Relax, Don't Do It

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Maribor, Slovenia
Yesterday (Friday) I had a nice breakfast of bread, yogurt, ham and fried eggs (prepared by Gregor), and then he had to go into town for some shopping, so he gave me a lift. Before breakfast, I got up and took a walk around the region and saw the Church of the Virgin Mary, built back in 1519. I'm not sure if it's still in use, but it's gorgeous. The cemetery around the church is even nicer. All of the gravestones are in marble, with flowers and candles lit around them. I'm guessing it must be a big deal and quite an honor to be buried there. It was a nice walk, and the area is so green and full of vineyards. 

I stopped at the Maribor tourist office, and they told me there was a walking tour at 5 pm and a river tour at 6 pm . I thought I would see how I felt at that time, or if I was still in town. Because I'm a good 4 miles from the town center (not to mention mostly uphill), once I go back to my room, I'm kind of stuck there. It's ok, though, as it forces me to do stuff while in Maribor.

I grabbed a cappuccino and bought a few things at the outdoor market stalls (all handmade) and then decided to take the public bus near Pahorje Mountain. The guy at the restaurant the night before told me the 6 and 18 bus take you there, and I can pay the driver. I just have to say "one ticket, please." Seemed easy enough, except I couldn't find a bus stop or anyone to answer my question, especially the woman at the magazine stand who was quite b*tchy. But, one person in all of Slovenia who is rude cannnot ruin it for me and is almost expected. I took the #6 bus and once I got to the base of Pahorje, I realized the cable car didn't start to run until 2 pm, and it was 1:15. I grabbed some pizza at a local place which much to my dismay, was packed and had great reviews on Trip Advisor . I bought my life ticket, and didn't realize until I got to the top of the mountain that it's busy for ski season and in summer. Right now, not much is going on or is open. But, I did see a cool, slightly broken church and the views were great. I bet the skiing is amazing. 

I took the #6 bus back to the city center, grabbed some pumpkin soup (pumpkin and chestnuts are widely grown here), and decided to the walking tour after all. My guide, Blanka, was a retiree, and really delightful. I was the only one on the tour, so I really got some one-on-one time. She told me a lot about Maribor and its important in WW2 because it was close to Austria and the Drava River. Hitler used it a lot as a base. She also said that a lot of young Slovenians leave the country every year to go study or to live somewhere else, and only about half come back. I could tell this made her sad, because what will happen to the population in 10, 20, 30 years? We ended at the Old Vine House, where the world's oldest vine is still growing at 450 years old! I sampled some excellent muscat and bought some pumpkin seed oil to take home . She offered to give me a ride back to the hotel, which was so nice! Of course, she didn't want any money. She also showed me the library, which was behind City Hall. It was still open, and I was able to take a few photos. Public computers and wifi is available at all of their libraries. Now I know where to go when I need to charge my phone! 

These last few days have been odd, as I really didn't have any set plans. That is weird for me, and unnerving at times. I always say how I want to relax, but when I have the opportunity, it's really difficult. So today, maybe I will just sit and have coffee all day. I toyed with the idea of taking a day trip to Ptuj, a cute town nearby that I could get to by train or bus in 45 minutes, but I will probably stay here. It looks like some wine events might be happening, and I really enjoy strolling in Maribor. Blanka said everyone knows each other, and they are like family.  

Thanks again for reading!