Happy birthday, tiček Lako!

Today celebrates my uncle Rajko. May the First be with you, like every year! And let’s exchange the views soon again, your Maribor (above) for our Tuscany (below). Cin cin and buon appetito!

Photo: a © signature mmm production

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!

Her generation

She would be ninety today. My grandmother, the mother of my father.

The cat is green. The granddaughter is the first child far and wide. Photo: BM

The man next to her – her husband and my grandfather – died today too, on her birthday, which is why after that she never celebrated it. She celebrated daily though, life, love, little things, tender mercies. This one is for her generation. It will never return, yet it will never grow old either.

And this is me channelling her with the view of her bridge over the Drava river in Maribor from her window.

Cin cin, baca Zana!

Photo: MM

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Trees&Houses

Frankly, there must be trees and houses everywhere I look, seeing that I’ve got this combo on most of my photos. Some of these images have been waiting for some time to be posted, and now I’ve got an excuse. Thanks, Cee.

The trees have come to mean Italia to me. The Guinigi tower in Lucca, with seven oak trees on top, was built for this challenge.

Four trees in Roma:

An Italian and a Croatian church:

A few views from Slovenia – Ljubljana, Maribor with the oldest vine in the world, and Piran:

To finish, trees around the corner with the oleander to point the way home.

Photo: MM



Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Graffiti & Murals

To mirror the opening image from two posts ago, here is another poster from Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts’ Research Centre (ZRC SAZU) in Ljubljana, to go with the theme of public murals and graffiti. Sometimes the birds leave a spot clean. And the sofa (especially the one on the left) is cool too.

I love this, the idea of improving environment by adding to it. Improvement is relative, of course, but I like the idea of “democracy” behind an unmolested graffiti. I have yet to take photos of any significant murals, especially in Roma, but here is what I’ve got so far. Translation from Slovenian and location given in the captions. More images of Pisa street art and impressive Metelkova City in Ljubljana have been posted here and here.

And here is a special house in Škofije on the border between Italy and Slovenia that was obviously given to children from different countries as a plaything. Give kids a chance indeed!

To all public artists and writers with stuff to say and show: please, carry on. The world needs your expression and colours and wit. And authorities better let it be. It’s the stuff of life.

Photo: MM



Voluble Monday

It’s not Silent Sunday because it’s Monday and there are words, but this photo is very telling.

This building in the very centre of Ljubljana has hosted Nama department store since I know of myself. Until recently it also gave home to the Večer newspaper Ljubljana office, on its top floor, where my father worked for several years, and a few floors down there was Slovene Emigrant Office (SIM) where I spent a few years of my only office time, editing and writing and translating for a couple of newspapers for Slovenians living abroad.

It was good. I could bring my dog. And I was able to work with Vida and Maja (mentioned in my About me), which will always count as nothing but good times.

And now, now the new urban planning has eliminated traffic from the street below and planted trees. The building is refurbished. The sailor has lost his Evening (Večer) ship, and the sailoress is left without her “Native soil” (translation of Rodna gruda, one of the newspapers for Slovenians abroad).

And through it all the ship Nama sails on. And it’s good: even though sellers might seem at times like they don’t really wish to sell you anything, it was here that my amore bought his coppola.

Another voluble photo from his first winter visit: amore from Italy + coppola from Nama halfway between Nama and Tivoli in Ljubljana in front of a photo of Maribor featuring my grandmother’s apartment.

Photo: MM

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Thursday Doors, July 9

This is the age of doors, apparently. And the time is coming for me to face some of the ones below. They are all in the country of origin. Thank you, Slovenia, for keeping them open for me.

First there are four from Maribor, the second biggest city, then one with the best from Greece from the capital, one from the little village called Padna, and the last five from Piran which is expecting our invasion. It will be a pleasure.

Norm’s challenge has gone interplanetary this week, good to see! Taking this chance to link to both, his challenge and the WPC one. Will be on and off in the coming weeks. Got some doors to pass through.

Photo: MM

For Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors challenge.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”

Happy seventyeen, dad!

Buon anno, e un buon compleanno! In Orbetello. Photo: MM

Today my father celebrates big. I will join the celebrations shortly but for now I’m sending greetings and warm wishes in the shape of selected images taken by you:

Photo: BM

Your Maribor. Photo: BM

Your city. It will be forever.

It used to be so far. Traffic jams, fog, snow, heat – things needed to be endured.

And then finally Maribor, and most often sunny. Main square. Those four floors – sometimes it seemed even higher, depending on form.

View of green Pohorje. The scent of the kitchen. Cheerful baca.

This is your courtyard. High school. Basketball court. Drava river. “Don’t let NATO see your bridges,” Balašević said during his concert on the raft.

Impressions from my last visit? Pretty, quiet, friendly. Romantic, yet rainy on this occasion. Just where there used to be the marketplace, little chicks can no longer be bought.

And then, in Piran, the exact same number of stairs?

You always love to surprise and please.

The age is right for me to like Shakin’ Stevens. He is a regular in Bravo. His posters look down from the wall.

When you go abroad once again, you return with cassettes. A bunch of them. I look at them in awe. Names I have never heard before. And then one that I know. Stevens! Shaky! But no. The name on the tape is Cat Stevens. Disappointment lasts several years until I realise that Cat is a hundred times better.

In the same bunch of tapes there is also one of Buddy Miles, Jimi Hendrix drummer.

Many years later I will be at his concert in Vienna. The name will ring a bell from somewhere.

Father, not really son, but the year is right (1970). Tanti auguri e grazie per tutto!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Edit: P.S.: By going away he means visit me in Tuscany.

Baca Zana

My grandmother was born today almost 90 years ago, and about 50 years later her husband, my grandfather, died on the same day. She was unable to celebrate her own birthday ever since.

But I wish to celebrate her, today and every day. How she self-preserved all those days, stealing know-how from commercials off RTL, learning for instance that pumpkin seeds are good for her remaining kidney. How she fed ducks by her Drava river. How she told us not long before she died in the home for the elderly that she was in Kidričevo again, where she spent many days in her younger years, and we chalked that up to her dementia, and then her keepers informed us that she was indeed in Kidričevo that day to visit a dentist. But when she asked me, with a slight chuckle of disbelief in her voice, as if to tell me that even though she knew it sounded crazy she really needed to know whether she should feed those little animals that come to her through the three air holes in the door to her room, we knew the answer. How she cried out “Hang on, girls!” before cutting a turn like a pro, driving long into her old age. How she always cooked up a storm and prepared ajvar and made her own noodles. How she collected bones and let me give them to the assorted dogs of the relatives we visited, and how she made up a song about the dogs and sang it to me at bedtime, together with many others (such as “und der flak macht bum bum”). How she used to say that flancati (fried crisp pastry, angel wings, funnel cake) are not fattening because “there is only air inside”. How she loved us and we loved her.

The photos below were taken last summer, the last time we were in her Maribor. I grew up before that window overlooking the hills of Pohorje and the bridge over the Drava river. And her ducks are still below it.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Photo: MM & MC (on the sofa)

We are few…

… therefore we need to be strategically deployed, said Tomaž Šalamun about Slovenians once. My friend who celebrates today was the first to occupy her strategic position. Now that I have followed her out (somewhere else, of course, we need to keep the strategy going), we can meet in the old country, reminisce and plot.
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In Maribor, by the restaurant At Three Ponds. Photo: MC

She has taken strategical placement to a whole new level, and spent one portion of her life on every continent discovered (well, not sure about the Arctic), including several months on her own in China upon learning the language. Therefore I have high hopes for her and her charming companion to find their way to Tuscany.

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You know those gifts that are just a bull’s eye? Happy birthday, Darjaski! Photo: MM

A little anecdote, it’s my favourite: one day she left a basket full of goodies for me with my grandfather, since I was not home when she came over. (Possibly they were sour cherry products, as this has always been her trademark flavour since she had learned I love it.) Upon my return my granddad gave me the basket, telling me that it’s from “that friend, you know, the name escapes me, but her hair is the colour of goulash”. It needs to be added that goulash was his preferred dish. Hers not so much, since she is a vegetarian. 😀  But after this bit of information it could be only one.

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I’d say the first meeting was a success and there is no reason why the next one shouldn’t be in Toscana. Photo: MM

Happy birthday, dear friend, and you were right all along: the sky is the limit. Always welcome!

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Maribor signs

Photo: MM