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Slovenia From Above · Was just clean­ing out the cam­er­a, and there was this pho­to tak­en dur­ing the climb out of Ljubl­jana last week; it suf­fer­s, ob­vi­ous­ly, from be­ing tak­en with a pock­et cam­era through an air­plane win­dow, but is still kind of pret­ty ...
Koper-Capodistria · It’s in Slove­nia, and its Slovene name is Kop­er, so why the hy­phen­ation? Wel­l, Capodis­tria is the Ital­ian ver­sion, and since the city is jammed right up against a cor­ner of Italy and there are lots of Ital­ians there, and it’s of­fi­cial­ly bilin­gual, the com­bined form feels about right. It’s a nice enough place, and I took lots of pic­tures ...
Pleasant Surprises · I am gen­er­al­ly pes­simistic be­fore each trip, ex­pect­ing the worst. But it’s not al­ways like that. Item: In Prague the pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem is ef­fi­cien­t, easy to un­der­stand, and cheap; I paid 500Kč, more or less $25, to taxi from the air­port to town, and 20Kč, more or less $1, for the train/­tram ride back, which was a lit­tle slow­er but stress-free. And there are more good-looking wom­en on tram­s. Item: On the way from Prague to Ljubl­jana, Czech Air­lines gave me the best air­line lunch I’ve had in years; a tasty cold-cuts plate with some cheeses you’ve nev­er heard of and an unbelievably-fresh sal­ad. Item: Pret­ty well all the beer in Prague is ex­cel­len­t. Item: In Slove­ni­a, plan to drive if you get the chance. The high­ways (at least the airport-Ljubljana-Koper se­quence) are out­stand­ing, bet­ter than most Cana­di­an road­s, and while they’re toll roads the tolls are low, the moun­tains you drive through are love­ly, and fi­nal­ly (if I un­der­stood the sig­nage cor­rect­ly) it’s au­to­bahn style, as in no speed lim­it; my poor lit­tle Opel made alarm­ing sounds on up­hill turns at 160kph as I cack­led ma­ni­a­cal­ly. [Up­date: They tell me it’s 130kph, good thing I didn’t meet an in­dus­tri­ous pub­lic ser­vant late on Fri­day evening.] Al­so the signs are easy to read, I nev­er had to look at my la­bo­ri­ous Mapquest print­out­s. Item: Koper-Capodistria is way cool, worth a whole on­go­ing frag­men­t. Item: Slove­ni­ans seem un­rea­son­ably nice, gen­er­al­ly. Item: Slove­nia is un­rea­son­ably cheap; it just can’t last, among oth­er things it’s too close to Italy. Item: The Slove­ni­an “Tolar” runs about 200 to the dol­lar; it’s soon to be re­placed by the € I imag­ine; but any­how, when you take mon­ey out of a bank ma­chine and look at your re­main­ing bal­ance, you feel like Bill Gates. Item: I got to Ljubl­jana air­port some­time be­tween 6 and 7AM with breath­ing time be­fore the flight, so I got an apfel­strudel & cof­fee at the smoky stand-up bar in the harsh pre-dawn air­port light. It was a rev­e­la­tion, the fill­ing eye-wateringly tart and the pas­try fluffy yet chewy, with cin­na­mon and oth­er com­plex ac­cents. Then Adria (Slove­ni­an air­ways) gave me a damn fine cheese sand­wich on fresh-baked bread on the way to Frank­furt.
NetBeans 5 Beta · Yes­ter­day I was in fly-on-the-wall meet­ing in Prague when they de­cid­ed to ship the 5.0 Be­ta; to­day I’m sit­ting in pina, an In­ter­net café in Kop­er, Slove­nia where the WiFi is free as long as you drink, and just heard that the but­ton has been pushed. I don’t have time now to tell my in­ter­est­ing NetBeans sto­ries; I’ll post them here, but in the mean­time, go check out that be­ta.
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