February 3, 2010

They told me to go relax.

Because the term hasn’t started yet, most people are understandably away on holiday.  And I think the grad students who are here don’t really know what to do with me.  It sounds good – to go relax – and apparently it’s very “Mediterranean” (from what I understand, something along the lines of Caribbean time – though hopefully not that bad!).  But it’s not exactly a suggestion that goes over particularly well with workaholics.  I’m rather unoriginal with my ideas of relaxation (see “workaholic”), and none of them are really feasible in my current situation (e.g. my massage therapist being some 5,600 miles away), so I decided to play tourist.  Despite the fact that I’m horribly off-season.

Tartinjev Trg - the main square in Piran

I hopped a bus more or less down the rest of the Slovenian coastline to Piran.  According to my Rough Guide, Piran is the first item on their top 20 must-see list – above the lakes, mountains, caves and castles.  Don’t get me wrong – as you can see, it’s a charming and colorful historic coastal city, and I did enjoy it.  But Lake Bled is going to have to crush my expectations for me to rank Piran higher.  I’m sure there is also something to be said for visiting the city in the actual season when things are in bloom, shops are open, and you can feel all of your extremities.  But, at the same time, how much of that gained atmosphere is lost again in the masses?  In my picture, the only person on the square is a little girl in a pink coat chasing pigeons.  (You can only just make it out in the lower right hand corner if you click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Part of Piran's maze of side streets

I made my way around the city – where fully one-third of the points of interest are historic churches – through the narrow, winding, climbing stone streets and steps that sometimes inexplicably ended at someone’s door, so it wouldn’t take a geographer to get lost.  I was never entirely sure if I was on a public thoroughfare (a term I am using loosely) or invading someone’s privacy.  Then I hiked up to the remnants of a 15th century wall above the town.  Unfortunately, by the time I finally got to the top, I found that I needed a 1 Euro coin to get through the turnstile to enter the complex.  I had a 2 Euro coin and some miscellaneous 10 and 2 Euro-cent coins in my wallet.  But no 1 Euro coin.  I tried to ask a passing man to make change.  I think he thought I was begging from the way he disgustedly brushed me off.  I don’t think I look like a beggar…?  And I would have given him the 2 for a 1, which I thought was fair enough, just so that I didn’t have to walk all the way back down.  Then back up.  And back down.

The old town wall from the Church of St George - which is only about half the climb from the square!

For Betty – who is encouraging my “experimental eating” – I bought a burek at a shop back off the main trg for the primary objective of getting a 1 Euro coin in change, and the secondary objective of lunch.  It is kind of a large, flat, flaky, somewhat greasy pastry stuffed with either meat, cheese or potatoes.  (I ate about half of it and stuck the other half in my bag (wrapped, of course) – which may not have been my best idea since it now smells like burek – and threw it in the “party pan” after I got home for dinner!).  So, in the end, I was able to walk the walls and climb the tower for a pretty good view over the city and surrounding countryside.

on the tower

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3 Responses to “”

  1. Amber Fisher said

    you look kind of cold. Is it cold?

  2. By Ohio or Texas standards? It’s winter, and not warm, but we’re not as cold as you.

  3. Nancy Shumaker said

    You do look cold–especially after Texas. You are going to be soooo healthy after all the hiking and climbing of stairs.

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