On Tuesday the 8th of December 2009 we were parked at only 20 km from the border between Croatia and Slovenia. Our first stop in Slovenia was the little town called Metlika. Ones in the town, we found this wine bar to drink and buy wine. In Slovenia they are not so much into free wine tasting. You actually have to pay for a glass of wine if you want to taste a particular one. As it was before noon, Olivier wasn't up to drinking too much. However he still tasted two or three different red wines. Finally we bought a few bottles of red wine of the Slovenian grape called
« Modra Frankinja »
We then continued in direction of the town called Novo Mesto, which is at 30 km away from Metlika. Ones arrived there, it was raining so much we decided to stay in a private appartment called "the Ravbar appartments". We were pleasantly surprised by a nice encounter with father Ravbar. He told us about his son called Uros Ravbar and the wife of his son Kristina Ravbar. The couple left in 2004 for a round the world trip and lasted for 25 months bringing them in 5 different continents, with a 4-wheel drive. We saw the book they published as a result of their long journey, which was very impressive. Uros Ravbar is a professional photographer, so the pictures were very nice. There is more to discover and know about their project on the their internet site called: www.ravbar.org Father Ravbar gave us a discount for the night, probably just because we were travellers as his son. We had a nice and pleasant stay at "the Ravbar appartments".
The father Ravbar also managed to bring us in contact with Juri. Juri organises every year a Jazz festival in Novo Mesto. The festival is organised each year in August and last august they celebrated their 10th anniversary. We agreed with Juri to meet him that same night in a bar in town called Lokal Patriot bar. Juri came with his friend Mathei and we spend a very nice evening exchanging about music, politics, our project and their music. Both of the gentlemen are musicians and play in different groups. Juri plays the guitar and Mathei is a bassist. There were no concerts programmed during our visit, but they told us that there will be a jam session two days later in the same bar. We thought maybe coming back to Novo Mesto for the jam session. The evening finished with some sets of table football. We formed different teams and had great fun. That night we planned to maybe join Juri and Mathei to go hiking in the mountains the next day, but finally it didn't work out with our schedules and we decided to head for Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.
In order to get to Ljubljana we thought of taking the highway but we had to pay a vignette of 15 euros with validity of one week, so we decided to take other roads instead. The roads in Slovenia are good, it just took us more time to get to Ljubljana.
Ones you are in the city you have the view over the snowed Alps in a distance. The temperature dropped in Ljubljana, so we decided to stay all three nights in hostel and hotels. One night we paid ourselves a particular hotel, called Slamic Bed & Breakfast. It was a somewhat expensive B&B which was very cosy, a way for us to celebrate the success of our musical journey.
In this holiday season there was a nice and festive atmosphere in town. Ljubljana was filled with stands selling gifts for Christmas and also their typical hot wine (red or white). I thought that the city was not very big and that there was a Austrian/Hungarian atmosphere. You find a lot of people cycling, in this country they take the environment seriously and recycle a lot. We were definitely in Europe in a particularly organised country.
We went to a concert of a group called Katalena that was performing during a festival of animated movies. The concert was organised in what used to be a power plant.The plant has been transformed into a cultural centre where concerts and festival are organised. I liked the music played by the group and the singer had a very nice voice. The group consists of six musicians: a guitarist, a keyboard player, drums, a base player, a singer and a musician playing different kind of wind instruments. They play Slovenian folk music where different sounds are added, changing completely the original soundtrack. While the group was playing, animated films were projected on the wall in the back of the stage. We had a chance to record their music.
Another nice discovery we made in the city was this alternative area called Metelkova. Two guys, Aymet and Primoz, who work in this hip hop shop called « One Way » told us about this area and suggested us to go their to listen to some music. So we decided to spend our last night in Ljubljana in this area and we were not disappointed. The area consists of different compounds, that used to be military compounds. Sixteen years ago the place was abandoned and some people decided to occupy the place to use for cultural/artistic events. Each compound is managed by different people or groups of people. There are concert halls, art galleries, bars, cafés, atelier of artists etc.
We had a chance to visit three different compounds. In one we found a place where designers work and also sell the garments and other accessories. At the same time you can have a tea. The place was managed by this Israeli lady and her boyfriend. In the other compound there was a bar, where they sometimes have DJs playing music. You could have drinks for a very cheap price.
In the last place we visited you had an art gallery that was hosting a very
funny work of art. Two Slovenian artists make their own trailers of known American movies, where the guy, Primoz Novak plays all men roles and the lady Nika Oblak plays all the female roles. Their trailers last for a few minutes and they are well done and very funny. We made some pictures of their movies to give you an idea about the joke behind it.
Next door to this art gallery there was this concert hall, where we would find all Slovenian music we wanted to. On that Friday night there were five different groups programmed. One group was Italian, another one was a mix of Slovenia and Croatian, the other three groups were Slovenian. On the program we had heavy metal, rap, rock & roll and folk music. We spoke in advance with one of the organisers who has his own label company. He told us that it would be OK for the recordings, so we made quiet some recordings of that evening and had great fun. In a separate article we posted a track from the Slovenian/Croatian group called Lollobrigida. They rocked the place.
During our visit of Ljubljana we visited the Slovenia Ethnological museum. It was an interesting museum where comparison is made between the Slovenian culture and different other cultures and human attitude. The set-up in the museum was not always very clear and the translation was not always done, making it now and then difficult to follow.
On Saturday the 12th of December, completely satisfied with nice music, we decided to leave Slovenia and head in direction of France. But before getting to France, we planned to drive through Italy. Leaving Ljubljana our destination was the Italy. We drove through a mountainous area where it was rather cold. We celebrated our 13.000 km milestone at a place called Postonja, which lies at approximately 40 km from the Italian border. The kilometre indicator of Bubule was showing 135.446 km. As Slovenia is part of Europe and also the Schengen region, there was no procedure to go through when crossing the border of Slovenia and Italy.