May 14, 2010

I went to Ljubljana to meet up with Lisa and her family for a drive out to eastern Slovenia.  (She has “the Fulbright car” that has been rented to successive generations of Fulbrighters.)  We visited Maribor’s old town, which includes Stara Trta (Old Vine) – a 400 year old grapevine that is supposedly the oldest living, producing grapevine in the world – as well as Ptuj, which is the oldest continuously settled site in the country (some 2,000 years).  Also, in Ljubljana we attended a book reading/literary discussion with American author Jonathon Franzen as part of Ljubljana’s year-long “World Book Capital” celebration.  (Ljubljana is the 10th World Book Capital – a UNESCO title that has previously been held by world cities like Madrid, Montreal, Beirut and New Delhi.)  On the way home, we stopped at a rock concert in the middle of Prešernov Trg.

Stara Trta, Maribor

Ptuj from Ptujski Grad

Concert in Prešernov Trg

I also made a quick trip into Italy to visit Verona.  It rained.  I still did the sightseeing, including some of the culturally constructed sites like Casa Capuleti and Tomba di Giulietta as well as the historic sites like Teatro Romano and Museo Archeoligico.  They confiscated my umbrella at the entrance to Castelvecchio.  Somehow it’s far less fun to walk the walls of a castle when you’re getting soaking wet.  While in Verona, I ate dinner in a restaurant – sitting down no less – that had absolutely no other customers.  Maybe it’s best I stick to standing?

On Torre dei Lamberti. It was still jacket weather, but I had taken it off here because of the 368 steps I'd just climbed.

Giulietta

Castelvecchio. In the rain.

The Castelvecchio walls. In the rain.

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