Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dominican Republic

photos - video

This time around, Dejan, Boris, Page and I decided to explore the beaches of the island of Hispaniola. It took us few months to organize the trip and take couple of days off work. The Dominican Republic was probably the least expensive weekend getaway destination we could find for this time of the year. For just over $600US we booked a vacation for mid November, hoping for good weather.

photos - video

The Dominican Republic is a country located on the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, bordering Haiti. Hispaniola is the second-largest of the Greater Antilles islands, and lies west of Puerto Rico and east of Cuba and Jamaica.

A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule lasted for much of the 20th century; the move towards representative democracy has improved vastly since the death of military dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in 1961. Dominicans sometimes refer to their country as Quisqueya, a name for Hispaniola used by indigenous Taíno people. The Dominican Republic is not to be confused with Dominica, another Caribbean country. (w)

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Departure flight was quite early, around 7am. I’ve decided to take a metro and almost missed my flight. Boys were already checked in, relaxing at airport Starbucks as I was rushing in from the escalator. Couple of hours later we landed in Miami and got some extra cash at the ATM just to make sure we have enough funds for tips etc.

Around 3pm, we arrived to DR and passed the customs with ease. Just like in many other beach destinations, we were greeted with music, this time it was famous Dominican Merengue. Our luggage was intact and as we were exiting the customs we were charged a tourist tax of $10US. Our driver was waiting outside and shortly thereafter we were on our way to our home for the next 5 days, Barcelo Beach Resort, Punta Cana.

Barcelo Beach Resort is located some 20 minutes drive from the airport. There is a major road construction going on as the Dominican government is working on a new highway to connect Punta Cana and its airport. The works should be done within the next couple of years.

photos - video

As we pulled in to the resort, we passed by a mini train that caries tourists between restaurants, shopping, casino and nightclubs. This was our main mode of transportation in the next few days.

Checking in were probably the only frustrating moments in the entire trip but it was our fault. The reservation we made was for a “Quad” room but nobody really paid attention at the time of booking. The resort management insisted on putting four (4) guys in a single room with two (2) king size beds! Heh, this one was kind of funny. It took us over on hour and $200US to resolve this problem and we had what we wanted, two rooms with two full beds. We were now happy to explore the resort.

photos - video

Barcelo Beach Resort is a part of a larger complex of resorts and it includes many restaurants, bars, swimming pools, casinos and miles of white sand and coconut tree shaded beaches. We had access to it all. The weather was absolutely perfect. Caribbean sea was comfortably warm, pretty much the same temperature as soft and windy air we enjoyed while hanging out on the beach drinking cocktails.

Piña Coladas, Cuba Libres and Banana Bombs were our favorite drinks in the resort. Bartenders were quite generous and drinks were made to perfection. During the day we would get few brick oven pizzas to snack on and local Presidente beer to quench our thirst. Pizza was the only food available between lunch and dinner.

Most nights we dined at the nearby steak house. Steaks were absolutely delicious and the wait staff was professional and friendly. After dinner we would visit local discos, casino or just hang out at the beach bar. One night we even ventured out to a locally famous night club.

photos - video

On a third day we decided to go for some deep sea fishing. The weather was perfect. At first, Dejan was little hesitating but he got himself some Dramamine from the nearby pharmacy and we were ready to go. Russian speaking Haitian immigrants were quick to organize a half-day fishing trip for $70US per person.

Few minutes later and couple of miles of the coast of this beautiful island I started to feel little shaky and lied down inside the cabin to rest. I took some Dramamine but it was too late. Next thing you know I lost both my breakfast and pizza. Page followed me right after. The end result of our fishing trip; 2 Mahi-Mahi and a Barracuda. The steakhouse chef was happy to prepare our freshly caught Mahi-Mahi for lunch next day.

photos - video

While sitting back and watching depressing “breaking” news in a cold and rainy Washington DC, I must admit that this trip was probably one of the best short vacations I’ve ever had. I hope I will be back again...

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tristan da Cunha

Celebrating 500 Years of History 1506 - 2006

"the remotest inhabited island in the world" - Guiness Book of Records, 1998

The territory of Tristan da Cunha is composed of four islands, Gough, Inaccessible, Nightingale and Tristan itself. The latter three are grouped together while Gough lies some 230 nautical miles (426km) to the south. The main island, Tristan da Cunha, is the remotest inhabited island in the world. Its nearest neighbour is St. Helena 2,334 kms to the North while Cape Town is 2,778 kms to the East. Tristan is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. It is under the authority of the Governor of St. Helena but powers are delegated to a resident Administrator.

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There is only one inhabited area. This is Edinburgh of the Seven Seas on Tristan. It is a small village of just under 300 people, the total population of Tristan da Cunha. It was named in 1867 after Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (second son of Queen Victoria) who visited in August that year as commander of the frigate "Galatea".

Brief History

Tristan da Cunha was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese navigator, Tristao da Cunha. He did not land but nevertheless named the island after himself. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Dutch and French governments, as well as the British East India Company, considered taking possession of the islands but decided not to do so, mainly because of a lack of a suitable landing place. The islands of Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough were originally known as Geebroken, Nachtglas and Goncalo Alvarez respectively.

The islands were later used as temporary bases by sealers and whalers usually from the USA, and it was from here that the first settlers of Tristan came. In 1811 Jonathan Lambert, who hailed from Salem, declared himself emperor (a copy of his flag can be seen in the Island museum). He disappeared in somewhat mysterious circumstances during a with one of his two companions. The other, Thomas Curry, was still on the island when its next occupants arrived. This was in 1816 when a British garrison was sent from Cape Town. Curry aroused their interest with stories of buried treasure but never revealed its whereabouts. He died of drink, plied to him by the members of the garrison seeking the treasure!

The garrison had been sent by the British Government because they were worried that the island might be used for an attempt by the French to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena. It was withdrawn in 1817 but Corporal William Glass from Kelso in Scotland, with his wife and children, asked to stay, accompanied by two stonemasons, Nankivel and Burnell, from Plymouth, UK. The stonemasons did not stay long but examples of their work can still be seen on the island houses.

Others joined William Glass and his family over the next few years, notably Thomas Swain from Hastings, UK. Five bachelors on Tristan in the early 1820s asked a naval Captain if he could arrange for five wives to come from St. Helena. In 1827 the ladies arrived and the community began to increase. In 1836 a Dutchman, Peter Groen, who anglicised his name to Green, joined them. In 1837 and 1849 Thomas Rogers and Andrew Hagan, both American whalermen, also settled on Tristan.

At this time the island prospered. Although only operating a subsistence economy they were able to barter their fresh vegetables and fresh water (an official currency was not introduced on the island until the early 1950s) to passing ships for provisions required on the island. Sailing ships en route to South Africa, India, the Far East and Australia all came via Tristan to utilise the trade winds. By 1856 there were 97 inhabitants.

However the decline in whaling, the transition to steam ships and the opening of the Suez Canal, all occurring at around the same time, stalled Tristan's growth. Many inhabitants emigrated to the USA and Cape Town and the Island was forgotten apart from occasions when the remaining islanders rescued shipwrecked sailors. It was partly in recognition of this help and the activities of missionaries that the British Government in 1876 formally declared the islands to be part
of the British Empire. An annual visit by a British warship to bring supplies was instigated.

In 1892 an Italian ship from Camogli in Italy was wrecked off the island. Two of the sailors, Andrea Repetto and Gaetano Laverello decided to stay and then married local girls. Two sisters, Agnes and Elizabeth Smith, from Kilkenny in Ireland met and married two islanders fighting with the British army in the Boer War and afterwards returned with them to Tristan. These seven family names, Glass, Green, Hagan, Laverello, Repetto, Rogers and Swain are the only surnames now found on the island.

The islanders survived over the years through good and hard times. In 1938 Tristan was declared a dependency of St. Helena - although the islanders today declare they are not dependent on that island! The start of a crayfish industry in 1950 brought about the transition from subsistence to a cash economy and in the same year the British Government sent its first Administrator to Tristan. In 1961 a volcanic eruption beside the settlement of Edinburgh caused the evacuation of the all the inhabitants to the UK. For two years the islanders stayed in England but maintained their close knit community and a desire to return to Tristan. In 1963 it was considered safe to do so and the majority sailed home. But life in England had changed attitudes and a more affluent and informed society emerged from then onwards, far removed from the lifestyles of their ancestors.


Tristan da Cunha is almost self-supporting economically - only large capital projects require overseas funding. Revenue, provided by the royalties from the lobster fishery, and interest from a reserve fund, finances government activities such as the provision of free health care and education. The Government is the chief employer on the island with a work force of 143. The lobster factory provides permanent employment for 23 and casual employment for a further 110 people on fishing days, when 20 small island boats catch lobster for processing. The lobster fishery is operated under the terms of an exclusive concession granted by the Island. The current holder is Eurex Ltd, a subsidiary of Premier Fishing from Cape Town, South Africa. Two company ships fish around the islands of Inaccessible, Nightingale and Gough, while the islanders fish around Tristan. In addition to the royalty and employment, the fishing company also provides a passenger and cargo service to Cape Town.

The islanders rely to some extent for their food on their own stock, poultry and crops. Each family is limited to 2 cows and 7 sheep - to conserve grazing - and potatoes, the main crop, are grown at Patches, about two miles from Edinburgh. Other vegetables are grown privately and by the Agricultural Department. The Island Store imports and sells a variety of foodstuffs, household equipment and clothing.


The Administrator, appointed by the Governor of St. Helena, is the head of Government, which comprises 11 separate Departments. The Administrator must act in accordance with advice from the Island Council, which is composed of 8 elected members and three appointed members. A general election is held every three years. At least one member of the Council must be a woman. At the moment there are three women members. The Councillor who receives the most votes in the election is appointed Chief Islander.


The Administrator's office and the Factory have satellite communications by telephone and fax. The Administrator also has E mail. There is a radio telephone link via Cape Town Radio which connects to the international telephone service and in August 1998 a public satellite phone will be installed.

The fishing vessels bring most of the cargo and mail to the island, visiting the island six times a year. The "RMS St Helena", a passenger/cargo ship visits the island once a year, usually January, and the South African Antarctic survey ship, the "Agulhas" also calls once a year. A number of cruise ships also call.

Climate and Topography

The climate is temperate and oceanic with rapid weather changes, a wide temperature range (4 to 26 degrees C) and an average rainfall of 66 inches (1,676mm) per year.

The island is 38 square miles in area, and just over 25 nautical miles round. It is volcanic in origin (about one million years ago) and the central peak of the island rises to 2060m (6,760 ft.) from a plateau, known as the Base, which rises steeply from the shoreline to 600m (2,000ft.). A number of gullies, known locally as "gulches", lead down to sea level from the Base.

The area around Edinburgh and along the coast to Patches is grassland where the animals graze. At other points around the island are similar, but smaller plains which are used in a variety of ways by the islanders. Most are only accessible by sea.


The seas around the islands of Tristan are rich in finfish as well as lobster and octopus. Fivefinger, snoek, bluefish, stumpnose, steambras, soldier and mackerel can be found. The Yellow-nosed and Sooty Albatross nest on the Base at Tristan and on the other islands. Rockhopper penguins have established rookeries in various parts of the islands.

Fur seals, elephant seals, the rare Shepherd's Beaked whale and the Southern Right whale all visit the island. There is a rich and varied birdlife, including the Wandering Albatross, Petrels, Buntings and the unique Flightless Rail.

The people of Tristan are keenly aware of the need to live in harmony with their environment. The declaration of Gough Island as a World Heritage site and of Inaccessible as a nature reserve means that 40% of Tristan da Cunha's land is under protection. Gough Island has a Wildlife Management Plan to protect its unique environmental status.


Beliefs that Foster Peacefulness. The core values on the island are anarchy, absolute equality, and personal integrity. People who mind their own business gain prestige. Other values of the Islanders—kindness, consideration, peacefulness, and respect for the personal integrity of others—tend to shape their behavior;
anyone who might break their code would suffer a considerable loss of prestige in the community. They take pride in their lack of crime, strife, or status distinctions. There is little sense of special privilege, and people lack authority, superiority, or influence over others. Throughout Tristan Island history, survival has meant, and still means to this day, freedom and personal integrity; these are higher values to them than affluence, material comfort, or physical sustenance.

Gender Relations. The family is strongly patriarchal; wives act in a very deferential fashion in the presence of male visitors. Except for a couple of reports of spouse abuse in the 1930s, men generally treat their wives kindly.

Raising Children. Children are expected to obey their parents' directives, and they are subject to stern corporal punishment if they don't. From 1961 to 1963, while the entire population of the island was in England due to an eruption of the volcano, the Tristan children interacted with other children in the British schools in a very shy and silent manner, a result of the general tendency of the Islanders to be taciturn. They tended to be passive and to lack aggressiveness, in contrast to the British children.

Social Practices. The Tristan Islanders are normally anarchistic and highly individualistic, but their habits were tested in 1962 when the British government decided to keep them in England permanently. They wanted to return to Tristan, but they did not know how to effectively unite, form a leadership group, and take decisive actions. Faced with this crisis, they delegated some leaders to send petitions to the proper administrators, and, when they went unanswered, they held a group meeting. When the administrators realized the Islanders were determined to find their own way home, the Colonial Office backed down and permitted them to return to the island. In effect, the anarchistic values and practices of the Islanders had given way, for the first time in their history, to group action—but they soon returned to their normal ways when they got home.

Sense of Self. The islanders are very conservative and resistant to change. They relate to others with a mixture of helpfulness and deference. They attach great importance to maintaining their personal dignity, and refuse to drink alcohol, even if offered to them by visitors, because they do not want to lose control. The islanders value their independence, economic self-sufficiency, and personal freedom. They tend to repress self-assertion and evince a strong respect for others.

Cooperation and Competition. When the Tristan Islanders were forced to move to Britain in 1961, they had virtually no knowledge of competition—their peacefulness is based, at least in part, on their highly cooperative attitude toward one-another. While they are theoretically independent of one another, in practice they cooperate in a number of economic endeavors. For instance, launching a long boat into the ocean swells takes a crew of people, and bringing home a heavily loaded boatful of meat or produce from another part of the island can only be accomplished cooperatively.

Social Control. Teasing and ridicule are important parts of the socializing process on Tristan—a subtle means for asserting community moral values, informally communicating, and asserting social control. While they constantly gossip about one another, they avoid any open conflict.

Strategies for Avoiding Warfare and Violence. One of their primary strategies for avoiding violence and conflict is nonviolent resistance. A good example of this strategy occurred in the 1930s when they had to cope with an imperious, dictatorial minister who tried to run their lives. They could never confront him; they would always buckle under to his will with a meek “yes, Father,” out of respect for his power and high office. But they did perfect the practice of nonviolent resistance by accepting his orders as much as necessary to placate him—and ignoring everything else that they could get away with. They felt that his actions were simply part of the fun he enjoyed in being among them. Besides, in a few years another minister with different ideas would probably replace him.

But How Much Violence Do They Really Experience. The highest level that hostility reaches on the island is that occasionally two people will stop talking to each other, but they normally can’t maintain even that level of tension very long. Quarrels are rare and fights have not occurred in living memory. The person who lost his temper in a quarrel would have that scar on his reputation for life, while someone who diffused a tense situation with a joke would gain general respect.


Lonely Planet's Tristan da Cunha Photo Feature

Images of Tristan da Cunha

Google Images



Tristan Homepage

Last Minute Getaway!

Edinburgh, Tristan da Cunha (Inaccessible Island)

Tristan da Cunha (Wikipedia)

Chat with the locals! (Yahoogroup)

Tristan Times (News)

Tristan da Cunha (Early History)


Text retrieved on 04/26 2006 from Tristan Homepage

Text retrieved on 04/26 2006 from Encyclopedia of Selected Peaceful Societies (

Atlas retrieved on 04/20 2006 from WorldAtlas (

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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As I was pulling out of New Carlton train station on my way to New York, I said to myself, “I am going to finish this part of my story before I reach Manhattan. The cafe is already open and the smell of a freshly brewed Amtrak coffee lures me in. So, here I am, sitting alone in the cafe car on the train to the Big Apple, sipping on a cup of joe contemplating how to get this story moving

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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Luka, Mateja and Igor picked me up at Vienna airport and after a day spent in the Austrian capital, we drove back to their hometown of Maribor, Slovenia.

This was not my first time here. Back in the old Yugoslav days, when I was still in my teens, I traveled through Slovenia with a group of Red Star Belgrade soccer fans on the way to the European Champions League finals in Bari, Italy. Red Star won the trophy for the first time in history.

So, my plan was to spend a couple of days in Maribor and perhaps even go to Belgrade, Serbia to spend New Years Eve. Actually, believe it or not, more than 60 buses full of young Slovenes were heading to Belgrade within a day or two of my arrival to celebrate the New Years. Belgrade is well known for it's wild “river rafting” parties but this year I was ready to see what my northern neighbors had been doing all these years.

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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Frankly, growing up, on of my biggest fears was the wicked Slovenian winters as Slovenia sits in the chilly Julian Alps. To my surprise, however, it was a beautiful sunny day as we drove through the sleepy bare-bone vineyards hills behind Maribor. Maribor is the administrative center of Stajerska region and the second largest city in Slovenia.

I was so excited to finally meet Mateja's and Igor's families. Igor, Mateja and Luka live just outside of Maribor, in a hillside neighborhood and Mateja's parents live next door. For my first dinner, Mateja's mom, Anka, prepared amazing Slovenian Christmas specialties and we had some excellent Slovenian Refosk wine. Slovenian food is a sort of a blend between Italian, German and Balkan food. Prior to my visit, I had no idea Slovenia even had a wine industry at all. During my visit, I have learned that besides the fact that Slovenes are proud of their rich vine culture, they actually own the oldest live wine tree (StaraTrta) in the world-see bellow.

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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The next morning, Mateja laid out the plan. In the next few days I would get to see much of Maribor, the Slovenian Adriatic coast, the country's capital (Ljubljana) and the world famous Postojna Caves. At this point I had no plans for the New Years Eve and I was happy to leave it up to my dear hosts.

For the first couple of days the weather was absolutely amazing. We walked through the old town of Maribor, enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on the banks of river Drava and hiked local hills behind the Piramida. Piramida is the hillside fortress ruins of the old city. Next, we went to see the family business. Mr. Franc Krajnc, Mateja's dad, owns a Citroen dealership (Avto Plus) and service center in downtown Maribor. Mateja, Mateja's brother Mishek, and Igor, all work for the dealership.

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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On the third day of my visit, it was time to take a trip around the country. Luckily, the distances between tourist attractions are less than a couple of hours long-perfect!

Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital was our first stop. On the way, we picked up Robi and Nina and visited the Lubljana fortress and the famous old town where we had an authentic dinner in a beautiful downtown restaurant. I had a typical Slovenian dish consisting of some grilled pork sausage links and sourkraut while Luka was munching on some organic Slovenian baby food. After dinner we drove straight to the coastal town of Portoroz (Portorose), where they own a beautiful condominium with the view of the Adriatic sea. As we were getting out of the the capital the snow begun to fall and the temperature dropped drastically. It was a perfect time to escape to the coast.

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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The Slovenian coast is simply beautiful. We were up early, had some breakfast and decided to take a long walk along the coast up to Piran (Pirano). Piran is a bustling coastal town sitting in a tiny peninsula overlooking the north part of Croatian Istria. Piran's old town is as dramatic as any East Adriatic coastal town like Montenegro's Budva or even Croatia's Dubrovnik. This area of Slovenia is a very popular travel destination in the summertime. Exhausted from a long day of walking, we decided to stay in and play a balloon-ball head bounce game. This was hilarious! I do not recall laughing this hard in a long time.

The next day we decided to drive back east to Postojna Cave (Postojna Jama). Postojna is the most fascinating cave I've ever visited. Twenty kilometers of caves were carved out by the underground river. The cave was discovered by the local villager a little over a hundred years ago. Luka was very excited to see the cave as well. Recently, the Slovenian government built a mini train to make the visit as more enjoyable for tourist. Also, there is an amazing creature that lives in this cave and I had to see it. Proteus anguinus in Greek mythology represents a sea-god, and I think that is where the name of this little creature originates. I finally caught a glimpse of it on my way out, making this visit complete. As we were walking out, our little expedition was greeted by at least a foot of snow and cheerful vendors selling delicious honey and famous Slovenian pear brandy, locally known as Viljamovka. I had to take a bottle home.

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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Next thing you know, were were back in snow-covered Maribor. The last few days flew by. I was having such a great time that I decided to spend the rest of my trip here. And then a great surprise. I was invited to Igor's parent's house where I literally got 'a taste' of Bosnia. Nedo and Tatjana, prepared a typical Bosnian dish, Bosanski lonac, hard to describe but sort of Hugarian goulash meets Turkish stew. I had three plates and am dreaming of a bite right now. Slovenia truly is a cultural crossroads, where East Europe meets the West. My friend Igor moved to Slovenia with his parents from Bosnia in the early 80's. Igor and I go way back and were friends early in childhood. Actually, Igor is only 4 days younger than me and our mothers were together in the hospital. We must have waved at each across the nursery, because I can't even remember how we met.

Igor is sort of a celebrity in his hometown of Maribor. He is a boxing champion and has represented Slovenia on numerous occasions. I am so happy we found each other again. During the last Bosnian war we lost touch and hadn't heard much about each other for almost ten years. Last summer I run into Igor's uncle, Marin, in Teslic (videoBlog) and immediately called him up. Shortly after I returned from my round-the-world trip back home to Washington DC, Igor, his wife Mateja and one year old son Luka came to visit.

Back to the story. It was a Friday, December 30th, and Igor and I decided to go out and check out the night life in Maribor. I remember singing a Serbian karaoke tune on the stage in the night club. It was all I remember from that night...

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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Sretno Novo Leto! (Happy New Year!)

New Years Eve party came as the greatest surprise. Mishek, Mateja's brother invited me to join his friend in celebrating the New Years Eve in a popular fashion. Many locals chose Pohorje, a famous ski resort annually hosting the Golden Fox world championship. Pohorje sits just outside of Maribor and is the place to be for New Years Eve.

Sometimes around 8pm on New Year' eve, Mishek picked me up from Igor's place and we drove off to his girlfriends condo right in front of Pohorje. As we walked in, Mishek's friends were drinking champagne and dancing to the tunes of a Serbian turbo-folk mega star Ceca. Now this was little weird but I guess she is still very popular in the Balkans. I should have known that Slovenians getting down to Ceca would be the sign an unforgettable night.

We were all fully dressed up in ski uniforms. Since I obviously did not have my ski gear handy, Mishek let me use one of his ensembles. I was not sure what to expect. Each one of us was carrying small backpacks packed with bottles of champagne, wine and treats. I've noticed that half of my bag was filled with veal Milanese or Vienna schnitzel. At 5 am, it proved to be the best schnitzel I've ever had. I could see the lights of Pohorje and gondola movement from the balcony. After a few bottles of champagne, we took off to the mountain

PHOTOS Lubljana - Maribor - Slovenian Coast - Postojna
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It was just about 9pm. Roughly two hundred people were waiting at the gate to get into a gondola and catch a 20 minute ride up the mountain. As we ascended, the view of the city fading away under the clouds was idyllic. As I stepped out of the gondola huge camp fires appeared right in front of the hotel and the music in the background started throbbing. People jumping, dancing, screaming, singing and plain old happy to have made it this far. We were all sharing food and drinks and eagerly awaiting the countdown. It was a very cold night but the mingling body heat of hundreds of people in front of SUV size camp fires that would have made Tom Hanks on castaway island very jealous.

The setting was perfect. Fireworks covering the clear night sky as I am standing on top of the snow covered mountain drinking champagne. The champagne bubbles, as they erupt in my plastic glass mix with the clearest pine forest essence I have ever experienced. Mishek is keeping a close eye on me, making sure I am having fun.

After the fireworks, people started to descend down the ski run. Some on sleds, skies, plastic bags and who knows what else. The best thing about this descent was that the party was far from over. Every few hundred yards we would stop by a mountain cabin bar for a drink, all together about a dozen I think. Just before sunrise we finally came down to the parking lot, absolutely exhausted and ready for bed. As far as I know, everybody made it down the mountain. This was probably the best New Years Eve party I've ever been to. I must come back and do this again. Mishek, thank you your hospitality, I owe you one.

After a good day of rest, I took a train back to Austria to catch a flight home. While looking at the mountain slopes through the window I thought how fortunate I am to have and be in contact with family and friends all around the world. Thank you all for sharing your lives with me...

more trevelogues...

bosnia & h'govina
serbia & montenegro
-> serbia
-> montenegro
republic of south africa