A trip back through the years

October 29, 2005

We woke up on the wrong side of the bunk bed today. There was a group of 7 young travelers staying in the same side of the hostel as us who checked in last night. As Craig updated the website I read up on Slovenia and hit the hay pretty early. At 2:30am the entire hostel filled up with the groups screams and laughter and I turned over and tried to fall back to sleep. Somehow I did until 5:30am when the group came home for the second time and proceeded to throw their shoes down the small hallway outside our door and that's when I hit my limit. As politely as possible I asked the guys to find their room and go to it. Staying with strangers and living in a hostel can be very trying especially if you are unfortunate enough to be dorming with those who party all night or are unaware of how easily sound carries in a small space. The sun came up a couple hours later and I was the first to hit the shower and wanted to get out the door asap. Of course I didn't assume we'd get an apology and they didn't surprise me with one. And you all thought traveling was a bed of roses huh? :)

Now on to the better part of the day. We had read that the town was having a Centennial celebration all weekend and today there was a farmers market, art sale and a historic wedding taking place. We headed to the old town and had a great time watching the market in full speed with the locals grabbing bags of flowers, fruit, bread and vegetables. Passing by the various stands made us envious of the fresh food that was available and wished more cities in the states had such options.

I had also read that after the wedding the couple would cut their cake and 1,000 revelers would get a piece. So being on a budget and loving cake resulted in Craig and I scoping out the most strategic spot in the square. As we waited for the wedding couple to make their way over to the church we watched the entertainment of the folk dancers and band.

Sometimes just sitting back and watching a city gives you the best feel for it. As the couple made their way to the square the band noted their arrival and some dancing and general merriment followed before their ceremony in the church.

I was on lookout for the cake but couldn't see any signs of a 1,000 piece cake anywhere and that's just not something you can hide. Finally the couple came out of the church and they proceeded with the tossing of the bouquet and on to the main event...cutting the cake!!!

Finally the announcer said "torta" and I followed the eyes of everyone in the crowd to the cake being brought down the street very carefully by 6 men. With the zoom lens on I could see the fear in most of their eyes as one wrong step on the cobblestone street could mean disaster. Fortunately the cake made it to the stage in one piece and the couple had the first piece and then it got a bit crazy.

As I've told Craig before I could write a Master's Thesis in Sociology and Psychology from observing and dealing with so many strangers on this trip and this situation was a doozy. As the pieces started to get handed out you could see the faces of the crowd shifting from all smiles to all business quite quickly. I looked over at Craig and said, I don't want to fight for a piece of cake. We watched the process and since it seemed that there would be plenty to go around I jumped into the crowd to tough it out. Craig kept the camera on me and this was one of those moments of our trip when all we had to do was look at each other and start laughing.

Men and women of all ages were pushing, thrusting, jabbing and shoving each other to get closer to the all important piece of cake. It didn't seem to matter your age or size, everyone was out for the cake. At one point this elderly woman was getting crushed but no one gave her any space. The funniest thing about it was that once she got her cake she turned around and start eating it right then and there in the middle of this huge crowd. I couldn't believe my eyes, you'd think she'd want to get out of there, but the cake was beckoning. I grabbed my piece and Craig and I shared it and weren't really impressed, but that wasn't the point I guess. Sometimes playing the game is kind of fun. The crowd ended up dying down and Craig got a piece as well. What was really important to us was the free disposable forks we got for the road. Once we had enough of the festival we went to the National Gallery as it was free on Saturdays after 2:00. The main gallery was closed for renovations so we were only in there for 15 minutes. We then went to the Tivoli Park and took a nice hike through the woods behind the park's castle. Upon our arrival back to the hostel our "friendly" dorm mates were cooking dinner which resulted in a huge mess and we went to our room and sulked a bit. We decided to stay one more night to plan the rest of Slovenia and Croatia and when I went to tell the owner he said he had to talk to me. Come to find out he had overbooked the hostel so he asked if we would be willing to sleep in his office for free tonight. Free sounded good so he put down two mattresses and we caught up on some free internet time as well. The walls were a bit thicker in the office as well so we actually got some sleep tonight. You just never know what the day will bring on the road.

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