Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia and is a city with the river Ljubljanica running through the city centre giving an intense backdrop to the many restaurants and cafes that line the river banks.
The city has a population of around 300,oo and that excludes the many dragons lining bridges and other areas. The dragon is the symbol of Slovenia.
It is an attractive lattice of cobbled streets, arched alleys and fine cultural monuments, many of which were bequeathed to the city by Jože Plečnik (1872–1957), Slovenia’s most celebrated urban planner including the brilliantly conceived Triple bridge.
There are plentiful museums as one might expect from a capital city but the real enjoyment comes from simply walking the streets and seeing this city first-hand. Oddly the castle which gives an almost fairy tale backdrop to the city is about the only average feature of the city .
Many of the streets are cobblestone and lined with street art. Small bakers and other artisans sell their wares.
The bars and restaurants are plentiful and provide ample choice, although maybe pizza is the commonest type of cuisine.
Never also forget the amazing street art that is everywhere.
You can sit literally in the river and eat and drink in various bars and restaurants
When nighttime comes there is often entertainment in Pleseren Square.
Sometimes it is nice to take a look at nice food items you have photographed. Here are a selection from the last few months. A mixture of foods ranging from exquisite Cod to piles of toast .
It is not so often you read a novel and then go back and read the prologue again just to be sure. On the face of it this is a novel that simply follows events after a warship explodes in Greenock in 1940. Which is the basic tenet of the story .
There is however so much more . The book tells an important story about Poland and its peoples after they were displaced in 1939 when Poland was annexed. That word hides the true meaning that Germany and Russia invaded and divided the country up as one might a pizza. There are characters that appear and reappear in a manner suggesting the author understands and maybe knows some of them. The characters do grow in the story and whereas some are likeable some are truly revolting even putting a wartime veneer on things. One aspect I had never learned or maybe missed was that some folks profited from war , if they were lucky, and others enjoyed the ambience that wartime brought. Some grew as people and others simply followed like sheep.
This book needs to be read. If you only read one book about what living in the Second World War was really like this is it. Some grizzly unpleasant bits but a surprising number of positives mostly related to people and peoples having to work together. There is a lot about loyalty in this book and pragmatism too. The book takes us through lives changing and also lives of those growing up in wartime and their aspirations.
I have loved reading this book. My little knowledge of Scotland in wartime has exponentially increased.
Some questions remain however . Some of the book is fact , some fiction and in the words of the author, some borrowed. But my question is did Major Mike, as we can call him, really exist? I have this little suspicion that he did.
This book is worth 300 pages of your time . Enjoy
Two years has probably been the longest that I have spent away from the town. Since then Brexit has rumbled on, house prices have risen in UK and the currency exchange rates have become criminal. Anyone foolish enough to exchange at Gatwick would have received the princely sum of 0.97€ for every donated pound. So it was with interest and some trepidation that I came over.
The reality is that things are really good here and the town is thriving substantially more than two years ago. Walking down Avenida Las Palmeras there are few vacant shops and restaurants. Only Crumbles seems a casualty. Maybe also a reflection that there seem far fewer British folks here and the cafes serving British food seem to have got fewer. Whereas the multi item emporiums have not only thrived but have a higher quality of goods . They have moved on from the Poundland approach .
On the downside the beach renovation will entice fewer down to Playa Santa Ana. A huge portion of the town beach is out of action meaning that local alternatives such as Playa Carvajal get visited. Maybe my imagination but the seafront mostly fish restaurants seemed a little quieter too.
Building seems to have recommenced after a hiatus of a few years.
After the crazy years of ten years ago when developers seriously thought they could build almost to the top of the cable car mountain, things seemed to go quiet . A lot more building is going on around the Peublo area.
However The unfinished buildings remain and from a distance the graffiti scrawled on the walls suggests unwanted visitors. Will these ever get completed?
Car parking remains complex. Street parking on the roads leading out of town seem the only realistic option.
New restaurants have emerged. Lemon and Lime next to the taxi rank seems thriving with tables packed all day serving modern tapas. A return maybe to the traditional way of eating and drinking. Maybe there is still room for another bar though. Some of the old venues seem timeless. Harry’s Restro must have been here more than 10 years and serves one of the best curries I have had anywhere in the world. Cherry’s remains untouched. The Meeting Point is a great concept. Coffee and cakes ! Some empanadas too!
Not all bars and restaurants accept credit cards though. Buona Sana Italiana next door to Harry’s Restro is an example . But serving the best pizza and pasta in Benalmadena.
Still a fair few small dogs around and sadly still owners not picking up after them. There is no excuse. The parakeets have multiplied and are increasingly vocal.
So things seem better than two years ago and this great town and community is clearly thriving
Eurovision is a great institution and each year gets better. The staging last night in Tel Aviv was beyond brilliant. Many of the acts were also superb, others less so. We score the acts in our group and without fail never pick the winner. What we were in agreement about were the worst two acts coming from SAN Marino and Iceland. Discussion was had this morning about how these two acts actually qualified for the final over some of the others whom failed to make the cut . SAN Marino was many grades beyond dreadful . A non practicing dentist chanting in a low voice that reminded me more of a poor karaoke impression of Right Said Fred. The Icelandic offering was one of those pseudo political statements with the band clearly concentrated more on the Palestine issues than their music. For once I agree with the organisers of Eurovision that this is a musical not political event. Their specific noise , muttering, chanting and shouting was hideous. Hence being rated by us as the worst performer. I will spare you the tension and give you our final scores. The bottom five
Clearly our musical intuition and interpretation did not match the worldwide juries who scored North Macedonia second best . The scoring though changed when the public votes were added who scored them like us one of the worst . The principle of having separate scoring systems for the juries, composed of music professionals, and the general public money spending audience, is a good one . There were many instances similar where the jury voted brilliant or awful and the public voted the opposite . A good example was Norway where the juries voted their entry as poor and the public voted it one of the best . Maybe the professionals had not listened to Alan Walker “Faded” , one of the most popular songs of the last few years , the style of Norway was similar and the girl singer was the same one who sings on Faded. A few songs were simply creepy . Try the Slovenian entry if you have a spare five minutes.
The best songs in our view were
The winning song from Netherlands got 20 points from us . Another mystery . A winning song yet devoid of many of the things Eurovision is famous for , good staging and interesting tunes. The bookmakers has this as their favourite. How do they reach this conclusion? I am always baffled by their conclusions and how spookily correct they often are.
So the mysteries of Eurovision remain strong and without doubt the staging was the best ever . Role in 2020 where I can make two predictions. The contest will be held in Amsterdam and UK will not be winners
Perusing Twitter in recent weeks there have been a number of tweets where audience members have been called out for recording or photographing during shows. It was reported that in one performance of Six, one of the cast members actually intervened to call this out. In other instances audience members themselves asked the perpetrator to cease recording.
Anyone attending the theatre know that they should not be recording shows or indeed taking photographs. Arguably the reasons behind these regulations have never been explicitly reasoned out and explained, nonetheless this is standard knowledge, and theatre goers do not come armed with cameras and recording devices.
The rules seem fair and obvious. Recordings of a show then uploaded to YouTube or indeed anywhere can do many negative things. The poor quality sound might make a performance look bad, the ending of a show might be given away ( many have quite intricate stories as part of the show, Waitress is an example). The actors/actresses are entitled to also make their money from cast recordings of albums uploaded to Spotify or similar and sold, and the sheer poor quality of the recordings does nothing to enhance the experience for anyone.
What however is less well known, and could be better advertised are that some shows do allow the audience to take photographs and videos during the curtain calls, as in Waitress or during a semi-encore, as in Six. I like this approach. As a photographer I too get frustrated to not be able to photograph, however I get it and abide by the rules as should everyone.
Having sat through the Brexit voting charades this past week, I would like to suggest a few things we might suggest or even vote on as solutions:
As I stated above the non-allowing of photography, I agree with and always wonder what my images might have looked like. The four solutions above may be a good compromise in this digital image world.
Lastly, the photos uploaded here were all taken post-show and were allowed, and of course all taken with the humble I-phone 8