Slovenian Sealife

Slovenian Sealife

At 10am I rolled into Slovenia through the remains of an old border check point.

After missing the harbour town of Koper, I carried on through Isola to Piran. I found a small shop in a picturesque town, loaded up with cakes and sugary drinks and drifted up and down the sea wall with Dolly. I found the end, reminiscent of the sea lion colonies of nature documentaries, naked middle aged flesh flapped around on weird creatures crafted from spaniels ears and bingo wings…

Back at the shop, I sat outside in the shade. A dishevelled man, looking a little like a Walrus, came over to me and began to speak in German. To escape would mean riding back into the heat, so I sat with the Walrus on a step next to the bakery. His breath smelt like turps or white spirit and he didn’t appear to be a tourist, so I wondered why he wasn’t at work. He offered to buy me a drink and emerged from the shop with silver cans, so we sat drinking strong lager. It would be wrong to say the Walrus was unemployed or homeless, as he described himself as an out of work chef, but his stories of trouble sleeping around dogs and getting ticks didn’t do much for his argument. His conversation was rich in the politics of ex-Yugoslavia, in particular the ownership of the Slovenian seas. I was becoming impressed with how far my German language could get me. His dog sat to itch next to Dolly after urinating just next to my foot. Between slurred political discussion he shouted at innocent passers by in what I assume must be an oceanic language I didn’t understand before turning to me and smiling a grin of weathered yellow teeth. Nobody threw him a fish, they did throw us dirty looks. I didn’t quite feel that I had the courage or the inclination for this kind of game, so with a shake of his barnacled hand flipper and after 5 minutes of waiting for him to remember his phone number, I wobbled away on my way.

By 4pm I was in Croatia.

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