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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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