June 14, 2010

Last week the annual meeting of geographers from Slovenia’s three universities (Ljubljana, Maribor and Primorska) was held in Koper.  In the morning, there was a seemingly lively discussion (it was in Slovene) of geographic concepts like space, place, region and landscape in the context of Slovenia.  In the afternoon, we visited a vineyard in Korte – in the hills above Izola – where the owner gave us a tour (also in Slovene).  Occasionally I catch a word I know, like trta (vine), belo (white), rdeč (red) and hiša vino (house wine).  There was a selection of malvazija, refošk, cabernet sauvignon and rumeni muskat wines for tasting along with a dish “on the spoon” (i.e. soup), kruh (bread), sir (cheese), salama (salami) and olives.  Clearly I learned the important words first.

Kortenica Vineyard

Kortenica cellar

Over the weekend, I decided to visit Izola with my borrowed skates.  The town isn’t far – a couple kilometers or so from Koper – and connected by the old coastal railroad turned seaside promenade/multi-use path.  I had been through the town many times but had never stopped to walk around.  I had to get going early (although I have no intention of clarifying my definition of early) because it is getting quite hot now.  Who would have thought I’d be saying that?  Of course, my parents are coming to the continent this week – and the temperature is supposed to drop 10°F and it’s supposed to rain every day.  Thanks a lot guys.

Izola Marina

For those who don’t know – which would probably be me if I wasn’t here – the 2010 FIFA World Cup has started.  Apparently football is not quite as big here as it is in other countries – but it’s still big.  I consider it a sort of cultural experience.  I watched the first match on a big screen in the Slovenian version of a biergarten in the middle of Titov Trg, which was pretty cool, and I watched the U.S.-England tie over čevapčiči with an international group consisting of another American, a couple of Hungarians and a Dane.  Slovenia won their first match over Algeria, and the U.S. is up next for them later this week, which would be fun, but I will be in Italy for that.

The World Cup - against the backdrop of the Pretorian Palace

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