Circus maximus

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Flag of Slovenia  ,
Monday, December 31, 2007

The first thing I needed to do today was purchase our train tickets for the journey from Ljubljana to Prague. I already knew there were none of the cheap tickets, but I wanted to see what other options might be available. Cameron had woken up feeling terrible so wisely chose to stay at home. The rest of us rugged up and headed out into the cold - very cold this morning and walked the 300 or so meters to the station. The woman behind the ticket desk confirmed that there were no Praha Speziale tickets left and was sympathetic when I asked her the cheapest way. What she said was that there is a ticket called the 'City Star' which is a return ticket. 'But I only want to go one way' I told her. 'Yes', she said, 'but it is cheaper this way. Many people do this and throw away the return ticket'. Sure enough, she calculated the cost of a one-way ticket and return City Star tickets and it was 150 euro cheaper to buy the return ticket. I told you she was helpful!
Next we went to the tourist information that is located within the train station to ask about what we might be able to do today. They were also very helpful and printed out a list of events and activities that were on offer. We spotted a circus that sounded interesting, but that wasn't on until later that night. What to do during the day? Ljubljana is quiet on a Sunday. All of the shops are closed, so the usual option on a freezing cold day of hopping from one shop to the next wasn't available. The cinema seemed like a good idea so we consulted our map of Ljubljana and noted where the cinemas are located. We walked from one to another, finding them all closed. After a while I resorted to ringing the tourist information centre and they confirmed that films are not dubbed in Slovenia (that was promising), but that the cinemas in the centre would be closed today. Grrr.
As we walked and progressively got colder we agreed that we needed to stop as a matter of urgency. We found Slon café near the main (Preseren) square and found a nice table near the window where we could watch people passing by trying to hide from the cold. Our initial idea was to have a coffee and then go out again but wafter we had finished we thought that the menu seemed tempting enough for us to eat there as well. We enjoyed a tasty bowl of soup, then luxuriated in the warmth of the café, checking out the other patrons and generally stretching out the time before we had to leave. Then Jean had a brainwave. 'Let's have another cup of coffee'. We all agreed instantly and found a way to stay inside for another half hour or so.
One of the activities listed was free ice skating which interested the girls a lot so we went in search of the rink. We found it, deserted, near the Republic Square (which used to be called Revolution Square). The girls were disappointed but we were a little more philosophical about it (by which I mean we were glad not to have to stand for half an hour or more in the sub zero temperatures while we watched the girls skate.
We had decided that we wanted to go to the circus - something to brighten up the day. We found the venue, an entertainment complex just near the ice skating, which was a stroke of luck. The sign on the door told us to use the employee's entrance. I asked the man behind the desk where we could buy tickets. 'Sprechen sie Deutch?' He asked me. 'No, sorry' I told him. Despite this he rattled off some directions in German, but used enough arm waving and gesticulations (he must know that language too) to convey where we needed to go. We followed the directions and found the ticket office. Closed. Bummer. We read the sign on the door which told us that the ticket office would be open one hour before the event.
Not confident of our chances we thought it would be a good idea to find an Internet café to book tickets online. On our way we found DaBuDa, a Thai restaurant that I had read about. We looked in and it looked so inviting we were anxious for dinnertime to arrive.
We wandered for about an hour, failing to find an Internet café but in the process finding some interesting sights, including an outdoor performance aimed at children. Families of Ljubljana folk were standing watching the show. It struck me that if you lived in the climate you must get used to this cold. Either that or you just get on with things. We gave up on the Internet café, realising that there wouldn't be many tickets sold between then and when the ticket office opened.
As luck would have it, the time had come when we could respectably eat dinner (I think it was 5 o'clock) so we headed back to DaBuDa. I rang Cameron to check whether he was up to joining us but he was still feeling bad. The food was excellent, the tastes just right. It was so pleasant having a delicious Thai meal. Jean encouraged us to have a Mojito, which we did. We ate our curries, then had another Mojito and got into the rhythm of the evening.
When 6.30 came around and the ticket office was open we were in the middle of our dessert so I headed down there. There was a queue waiting to buy tickets which made me feel depressed. 'If there are any tickets left those people will get them' I said to myself. By the time I got to the front of the queue I wasn't very hopeful, but not only were there tickets available, there were actually five good seats together still for sale. I snapped them up. At 30 euros each I thought it was a bit expensive for a circus. Little did I know.
I went back to the restaurant to finish off my dessert and tried to trick the others that there were no tickets, but they didn't believe me. About a half hour before the show we headed to the venue and noticed all the people dressed to the nines. For the circus! I felt a bit underdressed as we cloaked our jackets among all the fur and leather. We took our seats and the show began. We were treated to Cirque Éloize & Teatro Sunil, a 'circus' show called Nebbia that was simply amazing. I'm sure it could rival Cirque De Soliel. I now realised what a bargain we had. This kind of show would cost well over $100 in Australia. It was the kind of show that you wished would never end. The contortionist actually turned his body inside out somehow. The acrobats were awe inspiring and the clowns just the right amount of silliness.
The show finished at 10 o'clock and we had to walk home in the cold. A sign on the side of the building informed us that it was -5 degrees celsius yet it seemed slightly warmer than it had earlier in the day.
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