Padova & Ljubljana

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Watched soccer and moved on

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Did I say don't drive in Poland and Slovakia....add Italy, at this time as well. 400 k on toll roads took just over 6 hours.They also seem not to work on the weekends. Are they returning to the socialist era when few worked and wanted to be paid a fortune? Don't assume either a credit card works everywhere or that toll booths are manned. 

Padua (Founded in 1183 BC and Patavium for the Romans and Livy's birthplace) was our stop point because i couldn't get a reasonably priced hotel in Bolzano this weekend. Most people will know of Padua's fame based on St Anthony of Christiandom. We decided, after getting settled and not being able to watch the Women's Word Cup 3rd place playoff between Sweden and France, to do Padua before dark.

It's a mixed place. Some wonderful buildings from centuries ago in this walled city near Venice (40 k). Apart from the fame coming from St Anthony it's university is almost 800 years old (founded in 1222) and had Galileo as a lecturer. The Prato della Vallee features lots of Italian heroes. Scene of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, it has an amazing history over the past three millennia.

What Dante's connection is to Padua I don't know other than there are Dante Societies wherever there are Italian communities.

After visiting the Basilica for Santa Guistina (whomever she was) we re then denied entry into the Basilica of St Anthony as Susan was considered to be immodestly dressed (baring her shoulders) according to the rules of that particular church. I was affronted and demanded the priest attend to be challenged and I ranted and raved as others were also denied including some early teen girls. I was furious by this imbecilic rule and inflamed by it's absolute impropriety. The guard and enforcer of this imbecilic rule pleaded no understanding and in the end to save Susan further embarrassment I walked away inflamed and needed a coffee, a beer, and a slice of Margarita pizza to calm me down. Unquestionably unless the church is a city owned museum I can't see how they can lay down rules about modesty which are inconsistent with other churches in the city, country or globe. If I could write Italian i would write to the city's mayor and newspaper, I'm so incensed. Can anyone help me with this?

Anyway, a visit to the nearby supermarket for supper met our dinner needs along with our Argentine malbec purchased from Oberau earlier this week. 

Tomorrow, we put Padua behind us and head for Ljubljana and hopefully by better roads and hospitality.

Jul 17 - The drive was fast and easy and no traffic jams.

According to  iguide (http://iguide.travel/Ljubljana#/Map) Ljubljana is a place with no world famous places or anything and so instead of ticking off places you should just wander and enjoy the town. I had read that yesterday and after we arrived and unpacked, our hostess Minka suggested we lunch in Bled and then come back later and wander around the city centre and dinner there and then come back to watch the football final.

 In 1988 I was here and wanted to visit Bled but did not have time. Today, we did and it was worth every minute heading to Bled, a winter ski resort popular with Austrians, Italians and Germans allike. 

 As Minka said to us later over a bottle of Bordeaux in her villa front garden, smaller towns and countries are so much easier. The drive to bled is only 59k and about 1/2 hour easily. It's almost like a Swiss village on a lake. It's so gorgeous. On the highway road signs it is not mentioned until about 10 k before the exit. While it was having a festival so too was Ljubljana and we saw some of it when we watched a jazz performance in town.Our later wandering revealed an artistic city rich in history and a culture not Yugoslavian and with enviable simplicity. The US embassy hosed in a simple but very Slovenian property is nestled in an area that one can only imagine is why Hapsburgs might have found themselves in this area in the past. Presumably Sarajevo is similar to Bled or is more a spa town... I don't know...maybe we'll venture there from Split later.

The magical work by Matej Filipcic entitled "Marie Antoinette" ( http://matejfilipcic.com/en/projects/theatre/home ) is another fascinating piece and, like the rest of Europe, is part of Europe's claim to be the cultural centre of the Earth. In Hong Kong there is so much missing. Now I read today even Ho Tung Garden might not be saved and fall also to the mighty command of money. So there will be only The Governor's House, assuming the current fool CE is not succeeded by someone afraid of the colonial past of Hong Kong.

Grrrr!!!

Tomorrow Zagreb for a couple of days after clearing some things with Slovenia customs and a lunch at a castle recommended by Minka.
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