day 1 Ljubljana



from the castle tower
Originally uploaded by mikefranklin

I took a taxi to work, with my luggage, and endured several minutes of religious chatter on the radio. I left around 1pm to head to the airport to endure what I expected would be rather long lines.

Normally when I wait for a taxi near work, it takes a while – occupied taxis pass on my side of the road; unoccupied ones with preoccupied drivers pass on the other. But the moment I crossed the street, an empty taxi showed up and we were off to the airport.

There was no significant traffic, which I thought was odd, and the international terminal at Logan airport seemed nearly deserted when I got out. I was so early for my 5:40 flight that the Air France ticket agents had not yet arrived, so I stood — third in line — for about 15 minutes.

I had managed to reserve an aisle seat in row 50 of the 747, so I inquired about a more forward aisle. The agent asked if I wanted one in an exit row, aisle 14, which was much, much much better. It looked to be a good start to the trip.

There was no line at security, and so at 2pm, I settled in for a long wait, at a chair near an outlet, pulled out my macbook pro, and realized I’d forgotten the power cord. Uh oh. I called a couple of colleagues to see if they could verify I’d left it in the office, but it took four calls to find one who was still there.

I had left the cord in the office, and with three hours before my flight, I figured I had time to get it, and to endure the security lines returning to the gate. I left the airport, hopped into another cab, and went back to the office.

This cab driver managed to miss the direct route, and instead chose a longer route, where we had to wait in traffic. While other drivers have turned off the meter in similar cases, this one just mumbled, “I didn’t realized …” a few times, while the meter kept running.

Back to the airport, the fare was $36.45, and I left a tip of $0.55 for his stupidity, rather than the more common 15%. He didn’t seem pleased, but then that made two of us.

The security line was much longer this time — I had to wait behind 5 people, rather than zero. And now, I had two hours to wait, which I did online. Overall, it was pretty uneventful.

Turns out that row 14 was right next to the door, and I had about 2m of legroom. It was, overall, a rather dull flight (which was good). Hordes of people sitting behind me, and it seemed that there were different flight attendants passing through every few minutes.

Charles de Gaulle was rather quiet at 6am, and I took a bus from one terminal to another terminal, for my flight to Ljubljana. Then it was a bus out to a regional jet, where the “A” seat was both a window and and aisle, since it was a 1+2 configuration.

I had a moment of panic when my camera bag didn’t fit in the overhead compartment, but removing the umbrella and a jacket allowed me to shove it it with only minimal bulging of the compartment. It was another (thankfully dull) flight, with another bus ride to the terminal, and then a quick stop at passport control to answer the inevitable question, “how long are you staying?”, and it was off to find transport into town.

There was a small minivan – €5 to the rail station, €9 to any address in town, so I chose that over a proper bus + taxi. Two younger Slovenians got in as well, one with a Harvard backpack. I’d seen them on the flight, and had noticed a friend of theirs had a Harvard scarf, so I asked if they attended Harvard (though Slovenia seemed a far way to travel for just Thanksgiving).

They chuckled, and said that no, they went to school in Ljubljana, but had participated in a genetic engineering contest at MIT, then had traveled around the east coast a bit. Perhaps not surprisingly, the father of one of them was Czech, and came from a town about 15km from where one of my colleagues grew up, Ostrava.

I arrived at the one-room B & B about 1.5 hours early – I was to meet the daughter of the owner at 12:00 precisely, since she was a busy university student. I wandered around for a bit, with my luggage, looking for a SIM for my iPhone, but had no luck finding out, though I did get directions to where I might find one – over the triple bridge, and up the middle street – but I decided to save that for later.

I had lunch at a simple little place – friend turkey with mashed potatoes for a thanksgiving-esque flavor, and then wandered back to the B & B entrance. 12 came and went, with no sign of the busy uni student. At 12:20 I wandered over to the cobbler next door, explained the situation, and as I was asking about borrowing a phone, he just walked out, buzzed the buzzer, and moments later, the door opened.

*sighs* why do I sometimes miss the obvious path? The husband – I guess – was home, and let me in. I went back to the cobbler to retrieve my luggage (he’d thoughtfully brought it into his shop), and surprisingly ran into my flickr friend Tine (TEE-neh, both vowels of short duration), and a friend of his, who had come by to make sure he knew where we were meeting later.

The room was small, but warm, and had wired internet. Did I have a cable? of course! Who travels without an ethernet cable? The “breakfast” part turned out to be a tiny kitchenette in a closet – cereal, orange juice and powdered coffee. After a brief nap, I went out again to meet Tine.

We walked up to the castle behind the B & B, I knocked over a postcard holder, then we ascended to the top of the tower for a nice view of the city. It looked large … but the population is only about 200,000 or so (just under 2 million in all of Slovenia). We wandered around a bit more, and I found the SIMobile shop and bought a SIM. The clerk was quite helpful, and even the other one had some useful advice. As we left, Tine chuckled and said that I seemed to make friends everywhere. Indeed, I do try…

We had dinner at a “traditional” restaurant with an odd waiter (though only if you understood slovenian), and parted company. Turns out the SIM didn’t work immediately in my hacked iPhone (as expected), but I apparently needed to do more work (which wasn’t expected). argh. I decided to wait until the morrow, and then I promptly went to sleep.

About time for lunch now, then off to wander. With any luck, Danny and Eva will be arriving around 9:30 tonight, and the wedding party (there are perhaps 30-40 people total), are meeting at the triple bridge around 10pm. Specifics of the wedding day (tomorrow) are still a bit vague, but hopefully I’ll find out more tonight.

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This entry was posted in ljubljana, slovenia, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to day 1 Ljubljana

  1. Karl Otto Henriksen says:

    And why don’t i travel as much as you? ahh…. Remind me to travel a bit more. 🙂 Have a nice trip Mike. We’ll chat later 😉

  2. James Murdoch says:

    2m leg room, use it all?!

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