As sure as day follows night, mistakes are made. But to some – namely Slovenians, when they’re being lumped in with Slovakians – this can be a matter of intense vexation. Slovenia, believe it or not, is an actual country. And given that she’s winning medals at Sochi’s Winter Olympics, let’s put her, together with her peculiar-sounding capital, Ljubljana, firmly on the map.
‘Where do you reckon Ljubljana is?’ I asked a well-read fellow the other day. Now I say well-read because he owns a bookshop. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he spends most of the day drinking wine, never in fact dusting a tome, let alone opening one.
Slovenia has a Capital!
‘Ooh, don’t tell me,’ he agonised, face creased in concentration. He swept a silver strand from his furrowed forehead, narrowed his eyes and gave what is a fairly standard answer in the UK. ‘Poland. No, Ukraine? Agh! Lithuania, maybe?’ Now if you were from a capital city, would you be a little put out by this? The Slovenian girl standing next to me, however, “took it on the chin”, as we say in proper countries.
The ensuing question often arises: ‘Is Slovenia different to Slovakia then?’ Well, yes, these two countries don’t even share a border. But you may be interested to know that staff of Slovak and Slovenian embassies meet once a month to exchange wrongly addressed mail. Rest assured that plenty of others are getting it wrong, too.
Slovenia or Slovakia?
What does it matter? Good point. Actually, there’s a super line addressed to a Slovenian model in the film Wolf of Wall Street. The guy says, ‘Slovenian. Slovakian. You’re blonde.’ Classy, if bordering on sexist. But here are three reasons to visit Yugoslavia. Whoops, I mean Slovenia.
- Women. They’re pretty, but about the same as in Slovakia.
- Food. Sausage and sauerkraut is also served in Slovakia, though.
- Castles. Slovenia, Slovakia – they’ve both got them.
OK, three serious reasons to visit Slovenia.
- Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful fairytale lakes in the world.
- Postonja Caves, 2 million years old and stretching 21km, is the only cave in the world with a double track railway.
- Predjama Castle, a 700-year-old fortress, perches precariously in the middle of a 123-metre cliff.
Anyway, let’s have a round of applause for Slovenia’s Ice Hockey team, beating Czechoslovakia in Sochi only this morning. Hooray! Oh, I do wish they’d stop inventing countries during our tea breaks..