KIM: I have arrived in Ljubljana and it's a very clean and atmospheric city. I am staying in an old apartment in the center of town and can hear the church bells from the town square ringing every hour. The Ljubljanica River passes through the center of town, much like the Seine through Paris. There are sidewalk cafes everywhere and the streets are cobblestones. Everything is within a 10 minute walk, so it is a perfect city for being on foot. On the other side of the river, easily accessible by several car and foot bridges, is a high hill, topped by an old castle. The oldest part of town is at the foot of this hill and seems to date from about the 13th century, when the Hapsburgs took over the Roman settlement here. There are art and music events going on all the time, and I am having no trouble staying entertained!
My mission, though, is to find Brencics, and with the help of two local tourist guides, Dragan Bekcic and Max Gale, today I was able to visit Joze and Valentina Brencic of Podlipa, a small town between Planina and Ljubljana. Max accompanied me and translated for the group. Joze has done extensive genealogical research back to the turn of the 18th century and has uncovered several branches of the Brencic family. He believes his line and ours are connected, even though the dates we have do not match exactly. We have agreed to share new findings as they are uncovered. Joze and Valentina have also invited me to stay with them the next time I visit so they can show me all of the historic sites of the Brencics and the country!
After our visit, Joze took me in his car for a short drive up the Podlipa valley to show me how beautiful it is, and I must agree that it is spectacular. We visited the site of his ancestral home once stood, and we visited with Anton Brencic, a neighbor farmer and relative. We also ascended the ridge above Podlipa to get a birds-eye view of the little valley town and then visited a more modern, but still old, house in the alpine style of the original buildings of the valley.
FYI - “pod” means “under” and “lipa” is the name for the linden tree, which is a national symbol of community in Slovenia. The lipa has a serrated heart-shaped leaf and can be found as a graphic symbol and in town and place names all over the country. So Podlipa means “town under the linden tree”. Nice! Friday is a sightseeing, shopping and photography day in Ljubljana and then Saturday morning I am off by train to meet Anastasia and Shelley in Zagreb.