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Monday, June 27, 2022

Off the Rails: Drama in Ljubljana

Libby Bull's next stop on her interrailing trip is Slovenia, where the arguments (and the drinks) get heated.

I write in genuine fear. I have discovered that C has read my diary and the results were not pretty – and now I’m super lost as to whether I’m to blame?! GDPR would certainly be on my side. Regardless, if anyone is reading this now that shouldn’t be, please don’t for your sake and that of your oh-so-delicate ego. In these pages, I speak only bare-faced truth of what I see, and in the cold, bright light of my photograph flash its subjects often do not look pretty. My mother did warn me not to write anything in my diary that I didn’t want other people on the trip to read. I guess I just hoped it would be one of the guys from the brass band…

Oh did I not mention? We’re sharing our Slovenian hostel room with a literal 10-piece brass band. It’s exactly like you’d imagine. Watching from the outside, when they all leave, it’s like a clown car. You think it’s over, there can’t be any more of them, but it turns out you’ve only just reached the cornet section.

As this is the second hostel we’ve stayed in, I’d summarise my current thoughts on hostels as a whole as very much like living in a localised uni Freshers’ week: meeting people, smiling, sharing bathrooms, asking where ‘the party’ is (the brass band dudes seem quite keen to bond, all I know is they can keep their trombones to themselves), seeing naked ladies in the shower room. Classic Freshers’ activities. Speaking of which, the Slovenian drinking scene is a strange one. You cannot find a frosty pint anywhere. It’s all hot chocolate, mulled wine, gin toddies, and even a hot mojito – which just feels straight-up unnatural. Basically, the logic seems to follow:

Goal: To be warm.

Outside = cold

Inside = warm

British solution: Stay inside until the beer jacket kicks in when you need to wander home on a frozen 2am morning

Slovenian solution: Make outside warm too a.k.a. fire, heaters and warm drinks are a must!

Back to the day, as we walked around Ljubljana, it dissolved from ex-Eastern bloc chic to slightly saccharine loveliness. The landscape read far more as a watercolour painted-set of some Nutcracker ballet performance than reality. We’re talking snowy peaks, blues/pink sky of sunrise, candy floss clouds lazing in a haze of azul. It certainly gave the drama on stage in our group some much needed gravitas. I think the lack of sleep is getting to us. Slight jabs have turned to full-out blows, eventually leading to me mediating over the phone with C’s boyfriend because she was feeling left out of the group(!) My first question: How? There are literally only 4 people on this trip? Plus due to our hostelling situation we basically live like those petri-dish bacterial colonies grown where it’s impossible to distinguish the individual microbes from the green smudge of the whole without a really really good microscope – but I guess C must have really good eyesight.

The conversation with the boyf was basically a parent-teacher conference, in which I was the already over-worked primary school teacher being told by a patronising parent that the child’s finger-painting skill inadequacy showed a fundamental failure in my ability to educate. Oh, and of course while this all went down, the other child in the class left unsupervised found a friendly looking man in a van who offered her candy in exchange for her credit card details (a.k.a. A just got phished with one of those text message bank account scams). So I look forward to spending the rest of the evening sorting that out too, can’t wait to see my phone bill at the end of this trip.

I wonder if the brass band has an extra spot on in their group? I can probably manage the triangle…

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