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SIOL.NET #2. Não é cedo demais para saltar para o mar pela primeira vez no ano

posted Oct 14, 2019, 2:43 PM by Sardinha Media
I am very happy to share the second episode of my own view about Slovenija, and what makes me so deeply connected with this wonderful country. Have a look, share, let me know what you think. Soon there will be a new episode by the sea. Stay tuned :)


For the non slovene readers here is the (slightly different) english version:

It is not too early to jump into the sea

I spend most of my youth living in a small town by the sea named Caparica, 10km away from Lisbon in the other side of river Tagus in Portugal. Thus, a very important part of me is related with the imaginary of coast landscape, surf and beach bars and feet in the sand. So much that I made sure to have my wedding party in a beach bar back in 2014 in a mix of Slovene and Portuguese cultures as guests. That is why this time I wanted to explore this connection by visiting the coast of Slovenia. I often drive down to the coast to get some of that home feeling, specially when I am a bit homesick in those long foggy Ljubljana days.

On the way to the coast we decided to make a stop in Lipica to visit the famous horse farms. It was my first time there but I heard much about it. When I was still in Lisbon learning Slovene language at the Filosofska Fakulteta of the University of Lisbon, I used to participate often in the organization of Slovene culture related events with the lecture and friend Mateja Rožman. Once we organized a poetry event where one of the Slovene guests mentioned the well known idea that, in the Austro-Hungarian times “the royalty spoke german, the employees spoke Hungarian, and the beautiful white horses of the empire spoke Slovene”. This is in my opinion a very nice complement to the Slovene identity. 

And when we walk through the large entrance doors we go back in time. These lines of horses were chosen between the finest Iberian horses by the Emperor and, at the time, those were the most famous horses in the world. The choice of location was not by chance, it reminded the emperor of the warm landscape of the Iberian Peninsula. To be so close to those horses is a gratification by itself and I wish I did know already how to horse ride to make this experience even more significant. I guess this is something for the future. The space is very well organised, and my son was loving it also, interacting with the animals and wanting to bring some of those home. The museum is very nice and permits the visitor to walk through the history of the farm through all those centuries, and to learn about it all.

After that we drive down to the coast to maybe the last of the fisherman villages in Slovenia, Izola. Unlike others, here you can still feel the true coastline spirit within both landscape and people. When I was about to move to Slovenia, and the country was about to get in the EU, I remember to see a series of short documentaries about the new EU neighbour countries of Austria. The topic of the Slovene contribution was the life of fisherman and the several problems of the profession due to the short coast line and the threat of the mass italian fishing industry so close by. Nevertheless, Slovenia has such an industry and also a good reference on aquaculture - Fonda - which I looked into while working at a related EU technology project when I was working at the Institute Jozef Stefan.

Sitting at the Parangal restaurant for lunch by the sea is something I truly appreciate. The fantastic fish soup, a dish appreciated by every person that lived by the sea and knows how to distinguish the tourist menu from the real deal. The fresh dagnje that I learned to like in Slovenia (where I come from we have a large diversity of shells to chose from), where the souce is key (just like most of the shells and even the famous snails dish that you can eat in Portugal). And the fresh fish from the sea directly out of the grill accompanied with the classic blitva with potatoes and a glass of Malvasia. Yes, I could definitely live here starting from tomorrow on. To enjoy all this you must let go the busy rhythm of the capital and sync with the local timing that is a bit more elastic but fits the environment. Fish is very important for Portuguese, the second biggest nation consumer of fish in the world just after Japan. Even our main traditional saint celebrations (like the party of Santo Antonio in Lisbon in June 12, or Sao Joao in Porto in June 22) are done around a fish, the sardine. And that was the main reason to call our magazine Sardinha. This year the magazine will organize such an event in Kud France Prešeren in the 10 of June, in collaboration with the Portuguese-Slovene Friendship Association and all the Portuguese community in Ljubljana to show a taste of the Portuguese popular event.   

Although it is the beginning of April, the mission is to go for the first swim. A friend that was living for several years in Izola told me about the beach by sveti križ. We parked the car by the church up in the top and look down the cliff thinking “how will we ever go down, specially with the kid”. And we see some locals going in the direction of the cliff and follow them close. There is a path carved in the cliff where we can easily descend to a beautiful bay. A typical landscape of that area of the coast line. In a second we leave the towel and put the shorts on. My son Samuel doesn’t even feel how cold is the water as he kept repeating “morje” since the morning when we told him this would be the destination that day. The water is still cold but I am used to the Atlantic sea that is cold even in August.

Then I dive into it and immediately remember I have to get back to sailing. I fell in love with this sport/recreation here in Slovenia some years ago, where I took the skyper license. Having the hair in the wind and pushing the sales to profit of the good mood of the nature to bring our boat further ahead, together with good friends and time to spend is an heritage that I want to leave behind to my family someday. And I must start soon. I look far in the horizon to see several sails up in the nice sunny afternoon. A great way to spend this sunday.

We start heading back to the path in the cliff to get to the car and start driving home to Ljubljana. Although tired, silently none of us want to get back from this beginning of summer.     

 Song for this trip: