Final-ly

This is my last full day here and today the sun came out and the sky was blue. So I took the opportunity to run around and do the things that make for pretty pictures.

I climbed the eight million stairs to Bled Castle and took the requisite beautiful view photos. The iron smith there makes the best dragons. Appropriately fierce with strong wings and long curving tails they are poetry in black metal. Assuredly not dragons you’d want to meet. I leaned the story of Slovenia and dragons. It goes all the way back to Jason and the Argonauts. Supposedly Jason slew a fearsome creature in the marshes of Ljubljana and that creature has come down to us as a dragon. Of course I’ve also heard the St. George story. Maybe they just like dragons. Beats yeti for coolness in my book. The castle also had a replica of the Gutenberg printing press. The first Slovenian language book was printed on a Gutenberg press and smuggled into the country in defiance of law.

The boat ride was my other must do when the weather is nice. Carefully made flat-bottomed wooden boats are rowed by a standing forward-facing boatman to the only island in Slovenia. There is a church on that island that’s old but the site had been a religious site since before Christianity. If you can make the bell ring three times with one pull, your wishes will come true. There was a wedding today. I bet the groom carried his bride up all 99 stairs to assure happiness and probably gave that bell rope a good tug too.

It was a beautiful day to end my trip. At long last Slovenia looked the way I had imagined it, as pretty as the pictures. In ten days I have been to the sea, seen snow capped mountains, visited the city and small villages, passed farms and high rises and eaten very very well. My transportation has never been more than 8 Euros a trip. And I got to go to Italy.

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