I've just come to in a hot, airless room, with a couple of Spaniards and a Jap.
I'm in the very charming city of Ljubljana. Martin and I arrived yesterday to boiling 31 deg temperatures at an International airport that reminded me of a 1950s aerodrome (we walked through customs directly into a dozen people facing us in a small room, otherwise known as the arrivals hall.)
There's a touch of Eastern Europe about it - unsurprisingly - having spotted as the coach tore us into town a tractor kicking up dust down a dirt track as we passed crumbling monasteries, but that's been about the extent of the stereotype.
The city, a town really, will be doomed to fall under the braying, mooning belch of British stags before long, although it's not massively cheap so it may survive that yet.
Ljub appears to be in the final throes of a cute arts festival, meaning last night was spent walking alongside their tiny town river with their outdoor cafes and occasional tango displays. We'd sojourned at one such bar for a Union beer, surrounded by attractive young women who'd dare not look at us in case they'd turned to fucking stone. A shame really, as I'd packed for the first time my filthy rucksack full of smart ironed shirts. I had thought that this was a maturity on my part, a growing the fuck up to look smart for once, when in fact all that had happened, I'd realised as swaggering, tanned teenbollocks sauntered past in their shorts and polo shirts, was I'd hit 35 and cannonballed violently into pathetic middle age.
Mart and I went on to an intriguing bar full of (literal) skeletons to take advantage of their BOGOF cocktails. Ironically, around the time I was bemoaning to him that I'll never have sex again as I gain weight and turn more fugly, we'd somehow become ensconced in conversation with the two charming Slovene ladies sat next to us. This resumed for a good couple of hours until, unsurprisingly, and following that familiar experience of two women giggling among themselves in their own language for 10 minutes, they quickly upped and left.
Up until then, the night had looked rather promising. The town is suffused with attractive young women and requsite bars... and then we got a kebab and it all went wrong. We went up to a bar stroke club accessible via a streetside elavator, and it was rammed full of generic blokes in t-shirts. The girl sat next to us who I'd spent a good 20 minutes plucking up the courage to speak to looked utterly horrified when I did so. And by that point, we'd grown utterly exhausted.
Cue bed, 5 lousy hours sleep, and a hangover that hasn't quite kicked in.
I'm starting to think that bars are vapid, soulless places, and not the greatest of places to engage in meaningful discourse with the opposite gender.
Particularly if you're me.
COMING SOON: Culture, edifying perambulations in parks, all that bullshit...