This way to Ljubljana’s Train Museum!
Walking to the train station this morning, I spotted a street sign pointing towards the “Railway Museum” which the Tourist Information Center at the train station knew nothing about, when I dropped off my luggage. The railway information guy gave me a route to Lyon that departed Ljubljana at 1610, so I had several hours to kill. I studied my map and figured a promising position along the railway lines for a train museum to live, and headed over that way.
And I found it.
It was a roundhouse.
Filled with steam engines.
And guys in a work shop restoring steam engines.
Upstairs, I was greeted by the friendly curator, who explained that the TIC knew nothing about the train museum because it hadn’t opened yet – they were still putting the museum part of it together. I was, however, welcome to wander around, so long as I did so cautiously.
There were more than half a dozen steam engines that they had already restored, resting indoors, and at least a half dozen more rusting away outside, waiting for some TLC. And spare parts everywhere, and dozens of men working on projects. This “train museum” was no casual volunteer undertaking. Judging by the Curator’s business card, it seemed to be a funded project of the state railway.
Wandering back from my Nirvana, I spied a cafeteria, where I scored a plate of brown glop and steamed potatoes, a salad, and an iced tea with a picture of a lonely penguin on it for about $3.50. The brown glop contained cabbage and meat, the salad was lettuce, tomatoes, a couple human hairs, and a couple of tiny insects, for added protein. I picked out the hairs, added salt and pepper to the glop and potatoes, and oil and vinegar to the salad, which I figured was originally invented to kill tiny insects, and the meal was good. The sides of the ice tead box described the drink in several languages. One of them was English:
Refreshing non-carbonated soft drink made of vegetable extract based on hips.
Added natural flavour of passion fruit and peach.
Total dry solid: min. 8%.
Free from preservatives!
Energy value: 34kcal (145kJ)/100 ml
Ingredients: water, sugar, extract of hips, citric acid, flavour.
Seen from this perspective, the brown glop and buggy salad weren’t nearly as exotic as the iced tea, which tasted kind of like peach jello.
Back at the train station I asked the price to Venicia, my first leg of the journey to Nice. It was more SIT than I had, and more than I wanted to spend, so I asked the price to Trieste instead, which was more SIT than I had, but I managed to fix this by giving a money changer €5. I figured that I could probably get away with using my train pass from Trieste, as it would be in Italy, after 7PM, counted against tomorrow, though it would be open to debate as to whether my patchwork itinerary counted as a “direct overnight train.” I could always ask ahead of time and see if there was enough time to purchase a proper ticket in euros from the ticket machine at Trieste. Changing money makes me crazy.
I then wandered over to the library to sit for a little while and do some data entry. The only part of the library that I could enter without being a member was the card catalog / Internet room. I sat at a broken terminal with my laptop for awhile, and worked on the log, then I stood in line to check e-mail, a free service, on a terminal that was pretty well locked down, but I was able to find a site with a working java SSH client that let me connect to pianosa to read my e-mail. It turns out that Dave, who runs pianosa, and is storing my stuff, is moving to Evanston, the suburb just north of Chicago, right near mom’s house. Rene had offered to store my belongings in Oakland, while Dave was willing to adopt the futon, though he needed to talk to Angel about baby-sitting the car. Exciting stuff …
I grabbed some super-tasty strawberry gelato on the way back, picked up my big red bag from the luggage storage, and blew another 170 SIT on a coffee topped with whipped cream, leaving me with just over 40 SIT, or about twenty American cents worth of souvenirs, before boarding the train for Venicia. My compartment was shared with a trio of Slovenian girls, one of whom cursed the train for resting an extra ten minutes in the station – though I recall sitting at border stations forever on my way in, on a train twenty-five minutes late. They later practiced English dialog on each other, while I worked some more on updating the log, sharing their giggles.