Take any opportunity to meet with the locals, as they are some of the nicest people I have met on the planet. Very friendly, very relaxed, and generous of time, spirit and money. I made more good friends in Ljubljana in a few days than a year spent in England. A great people and a great country.
Strangely enough, it can be meeting the one bad apple that reminds you of how good the rest of the people are, and we met one on one of my recent trips to Ljubljana. This isn't a fondest memory at all, but what can you do with these illogical VT headings!
Fondest memory: We went out and had a meal, and drank a little too much wine. When we left the restaurant we stood around taking pictures, admiring the views, and watching curiously as the locals had fun in the snow. Eric and Morten (the Danish level designer) decided to roll up a snow ball, and as it got bigger and bigger they drafted me and our Canadian development director into helping them.
We pushed it out onto one of the pedestrian bridges near the central Preseren square at the Trimosti (three bridges). People were laughing and talking to us in English, and taking pictures of our antics. It was a very nice, relaxed atmosphere. Morten was trying to rope some of the locals into the stupidity, but they politely declined, prefering to chat with us between breaks in the pushing.
Then, as we got onto the bridge, Morten asked blindly for help off a passing Slovene. He staggered over to us, clearly blind drunk. He flopped onto the now 5 foot high snowball, and draped his blood soaked hands across it. This guy was clearly not your typical friendly Slovenian.
He slurred in surprisingly good English: "You want me to help you! How about you help me! I'm Slovenian!" He isolated Morten from the group and started yammering at him like aggressive drunks do, forcing him to back away with finger poking. We immediately flanked him, creating a semi-circle around Morten, and Gavian asked him in his typically cool, calm Canadian way what we could do for him.
He looked around, and realised that the guys he was with originally had disappeared, and suddenly found him self alone and isolated himself. He said a few more idiotically drunken things, made his excuses and staggered off in the direction of the castle, and likely home.
Not a big deal, but it did spoil the fun, and the pleasant feeling we had about the place. Not enough to spoil the general mood and good feeling about the country, though.
Polona and Igor are the friends we made on our last two trips to Slovenia. We first met in Ljubljana on our first trip and Polona was kind enough to spend two days with us and show us her home. Now we come back for the third time and return to Ljubljana to visit our friends, you can see Zohara, Polona, Me, little Marko (look a little lower between me and Tal ^L^), Tal and Igor where we stopped for a drink along the river.
It is so fantastic to return to a country you have visited and realize that your trip has been made that much richer by having made friends there.