You should’ve heard the conversation. We were strolling through the fantastic open-air City Market in lovely Ljubljana, admiring the rows of fresh produce, local honey, and the straight-from-the greenhouse mums.
Fancy yourself an orthographer? Try spelling the name of the capital of Slovenia: Ljubljana. Like Reykjavik and Yogyakarta, it’s charming to visit, but impossible to spell.
Halloween is pretty low key in Ljubljana, Slovenia. We only saw the occasional jack-o’-lantern (usually at a bar) and we didn’t see the costume extravaganza we’re accustomed to in the States. Too bad … I really love Halloween. But it is an official public holiday. October 31st is Reformation Day in Slovenia. It’s associated with the 16th century …
No matter how much I travel, usually my first impression is formed by the lifetime of social conditioning I gained growing up in the US. This particularly applies to language. Words and phrases are used in different ways, and mean different things in different cultures.
Eastern European place names generally fall into the “could I buy a vowel” category. Our approach has been to write the name of the street or place we want to visit on a piece of paper for ticket sellers or taxi drivers.