Down on the Adriatic coast, all 47km of it, there are two towns: Koper and Piran. Each one of them literally drips with Venetian Gothic architecture, for this part of Slovenia has “enjoyed” a checkered history. Part of that history includes a 15th and 16th Centuries golden period when both towns were part of the Venetian Republic.
I love wandering the “streets” of the Old Towns in both places. Looking left and right affords glimpses of buildings that have stories to tell. The aged patinas tell of lives well-lived: buildings and people. To me they have a soul, which is often not the case with buildings that have been lavishly restored. The narrow laneways have a cooling effect, providing shade in the hot months. Where else would one sit than on the stone steps that connect so many of these buildings. Or perhaps on a chair positioned outside to suit the sitter’s purposes: companionship, gossip, games, peeling vegetables, reading? Twists and turns, ups and downs, archways and cobblestones, peeling plaster and paint, colourful, potted plants, washing on lines…how many families have inhabited this one place I am looking at? Where are their descendents now? Have they moved on or did they stay? What did people talk about? What did they do? Did neighbours live harmoniously? Did time pass quickly or slowly? Were they happy?
With a population of approximately 25,000, it is Slovenia’s chief port – in fact, it is chief port in the north of the Adriatic. It was once an island, but you would be hard pressed to figure out where the island ends and the mainland begins. It’s all infrastructure now!
Piran’s population is closer to 5,000, so it has a completely different feel to Koper. It is also contained on a peninsula, and one’s first view of it is breathtaking. Cars are out. Parking stations are provided on the outskirts, and shuttle buses operate between the marina and the car parks. Nice!