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C + 20 : Becoming Slovenia

Sailing to Piran in Slovenia today. We left Croatia at 7 pm since immigration between EU - members nowadays takes quite a while. Immigrating from Montenegro to Croatia took 5 min. Leaving Croatia for Slovenia took 90 min for emigration and 2 hours to get through the border controls in Slovenia. Clearly, the European Union is delivering value for money. Wonder whether any of the politicians in Brussels ever took our trip. I guess not ...

Between Croatia and Slovenia - the sea was calm at 7 am

Following half a mile behind us was our second boat the Maske

Croatian border control where we put the two boats side by side - there was a lot of palaver at the emigration desk - of course all paid by European tax payers

Once we crossed the border, the Slovenian Flag had to be on top

Just before reaching the Venetian town of Piran, we saw in the far distance the outlines of the Italian Alps. Over the last thee years we indeed travelled from the Levant to the heart of Europe - exactly as the Venetians did for many centuries

Piran is today one of Slovenia's Crown Jewels - it features on every tourism brochure

Slovenia is a young nation. Before the Napoleonic wars it did not even appear on maps. People speaking the Slovenian dialect of the south slavic language were living between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps. Politically, they were part of Austria whilst Croatia was part of Hungary. When the French governed here from 1806 to 1813, they inspired a nationalist movement in order to weaken the ties of the local population to Austria. The movement was not very successful. During the European Spring in 1848, the Slovene National Movement tried to organise an open rebellion but was quickly suppressed. But the idea of Slovenia as a nation was difficult to erase.

The Slovenes had to wait though. In 1918, after World War I, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created as a unitarian state for all people of south slavic origin. No consideration was given that the Serbs were oriented towards Constantinople and Russia, the Croats for centuries were part of the Hungarian Kingdom and the Slovenes belonged for more than thousand years to the Holy German Empire. Tensions between these nationalities arose quickly and broke out in open violence during WWII. The Nazi incited the violence as it served their political strategy to divide and rule.

To unite the people of Yugoslavia in 1943, Marshall Tito, the successful and wily partisan leader, proposed a federal structure for the new Yugoslav state. Being of Croatian descent himself, he wanted to curb Serb dominance. He created six republics (Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia) which formed the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia. Borders followed historical precedents but were drawn arbitrarily where there were none. Slovenia was the First Nation that broke successfully away from Yugoslavia and became an independent state in 1991. The tiny country was independent first time ever.

Piran's old harbour - the first station of Venetian galleys on their way to the Levante

The closer we come to Venice the more the church towers resemble the Campanile on San Marco Square

View over Piran's roofs and its large market square from the Campanile

Last dinner on the boat - tomorrow we will arrive in Venice - now that we completed the three years' sailing from Jaffa to Venice, what are we going to do next year?

Piran's harbour was too shallow for our boats. We thus

decided to drop a sea anchor and stay out in the bay. It

would be a quiet night anyway.

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