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Bonus post: Slovenian Culture 101

Or perhaps this is just trivia, take it or leave it!

Back in communist times Coca-Cola was not available in Yugoslavia, so of course that made people really really want it! Then Cockta was manufactured as a sort of compensation!

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Well, it doesn't taste one bit like Coke, take it from me! Once Coca-Cola was back in the shops no-one wanted Cockta, and who can blame them? Sales plummeted, what to do? Some bright spark came up with a great marketing idea, and now you see billboards and posters in bus shelters enticing you to "recapture the taste of your youth!" It's working, people are buying Cockta for nostalgic reasons!

They even try to entice English speakers! I'm not convinced people are actually drinking it, it tastes wretched! I've had this bottle since Tuesday and I'm still working on it!

Next up, have you ever wondered about those Lipizzaner stallions? You know, the ones that prance around on their hind legs and dance?

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Why do tourists flock to AUSTRIA to see them in Vienna, when they are apparently from the SPANISH riding school? And what's this got to do with Slovenia? Well, guess what........... those horses come from Lipica (LEE-peet-suh) and that's in Slovenia!! They were first bred here in 1580, and continue to be, at the Lipica stud farm! Ahhhh, now it all makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Ok, now for honey! I'll bet you didn't know that Slovenian bees make the best honey in the world! How do they do this? Well, it's all about the beehives! Slovenia has lots of them, apparently the most beehives per capita in Europe. This must be because they stack them up in special apiaries you see all over the countryside, like this.....

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Notice the bright colours? This is to help the bees find their way home, Slovenes are experts at bee psychology! In the old days each hive had its own intricately painted front panel, replicas of these these are popular at souvenir shops!

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What else do you find in abundance in Slovenia? Tractors! Yes, Slovenes love their tractors; in rural areas there's one in practically every carport! They proudly attest to having a higher percentage of tractor owners than any other nation - who knew?!

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Slovenia has an excellent road system. And it's so small you can drive from one side of the country to the other in a couple of hours at 130kmh! We notice that many Slovenes aspire to be grand prix drivers! They used to have highway tolls but found it too cumbersome. Now they have vinjeta which you buy for a period of time (ours was 15€ for a week) and place in a special clip on the inside of the windshield. Every time you enter or leave a major highway you pass through a former tollbooth at 40kmh and they take your picture.

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Presumably the registered owner of the car would receive a fine if the vinjeta was seen to be out of date. In case you manage to avoid a regular highway entry point (just say you parachute in or something) there are also checkpoints along the way, just to trick you!

And finally, the mighty hayrack! What's not to love about a country where the hayrack is a symbol of national heritage?!

Here are some examples: the basic duplex, triplex or multiplex hayracks;

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But wait, there's more!

Hayrack with lean-to

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Hayrack with in-law suite

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Multi-use hayrack

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Communist hayrack with utilitarian cement posts

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Fixer-upper hayrack

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Old-fashioned hayrack.............with hay!

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And finally, the ultimate all-purpose super-deluxe hayrack conversion!

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You think that's a little over the top? Well how about highway barriers and billboards styled after hayracks?! A little obsessive I'd say!

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We love Slovenia for all its quirkiness! Slovenes are warm, friendly and gregarious - they crack a joke and then laugh at it almost every time they engage you in conversation! With only 2 million people speaking their language they have become excellent linguists so communication is never a problem. I doubt you'll ever find someone who says they spent too much time visiting Slovenia! We'll be back!

Posted by Twink's blog 10:09 Archived in Slovenia

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