Where the heck am I?

Trip Start Aug 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 29, 2010

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Again, I woke up prior to my wake-up call at 6:15 and decided to take advantage of the early start to packing up my suitcases, something I had not done the night before. After completing my task, I headed downstairs to eat another fine breakfast.

We got on the road by 8am, and said goodbye to the beautiful city of Vienna.  As we drove through the Austrian countryside, I saw some similarities to Oregon.  There was farmland, but it appeared in cleared off hillsides.  We drove through the Alps, which must look amazing when there is snow on the ground in the winter.

Our lunch time stop was in a restaurant with a deck like patio that had an incredible view overlooking Lake Worth.  The water was aqua marine in color far below.  The sticker price was the only downer when we sat to eat, as I spent 18.5 euros for lunch.  That is more than I have spent on any meal so far on my trip.  I ordered a Cordon Bleu and apple strudel.

After a 40 minute rushed meal, where I didn't even get to finish what I paid for, we got back on the road where we went through the Karawanken Tunnel, which is 7 meters in distance.  Our next stop was Lake Bled, which is a resort area just across the border in Slovenia.  We had nearly an hour to explore the area, and I spent the time walking nearly half the way around the beautiful lake.  On one side there sits a large castle that appears on a cliff high above peering down on its visitors.  In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with a church.  It is one of the most beautiful natural settings I have been at.

We arrived in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia at about 4:30.  This city is home to just over 200,000 people.  Our bus dropped us off near the city center, and because of a messed up construction site, it almost marked the end of one of our dear group members.  We had just gotten off the bus, when we had to walk between the other Cosmos bus and an antsy construction workers truck waiting to pull out of a driveway.  As Rama and several other group members walked between the two vehicles, the driver who must have thought he had put his vehicle in reverse to give our group room to walk past, had to slam on his breaks as the truck he was driving suddenly jumped forward instead.  I guess he had not shifted into reverse like he had thought.  It knocked Rama upward and nearly slammed into the side of the bus, allowing less than one foot in between.  Rama jumped up cursing the driver, and our tour director was also yelling obscenities.  The driver showed little remorse, and it made some of us wonder if his intention was really not to scare our group rather than being a mistake.  Regardless, I will definitely be paying much more careful attention to the drivers from now on.

With the group, we all decided to take the funicular railway up the side of the hill and check out the Ljubljana Castle that overlooked the city.  This castle was a 13th century dwelling for the dukes of Spanheim.  One interesting tidbit is that there is a small chapel in the castle that was built in the 15th century.  On the wall is a painting of the castles patron, Saint George, who is slaying a dragon.  Today there is a dragon on the city’s coat of arms and flag, and there is a dragon bridge in the town.

We returned to the bus, and arrived at our hotel room at 6:15.  I was relieved to find internet access located in our room, and spent the next hour updating my blog and checking my facebook.  The hotel was the best one by far we have stayed at.  My room was immense.  It had a living room, large bedroom, and two bathrooms.  I have to tell you about my experience when I first arrived in my room.  I had a strong desire to use the toilet when I arrived, and had gone into the bathroom to relieve myself.  I located what I thought was the toilet, and had just settled down on the narrow side of the porcelain contraption.  However, while inspecting the nearby walls, I was unable to find toilet paper, and was a little perplexed to why there was not a seat to sit on.  Before I had commenced the deed and had gone beyond the point of no return, I quickly got up from the small white throne.  I then noticed that it did not have a place to flush, and not only that, it had a faucet.  I thought, maybe this was a bidet, but not ever really ever having one in any hotel I had stayed at, was not really sure.  It looked like a small urinal for a midget, drinking fountain, or place to clean your feet.  Regardless of what it was, I was most relieved that I had been able to stop myself from using it.  I would have felt very bad had I not, and then had to try to explain what the stains along the sides of the bowl were.

The hotel provided a 3 course meal for us.  We had a salad and bread, followed by mixed vegetables, potatoes and pork.  The dessert was a vanilla pudding of some sort with caramel overlaid.   I wasn’t particularly impressed with the proportions or content of the meal, but this didn’t make me any less enthralled with the hotel.

After walking down the street to purchase a couple of bottles of ice tea for the following days drive to Venice, I returned to my hotel room and typed out my blog for the day.  I had hoped to be able to take my dirty clothes to a Laundromat, but the desk informed me that there was only one such business in the entire town.  Not only that, but it was on the opposite end of Ljubljana, and it closed at 8pm.  As a result, I decided to wash some of my soiled underwear in the sink.  There was a white rack in the bathroom, that I assumed you could hang them to dry.  Unfortunately, I found out by calling the front desk, that these are only turned on for use in the winter months.  I hoped that the underwear would be dry enough to put in my suitcase in the morning.

I added the days blog to the computer, since I wasn’t sure how long it would be before I would find internet again on the trip.  I called it a night shortly before midnight, since I knew we were going to have a busy day driving to Venice, Italy tomorrow morning.
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gretchen on

where the heck are you? Is everything okay? Or have you just not had the internet? Hopefully that's all it is, and you and/or your computer are both okay. Looking forward for the remaining entries.

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