5.13.2007

The day after.

Although the ache has departed, I still feel as though I've been sleeping in a coffin. No, the ache is gone - all that's left are stiff joints.

As some of you might know, yesterday Lisa and I attended the Liberation Day walk, a thirty-five kilometre jaunt that circumnavigates the fair city of Ljubljana. The trail marks what was originally a barbed wire fence set up by the Germans Italians during World War Two. Of course, the occupiers didn't exactly build it themselves, there were plenty of locals who would do that at gunpoint, of course. You can read a more detailed history here, plus an excellent report of the day.

We started at eight in the morning. The weather was agreeable: cloudy and cool with a little sun poking out out of the hazy clouds. There was already a small crowd forming at the first check point (there were eight in total, each checkpoint stamped a booklet you received at the start and wrote down your time of arrival) when we showed up, and we met our traveling companions as well.

A couple of small events occurred during the hike. We walked past the former Slovenian president. I only caught a glimpse of him, unfortunately. A kindly gentleman was offering borovničke and schnapps at a small table beside the trail. The schnapps had a powerful aroma and small bits of grass were floating in the bottom of the plastic cup, which I ignored as I downed it. It was like jet fuel for humans. Very enjoyable. For me, seeing the city's periphery was the most enlightening.

We walked through quiet neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city, some with handsome and orderly gardens in their backyards, surrounded by old stone walls. Most of the trails were flat and straight, flanked by trees on either side and beyond them fields of tall grass and wildflowers. We also braved the industrial zone, which, really, looks like most industrial zones I've seen. Except, of course, everything is in Slovene - well, I did notice how clean the zone was, and quiet.

The last five kilometres were the most challenging. The first twenty kilometres were fine, but by the time we reached the last stretch my hips, feet and thighs were on fire. We heard the check points closed at 5:00, and we had roughly half an hour to finish the final five kilometres. I picked up my pace, ignoring the searing pain that was coursing through me, and somehow, with the help of Croatian brandy (?) and yelling quotes from army movies, I dragged my abused body to the finish line. We did go out for drinks later that night, but I could only manage about two beer before calling it a night.

Our camera is not cooperating at the moment, hence the lack of pictures. Soon, my friends, soon.

7 comments:

pengovsky said...

Croatian brandy, a.k.a. "Travarica"

Jay said...

Excellent.

Iva said...

Hm, I wonder where this particular travarica ended up ...

Lisa said...

Hey, yah, it never reappeared that night! I thought we were supposed to conduct some kind of ceremony with it.

Iva said...

Do I smell conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

It was the Italians who put up the barb wire, not Germans.

Jay said...

Thanks for the correction.