Srečno 2012

I spent most of New Year’s Day face-down on the living room futon. I woke up still wearing the two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, and three sweaters I’d worn out to celebrate, and it was all I could do to ditch a pair of pants, eat a sandwich, and go back to sleep.

Our NYE started early, walking to the city center of Nova Gorica where many of Boštjan’s friends gather at the local record shop every year to share some beers and food beginning at 1pm. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to check out the selection of music which was light on the Pop and heavy on the Southern and Hard Rock. The local music scene pretty much only consists of everyone going to see Bruce Springsteen. Next summer.



Around 4pm we left and walked to Sebastjan and Janja’s house where they so graciously hosted a delicious traditional Slovene dinner for us all. Everyone taught me some essential Slovene NYE vocab: Hvala (thanks), Srečno novo leto (happy New Year), na zdravie (cheers) and I also whipped out some of the things I brushed up on at home: to je moje pivo (that’s my beer) & kje je božiček (where is Santa?) Trust me on this one. Learn to ask for Santa in a foreign language and you’ll have the locals laughing for hours.
Sebastjan and Janja also surprised me with gifts which was extra meaningful since they were the only Christmas presents under the tree I had this year.


Many drinks and an overwhelming amount of food later, we walked back to the city center where we reconnected with many people we’d seen earlier at the record store and the thousands of Novia Gorica residents who had come out to celebrate. There wasn’t a collective New Year countdown which confused me, but nonetheless there were fireworks and champagne (the essentials that really matter.) Every few minutes someone was refilling my cup. I’d already lost count long ago.



When I woke up in the morning the end of the night seemed only slightly blurry. Boštjan and I had stopped to visit his parents on the way home. It wasn’t until later that the details started coming back to me. “Did we eat pasta salad with your mom?” was the first thing. Then later, “Um, did I dance in the kitchen with your dad?” Yes. Yes, I did.

New Year’s day was meant for resting, so that’s exactly what we did. I think every single Lethal Weapon movie has aired back to back and I’ve been staring at Mel Gibson for hours. Tomorrow is my last day of the trip and I’m starting to feel the anxiety of getting back to work, looking at my bank statement after 18 days on the euro, and all the other stresses of home, but this trip was the perfect length because I was also gone long enough to mentally check out and have a vacation from thinking about that stuff. I’ll be home in exactly 48 hours. I’m loving it here, but I’m ready to get back in the swing of things. 2012 is going to be huge. Bring it.

Venezia, poco poco

Venice ended up being the most touristy stop on this trip by far, but the reason for it is obvious: there is no place else like it. I stepped off the train into a picture postcard.


My friend Boštjan drove from nearby Nova Gorica to meet me in Venice. We spent the day wandering the maze of sidewalks and canals that make up the town and stopping for coffee more than once (the air was piercingly cold, and I like caffeine.) The consensus is to not bother dining out in this town as it is extremely overpriced and has a reputation for having the worst food in Italy, so we ate some sandwiches that he brought on the steps along the main canal instead. Boštjan and I walked the city until it got dark, letting ourselves get a little lost at times and just taking it all in. Every turn is different, each canal more photogenic than the last.



It’s hard to find the words to write about a place that mostly speaks through it’s beauty, so I’ll quit trying and let the photos speak for themselves. Venice is a great place to take things slow, especially after visiting a huge and busy city like Rome. It doesn’t mean I was any less tired though. We got in the car around 5:30 and I slept the entire drive to Slovenia.