This nicely rhyming title of an anthem from the punk era in the local dialect translates as “Ljubljana is sick.” Not at all and not all of it, some would say, and they are right, and yet my stroll threw me in a black hole.
A few days ago I did a round of Old Ljubljana as part of my return visit from Tuscany where I now live, and ended up in the “Trubarjev antikvariat”, an old favourite used-book shop, commiserating with the seller who told me that every time he exited for a smoke, he felt like he had landed in a black hole.
Yes, that’s what it is, Ljubljana, now: black hole. A huge black hole on display, promising and possibly delivering everything to everybody for money.
I won’t go into details, you have all seen them, Generic Capitals that could be anywhere: hamburger joints with the vegan burger option, soulless souvenir shops, brand outlets, organic ice-cream vendors. Vulgar availability of what sells.
I wouldn’t take it as hard if I hadn’t grown up on these streets. There was the shop where they recorded “Ten” on tape for me in 1991. And a gostilna (osteria, Italians would say) where I often had some wine with my poet friend. There were poetry readings in the street. You could pass with the bicycle. You could still hear Slovenian spoken and sellers would not treat you like a special guest star just for being able to speak in their native tongue with you for a change.
All this is what I meant to say to my sister, but I wrote only “sick” in a message to her during my stroll and so she thought I had fallen ill. I might have caught it, the illness of the soul. And the next day I could barely stand on my right foot. Heat, asphalt, wrong shoes and a fast walk to meet my family for čevapčići in time – Achilles tendon killers.
Nothing a bunch of crazy Bosnians couldn’t fix at their concert in Koper the next day, ending with a familiar song in the familiar language. 🙂
Back to Ljubljana. Truth be told, as a local friend said on my first day: “You can work around the tourists. They don’t explore.” They have been assigned a few streets in the dead centre, but there are still many areas with continuous peace, quiet and beauty. Photo evidence of this in an upcoming post, but today some views from this walk to illustrate my state of mind. I was trying hard to establish where I was.
Not that I wouldn’t find my way to the centre without him, but I wish to blame it on Tom Plevnik Photography and his beautiful door which I was searching for in vain in Stari trg (but now I know where it is for the next time). 😉
Click on any photo for a better view. Explanations and translations in the captions.
Photo: © signature mmm