And this, my friends, is photographic proof of my first ever foreign hospital visit.
Short story – there I was minding my own business when I took a drink of what I thought was water to quench my sunny-Italian-spring induced thirst. Turns out the bottle did not contain water so much as it contained turpentine. Somehow I managed a pretty good swallow of the caustic stuff and after a series of conflicting advice from random folks (drink some milk … no, drink some water … no, drink some soda … no, eat some yogurt … no, eat some bread … no, don’t drink or eat anything at all … just vomit … whatever you do, don’t vomit … get to the doctor right now you fool! …. oh you’ll be fine, just have some wine …) I ended up in the hospital via train and my very first ambulance ride, foreign or otherwise.
After downing a delicious gourmet glass of charcoal and having copious amounts of blood drawn from my wrists over the course of a few nauseous hours, I was declared fit to be discharged. However, the official hospital discharge wasn’t so much where my adventure ended as where it took a seriously ill (but assuredly normal) turn that left me spewing an atrocious medley of turpentine and charcoal all over the streets and cafe bathrooms between the hospital and the train station.
Instead of continuing on with an increasingly graphic description of what happened next, let me just leave you with this piece of wisdom – boys and girls, whatever you do, don’t drink the turpentine.
Does the word Metelkova mean anything to you (excluding you folks from Ljubljana, of course)? It didn’t mean anything to me either until a few weeks ago when it decided to join my vocabulary as a synonym for one of the most unique places I have ever visited.
Metelkova is a autonomous alternative arts & culture community right smack in the centre of Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, and serves as a non-residential squat for artists, activists, and a whole host of other culturally minded folks.
Meltelkova is located on the site of former military barracks (the Slovenian headquarters of the Yugoslav Army) and was squatted after Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia. The space is 12,500m2, pays no taxes, sells liquor without a license, has never had any legal status within the city, and therefore can essentially be thought of as a little city within the city.
Within Metelkova you’ll find a former prison (which is now the Hostel Celica, where you may recall I spent a few nights sleeping in a cell at), art galleries, art studios, an anarchist infoshop, music venues (including Channel Zero, where I caught a show from the USA band The Pharmacy), cafes, bars, clubs (including Ljubljana’s only gay nightclub … aptly named Klub Tiffany), and after dark it seems to become home to pretty much the entire youth population of Ljubljana.
Anyway, this blog isn’t so much about history & facts as it is photos so I’ll leave you with a link if you’re interested in learning more about Metelkova and get on with the light paintings!
Forget all those frightening looking J’s placed right next to other consonants and try and say it with me now – Lyooblyanna.
Never heard of it? It’s the capital of Slovenia, only has about 300,000 people, and I have a giant heart-on for it!
Ah, Piran – the jewel of the Slovenian coast. Not that it really has much crown jewel competition as the wee country has 40-ish km of coast line to its name. Still, it’s a serious beauty that makes you feel like you’ve been transplanted straight into one of those postcard Italian coastal town … with the added benefit of a surprising lack of tourists clambering about. The Italian-esque factor has something to do with the fact that Piran was a part of the Venetian Empire from the 13th to 18th centuries and if you climb to the top parts of the town you can spy on folks across the water in both Croatia & Italy.
View of Piran from atop the old city walls.
Oh look, it’s another view of Piran from atop the old city walls!
Martin (a Swedish photographer) and his camera take a break from their reason for being in Slovenia (documenting organic cheese farming).
Martin (the afore-photo-ed Swedish fellow) and Rosie (a CBC radio-er from Victoria on her way to a move to the land of tea and crumpets).
Why hello Adriatic Sea and slight hint of Italia in the distance!
Tartinijev Trg … or Tartini Square to those whose mother language is not so laden with consonants.
Tartini himself (the composer Tartini Square is named for). Tartini seems like a regular ol’ scamp to me … what with using his bow to poke church-top angels right in the rump instead of to make music.
Lazy afternoon cappucino a la Piran.
Burek for breakfast (an old Balkan pastry staple).
Kidlets in Tartini Square.
Tartini Square at dusk.
Sunset over Piran from atop the old city walls.
Tartini Square by night.
Narrow night streets a la Piran.
Spot the Ponto in this bad black & white sally and there’s a possibility you’ll win a special prize!
(Please take note that the previous sentence clearly indicates that the possibility also may not exist).
It seems the Imperialist Aggressors (as the North Koreans are so fond of calling them) are taking over Slovenia! I ended up at another concert in Ljubljana the other night featuring another band from the good ol’ US of A – Seattle/New Orleans’ The Pharmacy.
Bizarre photo experience (and rare, according to a few local photographers I talked to) – upon seeing me taking photos, the men below excitedly approached me, had me take their photo, and even more excitedly exchanged Facebook info with me. If I understood correctly, the man in the middle is a local priest.
For the life of me I can’t find the slip of paper the one man wrote his name I’ll never be able to pronounce on, so here’s hoping they find me!
Last night I ended up at a concert featuring 3 punk bands from the good ol’ US of A that was held at Tovarna Rog (Rog Factory) – a squatted former bicycle factory (in Ljubljana, Slovenia).