My first trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia was with my son, Matt. This was shortly after their independence from Yugoslavia and Communist rule. Everything here needed a facelift and man did they get one. I lot can take place in 13 years. The city is beginning to sparkle, especially along the river in the heart of the city. The big willows and eucalyptus trees casts their dappled shade all over the streets. Tall rising trees that look like poplars frame almost every vista. Truly the walks are exhilarating.
When Matt was there, he experienced the ugly side of communism where a customer meant virtually nothing. He recounted the story of going in to get his groceries at around five in the evening, loaded his arms, rushed up to the cash only to be impolitely told, “Sorry, the store is closed now!” In those days the customer was not king. There were no products and hardly any money. Well, those days are gone.
The first time I went to Ljubljana on my own I wound up cold the first night of sleeping on the floor so I found a store, an awful disheveled place with plaster from the walls all over the floors and all of my looking was under the light of one bulb dangling at the end of a long wire. Matt will know the store I’m talking about but I doubt if he would recognize it today. Under the exterior of this run down place was an Art Deco or Nouveau (I don’t know one from the other)masterpiece. The edifice has been thoroughly restored into a high styled women’s fashion boutique. I decided to pop in the door which had a stern mafia styled guard in everything black posted ready to
tackle anyone that wore socks that didn’t match. Terry told the guard that I was a ridiculous American tourist and asked if could take a shot to which I was granted one… One. I took a snap of the first amazing thing in view and then quickly turned over a women’s boot. My eyes evidently bulged when I saw the price because the five euro an hour guard looked at me shrugged his shoulders and opened his palms upward as if to say, “Insanity, isn’t it?” These littles babies were only a measly 635 euro.