Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Slovenia in the news...

Just happened across this interesting story, guess I should watch out for brown bears...

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) – Slovenian police sealed off an area of Ljubljana on Thursday to hunt down a wild brown bear, the first seen roaming the capital in decades.

The bear was seen on a hill called Roznik, which is only about a mile away from the center of the city and usually full of joggers and hikers, Tone Lesnik, a spokesman of the national Forest Service, told Reuters.

"The police have sealed off the hill and we have five people looking for the bear, believed to be about two years old," he said. If found, the bear will be tranquilized and returned to his natural habitat, he said.

"It is surprising he managed to come to Ljubljana without being hurt by a car," Lesnik said, adding the bear was believed to have come from the forests west of the capital.

Each year about two bear attacks on humans are registered in Slovenia. The last took place last year about 20 miles southeast of Ljubljana, when a female bear with cubs attacked a jogger.

In recent years bears have been moving closer to villages and cities in search of food as the bear population has been rising, Lesnik said.

Slovenia has between 430 and 490 brown bears and the south of the country, covered with thick woods, has the highest density of brown bears in Europe.

Each year some 25 bears die in car and railway accidents. Last week the environment ministry said hunters will be allowed to kill 70 bears this year, down from 75 in 2008, in order to keep the bear population steady.

(Reporting by Marja Novak, Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic and Paul Casciato)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Random facts

Slovenia is apparently home to a world dog sledding event.

And the largest Slovenian city outside Slovenia is Cleveland, Ohio.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why Slovenia?

Q: Where are you going in May?

Me: Slovenia.

Q: Why?

Me: Because.

I probably have answered just like that before, but the real thought process went more like this: I was in Peru having dinner with a British friend I had met in Huaraz. I was telling him about my plan to visit at least one country a year and I needed to pick the next one. He recommended Eastern Europe and Slovenia in particular.

At the time I had ruled out Europe for cost, but he pointed out that many of the former Soviet or Yugoslavian countries were cheaper and just as great. And he was right.

I Googled Slovenia (anyone who knows me knows I Google everything -- seriously, everything) and flipped through a Lonely Planet book and I was hooked.

New conversations go like this, What's in Slovenia?

Me: Castles, architecture, mountains, culture, history.

Q: Where is it?

Me: Borders Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Italy.

So I don't really know what I'll find and it will certainly be a shift after the two-weeks I spent winging it through Peru last summer. But, I know that 'dober' means good in Slovene and that the weather should be great in May, and I'll go from there!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Slovenia, here I come.

On May 4, I'll be headed to the Atlanta airport for a flight to Ljubljana, with a long layover in Paris. Can anyone say international multi-tasking?

I'm not sure yet what I'll do or where all I'll go, but I'm told Slovenia is the size of Massachusetts, so in two weeks, I should be able to see it all. Plus, a side trip or two to Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia maybe. 

Here's a map to give you some idea of geography. 


I'll be traveling again soon, to Slovenia this year, and I'll post updates and photos here.