PARIS: COP21,CRITICAL MASS, CLIMATE JUSTICE MARCH

The security is very tight here in Paris.  I’ve been on about 20 airplanes in the last couple years, I’ve never had my luggage inspected like I did after landing in Paris.  There’s a no gathering or protesting restriction in place in Paris.  I’m here for the march, marking the final day of COP21 meetings.
I decided to go visit the COP21 meeting location on my first day in Paris.  I was surprised how little security there was compared to other places I’d visited.

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THERE WERE 196 COUNTRIES BEING REPRESENTED AT COP21

IT TOOK AWHILE, BUT I FOUND IT.

 FINALLY  FOUND THE AMERICAN FLAG, I GAVE UP LOOKING FOR THE SLOVENIAN FLAG (sorry Slovenia!)
I wasn’t able to enter the main event, the passes were given out months ago.  So I walked around the back of the building and discovered where the different environmental groups were set-up.

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                          THERE WERE AS MANY BACKPACK TYPES AS SUITS
There were organizations from around the world, saving the rain forest and it’s indigenous people, lobbying groups for C02 reductions, alternative energy displays and some great environmental art.

 

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                                                                 SPHERE
“Sphere”
is a globe made up of countless bodies of men and women, naked, intertwined with each other. A way of saying that the well-being of the planet depends on all and that we are all connected to it. “This is why we must live in peace,” said the artist, JS Raud

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  THE WORLD IS IN OUR HANDS, IS INSPIRED BY THE EARTH’S FRAGILITY
This fragility is here by symbolized by a women in a half-kneeling position, fighting against the powerlessness and resignation by attempting to rise up with the world that she carries at arm’s length.
Through this display the Peruvian artist Rafael Garcia Miro is inviting us to act together, despite the difficulties, to take care of nature and seek an environmentally friendly consensus.     Rafael Garcia Miro

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THE VEGAN’S WERE BEAUTIFULLY REPRESENTED 

I rented a room in an apartment through AIR B&B.  I’d never done a room share before, but to save a little money I thought I would try it.  We were on the top at the 5th  floor    without an elevator, don’t forget anything!   He didn’t have a proper coffee maker, only the plastic pods, that he didn’t show me how to use.  I bought coffee on the streets of Paris, 4.10 euro per cup (no refills) ($4.50).
I got the Velib app (bike share) for my phone and started my first couple days of biking around Paris before the Climate Change March.  My host told me that people used the Velib bikes to ride “downhill” to town and take the metro home.  So there was never a bike in the bike rack by my house.
The Velib bike share was great, once I finally found a bike.  I’ve been to Paris 4 times but never up the Eiffel Tower.  I watched the weather and Wed. was the sunny day, here I come.  The best thing about the Velib bike share is the ability to drop off the bike and explore Paris by foot.  (Click on Photos for FULL viewing)


          While biking near the Eiffel Tower, I met some people being interviewed, so I hung around and found out where the pre-march meeting was.  They were several orientations during the day, so I started out early, for that endless search for a bicycle near my apartment. At the march orientation meeting, it was very inspiring  to be surrounded by people who had the same values and goals as me.

They collect bikes and bring them (hopefully) to my neighborhood, we need some.

During the orientation I found out where the bicyclists were meeting for the Critical Mass Ride to meet the main march.  On my way I spotted the memorial to mark the remembrance of the Paris shooting victims.  I spotted about 20 cyclist riding in the same direction, with flags and signs, my peeps.  I later learned they were the group that rode from London to Paris.  We rode together to the meeting point.  Bicycles are so awesome!


I was joking with someone who had the same rental bike as me.  I told her “nice bike, where did you get it?”  her response “I found it on the street”  I had a great time with everyone I met.
I had just one day more after the march.  Of course I rode around Paris some more, the weather was great.  I got to test ride the new Velib E-Bikes, my kinda city.  I really enjoy riding around, sometimes aimlessly you never know what you’ll find.  Then I came across the Philharmonie DE Paris (more pictures), It was amazingly beautiful, I didn’t see it on any tourist maps.

The new Paris E-Bike requires you have your own battery, weighs maybe 1 kilo.  You rent the bike, slip in your battery and off you go, it’s more of an assist than an actual “pedal free” ride.  But if it encourages more people to ride-awesome.
The French bathroom etiquette is a bit much to be desired.  First, carry your own toilet paper wherever you go, there will likely be none in the bathroom.  Most bathrooms are in a marginal state of cleanliness, bring extra toilet paper.  That’s something I really respect about Slovenia, no matter where you are, the bathrooms and supplies are a constant-excellent.  We hiked a few days ago to this abandoned picnic area, I checked the outhouse, it had toilet paper in it, see what I mean.

I went to the Madonna show in Paris too.  I was surrounded by mostly gay male couples.  I didn’t realize she had such a diverse following.  When she asked who wanted to marry her as she threw a boutique, the gay guy next to me screamed “I DO”.  I couldn’t  help wishing him good luck, he said, “I really want to.”  It was a good time had by all.

Madonna visited Portland too, I had read the review and wished I had gone.  I felt lucky to see her in Paris, she said 1/2 her crew was from Paris and she loved Paris.  She did an impromptu concert at the memorial after the show.
Natasa and I are going to Venice for 4 days, it’s our 1 year anniversary celebration.  The first time I was in Venice, I wan’t particularly impressed, in fact it was enough of Italy for me.  I headed to Slovenia instead, that turned out to be a life changing decision.
Thanks for Reading (would the person who reads from Myanmar please send me an email and tell me about themselves, thanks)
Jeff

NEXT: EITHER VENICE OR SOME GREAT PHOTOS AND STUFF ABOUT SKOFJA LOKA & A BIKE TOUR AROUND LJUBLJANA in -2 c weather.

PARIS

BRISTOL, UK “GREEN CAPTIAL” OF EUROPE and MORE ADVENTURES

We have  busy lives here in Skofja Loka,  I was in Bristol Dec. 3-7, 2015, I’m just now getting this blog post together. Saturday I took a felting workshop in Ljubljana. This time I made a wool felt hat.  it was 4.5 hours of standing and working the wool, (felting!).  It killed me!
                                                                     BRISTOL

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ART FROM BRISTOL’S GREEN CAPITAL OF EUROPE AWARD 2015 (great piece)

At first I was just coming to Bristol to see Courtney Barnett.  When I started doing some research I discovered Bristol was similar to Portland in many ways.  They have approximately the same populations, Bristol 440,000 Portland 610,000.  Bike lanes, great healthy restaurants, mass transit and an active political scene.
I made my hostel reservations 6 weeks before I arrived.  I requested  a 6 share room, they said no problem.  When I arrived I ended up in a 14 share room.  I was the only traveler at the hostel, everyone else was living here. When I was in Spain the official  government policy was for the young people to leave and go work in another country.  Many took the advice, the hostel was filled with people mostly from Spain and France.  I met a Spanish kid, 26 years old (I’m 60), who had a dish washing job and was super happy about it.  I hope people appreciate what they have.  The European youth unemployment is high, that makes the U.K. an attractive destination, for young people trying to find their way.  The UK set a limit of 120,00 immigrants a year, instead  330,000 moved in.

                                    BRISTOL PHOTOS FROM MY FIRST COUPLE DAYS

 
After making all my reservations, plane, hotel, trains I needed a ticket for Courtney Barnett, sold out!  I had to buy an online scalper ticket, I hate those guys, but thanks.  The British Parliament was debating bombing Syria while I was in the U.K.  The first night in Bristol there  was a demonstration against the war.
I prefer to travel using my bicycle, but not in the winter.  I think winter travel is some of the best travel when using public transportation to get around.  There are no lines anywhere: restaurants, museums, tourist attractions and most accommodation is discounted too.  I just bring my warm clothes and  rent a bike as the weather permits.  The Bristol bike rentals weren’t operating, (a bad thing about winter travel) so my only option was an E-Bike-I was in Heaven.  I love the E-bike.
I first rode to the CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE which opened in 1864.  It was straight up hill, no problem, I gotta E-Bike.  Then to the train station and the start of the bike path to Bath, (the city!).  At the train station was a mobile bike repair van/shop, drop off your bike on the way to work and pick it up on the way home, great business model.
                                                    BRISTOL to BATH BIKE PATH

The 11 mile path to Bath was great, no cars, none.  There were bridges whenever there was a road crossing.  The English Ivy is winning, it’s everywhere.  I needed more time in Bath, I tried to get the bike rental shop guy to open sooner than 10, nope.

I walked around Bristol too, shock.  I read where the best fish and chips were, so I walked there.  It took me about 45 minutes, I couldn’t wait to sit down and eat, it was only takeaway-no seats.  I ate in on a brick wall in front of someones house, it was good and greasy.

There was some good bike stuff going on.  There was ROLL FOR THE SOUL CAFE 2 blocks from the Hostel.

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POSTER FROM ROLL FOR THE SOUL CAFE

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BRADLEY WIGGINS FROM THE UK WON THE 2012 TOUR DE FRANCE

Walking around my first night I ran into TEMPLE CYCLE’S Pop-up shop. He had beautifully  handcrafted bicycles and accessories.  The accessories is what really caught my attention.  In Europe you find yourself carrying your bike up stairs to your apartment or at the train station.  Be sure to check his website for some cool accessories for your bike.

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TEMPLE BIKE WITH LOTS OF LEATHER ACCESSORIES

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HELP CARRYING YOUR BIKE UP STAIRS

                                             MEANWHILE BACK IN SLOVENIA
LJUBLJANA
is the European Green Capital for 2016.   From being a city which was previously dominated by car transport the focus is now on public transport and on pedestrian and cycling networks.  Three quarters of the entire territory of Ljubljana are green areas. These areas include contiguous aquatic, forest and agricultural areas.
Ljubljana has implemented numerous urban green measures over the past decade including the planting of more than 2,000 trees, the building of five new parks and revitalization of the embankments of the River Sava.  In addition, in 2010 the Slovenian city declared 1,400 ha of the territory as forest of special purpose in being valuable as a CO2 sink. (cut and pasted ;))
Hey America did you see that?  Ljubljana recognizes trees are worth more than just money, they help the planet breathe.
Some things here in Slovenia seem bureaucratic, compared to America, but the environmental foresight is something I really respect.  We need America to start adopting some things that are done here in Slovenia.  No clear-cutting forest only selective harvest.  Better for wildlife and water quality.  They mow the trees down in America, replant them like corn and spray chemicals to prevent anything else from growing.  It poisons nearby streams and people, enough said.
I’m so happy here with Natasa and living in Skofja Loka, Slovenia.  I feel like I’ve been re-born.
Thanks for Reading (& commenting)
Jeff

NEXT: PARIS CRITICAL MASS CLIMATE RIDE, FINALLY WENT TO THE TOP OF THE EIFFEL TOWER, COP21,  MADONNA CONCERT, CLIMATE MARCH/PROTEST

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AMERICA NEEDS TO RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE E-BIKES PLAY IN TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

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CALIFORNIA FRIENDS VISIT SKOFJA LOKA and MORE EVENTS

I met Russ when he married my high school sweetheart, Jody.  Jody passed away from cancer over 10 years ago.  We still kept in touch over the years.    Russ & Jill still live in California and  over the years I stopped by on my many bicycle trips down the California coast.  He suggested I meet them on his annual Italian vacation.  I suggested they try something new, come visit us in Slovenia.  So they came to visit us here in little Skofja Loka.  So this is that visit.

The best traditional Slovenian food in Skofja Loka is Starman’s, I try to take all my guest here.

                RUSS FIT’S RIGHT IN, ENJOYING LOCAL SLOVENIAN WINE

Natasa had to work so I agreed to be the tour guide to Lake Bled, Vintgar and the Bee museum (I’ve been wanting to go here).  I’ve been in Slovenia 2 years now and  there’s still so much  that I haven’t seen.
We start early with a breakfast buffet overlooking Lake Bled & the Castle, visit the local crafts fair, walked  up to the castle and then hike the gorge at Vintgar.

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Beehive painting, which was most prolific between 1820 and 1880, started to die away with transition into 20th century.  Painting on the frontal panels of bee hives is a particularity of Slovenian Alpine region and is an indispensable part of Slovenian folk art. The host took us on a private guided tour of the museum, I love Slovenia!
 MUSEUM WEBSITE  AND MORE IMAGES OF BEE DOORS HERE

Natasa got a few days off, so the four of us went to Ljubljana one day and the next day we drove around Mt. Triglav, through the Soca Valley.

I checked about getting a tour guide to take us around, $50 hr.  So I bought the $2 book and biked the tour of the Art Nouveau buildings in Ljubljana.  Jill wanted to visit the Joze Plecnik museum, it had been closed for 2 years for remodeling and  had only been open a week.  Joze Plecnik designed many of the buildings, markets, and bridges all around Ljubljana.  It was cool to go through his house.  His life was very similar to that of architect  Gaudi: single, religious and lived a simple life.  Joze Plecnik use to use his drawing pencils until they were so small he could no longer hold them.


Doing the pre-tour of the Art Nouveau was somewhat empowering.  I knew where to go and what features to point out to my guests.

I met the head of Tourism for Slovenia, she told me the Soca Valley is the most beautiful part of Slovenia.  I’m not sure which is my favorite part of Slovenia, but having biked the Soca Valley I can tell you, it is very beautiful.
We re-visited camp Kamne where Natasa and I met. We drive over the Julian alps on our way through the Soca Valley.  We visit the World War I museum in Kobarid.

Russ and Jill stayed several days in Skofja Loka and said they can’t wait to come back.  When Jill got back she wrote about her trip that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Often-overlooked Slovenia worth a trip

Updated 7:08 pm, Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why we went: We have an American friend who recently moved to Slovenia. This often overlooked country has much to offer, with abundant natural beauty and a lovely capital city, Ljubljana.

Don’t miss: The Skocjan Caves in Slovenia’s Karst region are absolutely incredible. The caves, on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, comprise one of the world’s largest underground river canyons.

Don’t bother: Touring the museums in Ljubljana. Your time is better spent strolling the town center and exploring the interesting squares and architectural highlights, including the Art Nouveau buildings and Joze Plecnik’s many contributions to the city.

Coolest souvenir: Hand-painted replicas of beehive front boards that reflect an important part of Slovenia’s tradition of beekeeping and that are the visual, cultural equivalent of folk songs, poetry and fairy tales.

Worth a splurge: A day or overnight trip to Piran, a picturesque town situated on the southern tip of Slovenia on the Adriatic coast.

Wish we’d packed: More waterproof hiking clothes. Slovenia gets lots of rain throughout the year, as evidenced by its lush landscape and abundant rivers and lakes.

The Beatles Tribute Band was great, sharing love songs holding Natasa’s hand while they sang “I want to hold your hand” priceless.  I was watching the young people lip syncing the Beatles  songs, our generation won’t be forgotten.  The Dreams Band covered the Allman Brothers Band songs, I was living the dream-I knew every song.

Thanks for reading, if you like this blog please comment.

Jeff

NEXT: BRISTOL, UK, EUROPE’S 2015 GREEN CAPITAL AWARD WINNER, HANDMADE BIKES, E-BIKE ADVENTURE, YOUNG PEOPLE FROM AROUND EUROPE COME TO THE UK TO WORK. (promise)

LONDON CALLS FOR CLIMATE ACTION

 

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THIS WAS POSTED AROUND TOWN AND AROUND THE UNDERGROUND

Live music is a difficult find here in Slovenia.  So while re-searching the internet about  Courtney Barnett, I saw she was playing 6 shows around the U.K.  I checked Easy-Jet, 47€ to London, Natasa OK’d it.  When investigating what was going on in London, I came across the November 29 Climate March in London.  My whole trip changed knowing that.

For me the Climate Change issue is far bigger than any live music event and it should be for all of us.  There was a same day march in Paris.  I discovered that Paris, being home of the World Climate Change Summit (COP21), had many other events planned too.  So, my plans were set 5 days London, 5 days Bristol (to see Courtney Barnett) and 1 week Paris.  Before I left, the terrorist attacks happened in Paris.  I was still going, you know, “we can’t let the terrorist win.”

I contacted several hostels in London, They said I couldn’t be over 40 or 45 years old to stay at either hostel.  I got a hotel, $100 per night with breakfast (& lunch, I made sandwiches).  I’ve been reading about London’s Bike Share, called “BORIS BIKES” and couldn’t wait to ride some.  Boris is the pro-bike mayor of London.

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I FIND MY FIRST BIKE TO RENT, NICE FULL RACK.

I’ve never been a big fan of Bike Share, but I really wanted to give it a try. I get the App,  and can now find and rent bikes all around town. I head to the beginning of the Climate March.  The best thing about the Bike Share is that I was able to drop off the bike and walk in the March.  I didn’t have to worry about having my bike stolen. I marched with 50,000 people, it was inspiring and gave me hope for the future.

There were so many solutions to address the impending Climate Crisis: GO VEGAN, POPULATION CONTROL, FOOD WASTE, EATING LESS OR NO MEAT, BIKES, FRACKING, COAL & OIL LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND, END CAPITALISM (this is my favorite),  SOLAR POWER,  OWLS, DOGS, NO NEW RUNWAY, FOOD SECURITY, CLIMATE JUSTICE AND JOBS.  It is great to participate in a protest when it’s something you really believe in.  I can’t wait to see how Paris accepts the protesters?

Now that I’ve got the Boris Bikes figured out, I want to explore London by bike. I want to use the new bike infrastructure that I’ve read so much about and other sights (of course).

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FIRST I HAVE TO FIND A BIKE

The bikes are pretty popular with residents and tourist.  There are 4 stations within a 5 minute walk of my hotel.  There are 10,00 bikes and over 700 docking stations.  The app tells you how many bikes each station has and how many empty spots if you want to drop off your bike.  The London bike scheme cost taxpayers about $15 million, Paris and New York’s are self-sustaining.

LONDON BY BIKE


They say English food is somewhat boring, but I found the food simple, healthy and very satisfying.
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VENISON PIE, CARROTS, CABBAGE SALAD, MASHED POTATOES AND A GUINNESS.

The best thing about the Boris Bikes is the ability to drop the bike off and go explore London on foot.
There was a  Christmas Carnival in Hyde park, so I dropped off my bike and walked around “WinterWonderland”

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CORN ON THE COB 4 POUNDS THAT’S OVER $6 OR 6 EURO–ONE COBB!

Speaking English has never been a problem in the 22 countries I’ve traveled to in the past couple years. The one thing I do miss though, is being able to read the local newspaper. So here in the UK, I bought a paper and read it through and through.
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This story about 007 & his wife selling their property in Spain and not paying the $8 million in taxes.  They interviewed Connery and said he was basically in failing health so they weren’t going to pursue him.  They’re going after his 86 year old wife instead.  She’s facing 2 1/2 years in jail and a $24 million in fines.

A couple of random photos from London.  I also went to see  Thee Oh Sees.  I was talking to the people next to me at dinner and they were going too.  They recommended I sit in the balcony, I’m glad I did the mosh pit was crazy, but fun to watch!

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THEE OH SEES MOSH PIT WAS CRAZY WILD

 THIS IS A GREAT CONCERT MOVIE WATCH IT!

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I SENT NATASA THIS PHOTO AND WARNED HER, I’M GOING TO NEED THE COMB OVER SOON

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TUBE STOP IN LONDON

I hope I didn’t bore you with this looong post, but that’s my 5 days in London, Enjoy.

NEXT: BRISTOL, UK, EUROPE’S 2015 GREEN CAPITAL AWARD WINNER, HANDMADE BIKES, E-BIKE ADVENTURE, YOUNG PEOPLE FROM AROUND EUROPE COME TO THE UK TO WORK.

Thanks for reading
Jefflondon1

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BE SURE TO BRING PLENTY OF MONEY

WORKSHOPS AT THE ART & CRAFT CENTER OF SKOFJA LOKA

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I started a crafts business when I was just 18 years old.  After I moved to Portland in 1974, I became one of the founding craftsman of the Portland Saturday Market.  At first I sold handmade items made from deer antlers, then my wife and I switched to wood & leather game boards.  I toured  Oregon and Washington selling my handmade goods.  I’ve always had a love affair with creative handmade products and their creators.
Skofja Loka has a rich history of Arts and Crafts in Slovenia.
Today the local crafts shop here ARTS & CRAFT CENTRE DUO SKOFJA LOKA, has monthly local artist exhibitions and best of all, workshops in over 20 different types of crafts.
I’m on their mailing list and saw a workshop on making a felt hat.  I wanted to make the hat, but our teacher Anja  said I  needed to take the basic felting class first. OK, so I signed up, me and 6 women!


I made a cat toy, 2 hot pads, and a felted bar of soap (which became a popular cat toy)  When I told Anja she said “you must have a really clean cat”
Felting is a lot more difficult than it looks.  Using simple (non-toxic) soap your able to combine various colors and types of wool into many different products: slippers, purses, scarfs, jewelry, soap & cat toys.  When your finished you have something that is 100% natural and lasts longer than me and you.
Honey Bread another Slovenian tradition that was started in Skofja Loka by local nuns in the 17 century.  I signed up for the honey bread workshop run by Lila, a local artist.  I had seen the wooden molds sold as souvenirs and thought you put them in the oven too, no.

It was great to learn a centuries old tradition that’s from our region.  I have to admit the cookies were damn good!
The crafts center has 23 local artist who display their work and also teach workshops.  When travelling taking a local workshop is a great way to experience true culture and regional traditions.
The many craft workshops available include: CLAY RELIEFS by Lidija Debelak ,  PILLOW COVERS by Anita Erizen,   HAND EMBROIDERY by Tanja Florjancic,   WOODEN TOYS by Samo Gaspersic,  WOODEN PRODUCTS by Matija Hirsenfelder,  HOUSE OF BOBBIN LACE ,  WOODEN PRODUCTS by Roman Jamnik,   BASKETS & WICKER by Janez Kriselj,  HANDMADE FORGED STEEL TOOLS by Joze Krmelj,  WOOL FELT PRODUCTS by Anja Musek,   RECYCLED PAPER & MUCH MORE by Lili Panjtar,   NATURALLY DYED LOCAL WOOL PRODUCTS by Ladka Penes,   HAND CARVED HONEY BREAD MOLDS by Petra Plestenjak,   BOBBIN LACE by Ana Rakovec,   MASTER HONEY BREAD CREATIONS by Cirila Smid,  CROCHETING WOOL by Jana Suligoj,   KNITTING PRODUCTS by Tatjana Svab,   WOOL & COTTON LOOM PRODUCTS by Lucija Ticar,  LEATHER PRODUCTS by Klemen Urbanija,  MASTER OF WET-FELTING & SUPPLIES by Alja Venturini,  NEEDLE FELTED ANGELS by Petra Vengar,  PATCHWORK PRODUCTS by Zdenka Rakovec Vilfan, GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS by  Katja Zrimšek

The workshops are available for all ages and abilities.  If you would like to schedule a workshop for friends, family or a special occasion feel free to contact the ART AND CRAFT CENTER OF DUO SKOFJA LOKA        or
Call Kati at  04 511 24 60

Being part of the Arts & Crafts community has brought back many memories of the crafts business I was involved in my youth.  Everyone loves handmade souvenirs, making memories that will never be forgotten.

NEXT: LONDON: Bikes, Guiness, protest and missed dates

BIKING AROUND MARIBOR, SLOVENIA. BETTER THAN DISNEYLAND

We’ve gone to different craft events around Slovenia and it seemed a lot of artist came from Maribor. So I wanted to go check out the artist scene. I was hoping to visit by bus this winter.   Natasa gave Sara a long weekend visit to Vienna for her birthday.  The problem is the train ride takes 2 of the 4 days they had.  I found a bus from Maribor, I suggested I drive them to Maribor then they can take the bus to Vienna, it’s a plan. Now they got 4 FULL days in Vienna and I got a biking weekend in Maribor, perfect.
Before we can leave the cat needs to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s.

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THE CAT KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP AND WAS HIDING

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LOADED UP AND READY TO ROLL

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CAT DELIVERY SERVICE

We were early for their bus, so I dropped my stuff off in my hostel room. The UNI-Hostel had an excellent breakfast buffet, that helped make up for the room, which was actually pretty good.

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MY COMPUTER SCREEN IS BIGGER THAN THE TV’S

I visit the tourist office after walking them to the bus station.  The women working there said she remembers me from a visit to the Ljubljana tourist office, Slovenia is small.  I gather information and maps for the next day.


The tourist office told me about the Gondola ride at Pohorje’s mountain.  I ride my bike out there and take the Gondola to the top.  I look around and see some cars and realize there’s a way to bike up.  I go back to the tourist office with my map and see there’s 2 roads to the top.  I like loop roads so I decide to take one up and the other down.


Just as I was about to head downhill a local on a bike  decided he would shadow me all the way down. It was fun to bike with someone, we were flying down.  He’s riding with no hands and right next to and behind me.  One false move and were both toast.  You can get going maybe 50-60 km an hour.  I tapped my brakes just a couple times, you can almost ride the whole thing without brakes.  They have really smoothed the road out.  It takes maybe 45 minutes (with a few photo stops) to get to the bottom.  The weather is so nice and warm, I decide the next day to take the gondola up with my bike and ride down, again.  It cost 8 euro for a one way ticket up with bike.  This was probably one of the best “tourist” experiences I’ve had in Slovenia, better than Disneyland for sure.  I timed the ride 2 hours to ride from the old town of Maribor, ride the gondola and bike back to Maribor.

Maribor has the oldest wine grape plant, over 400 years old, according to Guinness Book of World Records.  I visited the largest and oldest underground winery in Europe.  It took 11 years to build and has 2 km of tunnels, lined with wine barrels.  The barrels were allowed to dry out and are no longer functional.  The new “automated” winery is just out of town now.

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I sampled a couple glasses and was in bed at 8:30, reminded me of why I don’t drink.
Some women (girl) was handing out flyers to some event.  I asked where it was and decided to go.  I forgot to a ask them what the event was, it was in Slovenian (go figure).

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                        IT WAS A SNAKE AND REPTILE SHOW AND SALE.

If I had known I probably wouldn’t have paid 7 euro to get in, oh well.  Maybe it’s time to learn a little Slovenian?

THESE ARE  SOME FUN PHOTOS I TOOK

Hope you can visit Maribor soon, I had a great time and bring your bike.
I’m still going to Paris in a few weeks.



NEXT: TRADITIONAL CRAFTS OF SLOVENIA

THANKS FOR READING THE BLOG,
Jeff

MUSHROOM PICKING IN THE FOREST OF SORICA, SLOVENIA

We had a wedding celebration dinner at Jesharna with some friends.  While enjoying desert at our house they mentioned they were going mushroom picking the next day.  I happily invited myself to join them, they said OK.
Sorica was only a 1/2 hour drive from Skofja Loka.  The sisters, Mateja and Majda  grew up here, so they knew where to go.

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It’s great to go mushrooming with someone who knows where to go and find them.

It is so peaceful up here, no freeways in the background or traffic on the one road for that matter.  I’ve been buying wild mushrooms at the farmers market, so I’m pretty excited to actually find some myself.
LOTS OF DIFFERENT MUSHROOMS

We scoured  the hillsides and found quite a few mushrooms.  I’m still not very good (or at all) speaking Slovenian.  But I get a lot of sympathy (help)

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MATEJA BROUGHT HER TRANSLATION BOOK, JUST IN CASE.

It went a lot quicker than I first thought it would.

Living in such a small country there is always someone you know who lives somewhere near where your going.  On the way home we stop at Mateja and Majda Mom’s house to visit and have some coffee.
Slovenia may be a small country, but there’s is lot’s to explore and experience.  The mountains, lakes, rivers, bike paths, architecture, arts, history and of course it’s people! they truly makes it a great country.  Did I mention there’s one hot women here that I love?  There’s that too.
There’s a tradition here about putting your 50, 60,70th…..birthday via an announcement tree sculpture.  I blogged about this some before.

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This is the first bicycle one I’ve seen. I told Natasa that’s what I want for my 50th birthday. Speaking of which, I was reading the other day that the confirmed date for getting old is now considered 60.  I’m having my 60th birthday on January 1,  “next” year.
We had some friends visit from California, Russ and Jill.  Russ married my high school sweetheart, Jody.  We’ve remained in touch even thought Jody passed away from cancer 10 years ago.  There sending me some photos from their visit and will do a blog story about there visit.  When they got back from Slovenia, they wrote a story about their visit, it got  published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I’m trying to clean-up the backlog of Blog stories before heading to London, so hang on, here they come.
NEXT: BIKING AROUND MARIBOR, SLOVENIA

Thanks for reading
Jeff & Natasa

I’m sure most people saw this on Facebook, it’s short.

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