The first time


As the train sets off its raining heavy in Zagreb. We’re quickly into the countryside and a Sea of green and brown. Over the border into Slovenia and it’s damp, lighter rain and we are sneaking alongside a luscious green river, brought to life somewhat by the damp weather. Small drops of rain hitting the water is bringing the fish near the top and fishing birds that line the bank of the river are ready and waiting.

Sprawling hills and mountainsides, so many shades of green as all the trees, so many differing types, bushes, fauna and the likes make my eyes sparkle and as romantic as it looks, I would not have the words to describe how the mist, rolling over the hills and drifting just under Clifftops made me feel. I could easily spend every day for the rest of my life taking journeys like this every day. When we come near a town or village, well worn bridges and motor vehicle traffic let you know you are near civilization. The first sign of power lines atop a hillside and down the hill appear and you might think these look abrupt and out of place, let me assure you they don’t.  They are a necessity yes, but only enough of the green has been removed to accommodate the electric.

No houses are the same as they dot along the riverbank. The occasional graveyard sits on the edge of town, out of plain view, but surprisingly well maintained. How many generations of the same family are buried the ring methinks. There’s a chapel on the hillside, nae, no doubt a monastery. I wonder if they have some Slovenian version of Buckfast brewin fleets thru my mind. Every time we hit an open clearly and there is a strategically built house on the hillside I think, man, how cool would it be to stay there? Then the tune hits my head – ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’

I’m facing backwards on the right hand side and it was a strangely well chosen seat, at the near end of the car. The towns, factories and roads are mainly on my left, the river and beautiful countryside right outside my window. Rather than look out, things hits me as I pass them allowing a nice long stare as is disappears into the distance, like a final goodbye to a loved one you may never seen again. As we climb up in some regions the river gets rocky and choppy, perfect for those white water rafters and canoeists. It takes me back to my youth out up the river Almond by Almondbank of course. Me and Andy cairns used to go hunting for tractor tyre inner tubes, then cycle out and hit the water.  Very rarely did this happen, hitting the water, as most tubes had punctures. The hope and adventure always kept you interested.

I’m thinking aloud asking, would I like a house by the side of a railway line. How noisy can it be and in these barren areas, how regular would they be to be a distraction?  Maybe their something to look out for and judge the time of your day by, who knows? High rise tower blocks and graffiti’s coach cars are a sign we’re approaching Ljubljana.  I have had this thought for a number of weeks now about taking, train coaches no longer in, moving then to an area of land aside other housing not being used and making them inside into a form of basic housing. They don’t necessarily need to be well equipped, but can meet modified slightly into sleeping, seating and possession storage space to get people off the street. Toilets are already built in. Now, see if I had a $1 million dollars,  that’s what I would do. Make it a drug free zone. You get tested, your clear, you have a warm bed and company☺



I’m heading to a town called Villa Opicina, where I will take a hurl on the Trieste to Opicina tramway, as its advertised , it’s an unusual hybrid tramway come into a funicular railway, based in the city of Trieste, Italy and links to Piazza Oberdan, on the northern edge of the city centre, with the village of Villa Opicina in the hills above.

I have been wanting to take this journey for over 5 years and almost done it at the end of last year, as part of a Scotland jaunt. I has been out of operation for a while but was rumoured to be back on the go. When you arrive, touristly, they still promote it like its on the go, but that’s not the case disappointingly!

The good news its almost fixed and should be on the go within two months. The bus views are good, but not as good as the route the tram takes. Maybe next time.


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