Darling Nicky, cin cin!

Today celebrates my oldest (that is, earliest) friend.

First her father and my father met in their Maribor, went to school and played basketball together for team Branik. Below is a photo from 1963. (I’ll let you guess who the fathers are. :D) (ADD-IT: I removed the fresh re-enactment of this photo because it will be published in a book soon.)


Then they married (one woman each) and moved to Ljubljana. First her father, then mine. Then we were born in the same year, first her, then me. Then came the year when she got a brother, and me a sister. Then they got a dog.

Thank you for hosting us at your beautiful summer camp on the island of Krk last summer (more photos from there here). Who would say that you’d find a place that can rival Duba.

I hope we can one day have some fun together over here – possibly with the third gracia – and talk about the times when we were crazy and young. Welcome! (Captions available by clicking on each photo)

Photo: MM & MC (Oldest friends) & MB (Three gracias) & archive MB (basketball team)

Tanti auguuuuuuuuuuuri per te
tanti auguuuuuri per te
tanti auguri, cara Nika
tanti auguri per te!

Only in Italy

Trains in Italy are notoriously in delay. Every last one of them. They just have to be at least a few minutes late, but most usually it’s ten.

Even Niki de Saint Phalle felt it necessary to write on one of the walls in her Giardino dei tarocchi: “Basta con questi treni sempre in retardo.” Enough with these trains already, always late. This was in 1995, and nothing has changed.

You know because you are commuting to work by train. And I know because I meet you at the station every day.

There is a little bell, and then the speaker says “The train from Roma is arriving to platform 2 with the delay of…” and I strain to hear how many minutes.

I think the record is 330, but there were floods.

First I used to go the station optimistically only to discover there, looking at the orario on the screen, how much I had to wait.

But then I found out the online train tracking service in real time. This is very practical, indispensable really. There I can see, for example, that the train has already started in ritardo, and am able to track how many extra minutes it gains with each new town. Sometimes, very rarely, it says in orario, and then it is right on track.

This reminds me of the year 1990 which was the last time I went to our annual August seaside holiday with my parents. Even though I was 20, I would continue doing so but there was war. Our annual ritual was to board the train in Ljubljana with a bunch of friends on August 9th at 7 pm, have dinner when the train reached the first station (which is where originates the historical exclamation by a son of our friends upon passing our compartment, seeing us munching on Vienna-style steaks and boiled eggs, and returning to his parents: “Do you know what a good time M. family is having?”), travel all through the night and wake up in our triple bunk beds by the beautiful green Neretva river after the train left Sarajevo behind. Announcing tunnels was a favourite sport.

The end station was Ploče (later renamed Kardeljevo) by the sea, where we arrived some time before noon. There a ferry was waiting to take us to Trpanj on the Pelješac peninsula, and then barba Luka with his fishing boat brought us to Duba, our home away from home, and the eternal August could begin and last for some three weeks, after which we had to return to bleak midwinter which late August in Slovenia seemed to us after all that sun. And one year all three means of transport broke down one way or another.

But in 1990 we had another kind of problem with that train. I was awoken in mild panic: “Wake up, wake up, we have arrived!” The thing was that Croatia got a new president that year. And he made it his task to make trains run on schedule. We never knew that all those years our train should be reaching its destination at 8 or so in the morning!

Back to the present. One time you tell me you are on the train returning home, and it is the last train of the day – you were lucky to catch it. I open the page to track it and the initial delay is just a few minutes. Good. As the train is getting closer, I check again. In anticipo, it says. My eyebrows shoot up. No. Must be a mistake. I know anticipation, and this is not what Italian trains usually feel. But after passing another town it is still there: anticipo of two minutes.

I wonder for a minute what it means for the train to be early. People might miss it, for example.

I tell you the unbelievable news.

“I know,” you write back.

“How can you know?” I’m taken aback. “Did you ask them to hurry because you are hungry? Or do Italian railways have a new director?”

“I have just heard the conduttore call his colleague on another train to ask him if he can gift him a couple of minutes.”

“In order to do what?”

“Well. There is a woman here. And she missed her station. And now she has to return. And this is the last train of the night.”

So the world starts revolving around this woman now. One train is waiting for her on the next station. And her train, which means yours too, is speeding up so that she can catch it. All will be good. She will be able to reach her family on time.

“Is she young? Middle-aged?”

“I don’t know. I only heard her voice, she is in the next compartment.”

Right. And I should believe that you didn’t peek.

But I know. This is not about the looks. Italian men help because they can. They give the impression that there is no hurdle big enough. It is easier to live this way.

I like what I can hear in your voice when you tell me about it later. It is pride. “Imagine how a tedesco would respond,” you say and I grin at the thought of German punctuality.

Whereas meanwhile, and only in Italy, women rule over trains.

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This is a shirt you got for your 50th: the front says: “I don’t understand”, and the back says “I am German”, all in Italian, of course, and it is a joke, of course. Tu sei un italiano vero. Photo: MM

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Sava beach boy

Today celebrates a man who had no say in the matter and just had to be my friend since his birth.

If we have a look, we can see that you are quite heavily represented in my blog, not only in the last two posts. You were the one who sang to me in addio before I moved to Italy, you were the one who had to tolerate my excitement at 30-point basketball wins and who was our body-guard during that infamous bus trip to Milano, you are the one who knows your poison, you were one of the best birthday performers I have ever seen, for my sis’ 30, and you are my support-your-local-punk-star.

Below please find a few moments in time. And I wish that you keep collecting them for a long time to come.

Photo: MM & a Duba friend

Let me finish with a performer who will always remind me of you because one time my sister was playing him as I was coming up the stairs, and hearing him I asked her if Vasja is visiting. And also because you’re a Jackson. Cin cin!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Srečno 2006 (A bit old and in Slovenian)

This is a poem that I wrote for the new year 2006. I still think the same. I’ll translate it in due time. For now use google translate or the bable fish.

S e staro poslavlja in novo začenja,
R es nujen je takšen umeten pomnik?
E naka ostanejo naša življenja
Č e v glavi nam nekaj ne naredi “klik”.
N aj se številk še tisoč zamenja,
O stanemo vedno sam svoj naročnik.

2 x premislimo, kaj si želimo,
0 bolj ni nevarno, če želimo si vse,
0 ni drugače, le spat še pojdimo,
6 novih razlogov je tu za kaj že?

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

duba2 133

In Duba, a while ago and not for new year’s eve.


Miha drew this in 2008, and then he made us a superb vegan meal. One of the highlights of that year’s Duba: when his special grain was mistaken for sugar and put into coffee and we were left with mysterious balls in our cups. But the coffee was actually kind of sweet. Photo: MM

West, wait!


Words (1989, Duba) and music, I mean photo (2014, Capalbio): MM


Come plunge with me into the plankton at night

when the salt is growing visible and the waves mysteriously quiet.

There is a certain power to the sea of which it is not aware

and continues to swim underwater.

Sometimes it comes up for air, to greet the seagulls and kiss the fish.

Come, listen to the coolness and quiet beneath the sea.

Look at this crack in the rock and that algae how multicoloured it is.

Be the sea with me and proximity will land you its hue

and the shore will talk to you as if it were really able to hear.

Life will be rejoicing

the sun will peek out and you will see that there is something else going on here

something that I will never run out of:

faith in summer!

(translated by Manja Maksimovič)


Original version, for the curious (I wrote this and some other poems in bed with T. and N. in total darkness… they were sleeping while I was writing in my notebook with only touch for orientation. The next day it was very hard to decipher it since on many occasions I wrote lines one on top of the other.)

Zahod, postoj!

Daj, zagnaj se z mano v plankton ponoči,
ko sol postaja vidna in valovi skrivnostno tiho.
Morje dobi moč, ki se je ne zaveda,
in plava še naprej pod vodo.
Včasih zajame sabo, pozdravi galebe in poljubi ribe.
Daj, poslušaj hlad in mir pod morjem.
Poglej to razpoko v skali in tistole algo, kako je večbarvna.
Bodi morje z mano in bližina ti bo dajala svojo barvo
in obala bo govorila s tabo, kot če bi res lahko slišala.
Življenje bo vzklikalo,
sonce se ti bo prikazalo in videl boš,
da je tu nekaj več, nekaj, česar mi ne bo nikoli zmanjkalo.
Vera v poletje!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈