't work directly with Americans on base) didn't speak English... that's why I learned Italian...

I think our tour bus may have gotten special attention from their border guards since we were mainly Americans coming from the NATO air base at Aviano. Probably thought it was a whole busload of capitalist spies.

Good info for Kat & companion. Still, always a good idea to be especially polite to cops & commissars... ;>)


nazareth priest said...

Nan: What a great trip you are going on...that sounds wonderful.
Hope to hear about it when you return!

Nan said...

Pax, you're triggering my soapbox response. People were not Yugoslav. Ever. People in Slovenia, particularly wouldn't have been impressed with Serbo as it was not their native language.

NP, I'd be happy to share info with you, and even bore you with the billions of photos I plan to take.

Crescat, a Slovene phrase book would be better than one in Serbo.

Dominic Mary said...

Slovenes are basically friendly and helpful; although the bureaucracy can be horrendous, especially anything to do with money.
However, even in 1965 when I first went, there were plenty of people who spoke at least some English; so with that and a phrase book, you should get by.
Have fun.
PS : I had a Slovene visit my blog the other day - should I put up a post asking him to contact you ? :-)

Hermannn said...

As an Austrian, I feel entitled to add my 2-Cents-worth: Popular opinion has it that, in former Yugoslavia, there was a sort of un-official division of labour: The Slovenes were the bright guys, they had the ideas; the Croats were the workers, they realized those ideas and got the results; and the Serbs gave the orders.

As long as you are not an Austrian or try to speak German, you should get along o.k. in Slovenia.