Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ptuj - not ready for prime time

In Italy, although we had no Italian language skills between us, we muddled along quite readily with a small Italian-English/English-Italian dictionary. In Slovenia and other Slavic countries this simple ruse did not work since, even if the appropriate word or phrase was found, pronouncing it was quite another matter. A case on point. Our route through Slovenia passed near Ptuj and we planned to stay there overnight. Although the campsite manager at Ljubljana spoke excellent English, we could not make our intention clear with our pronunciation of Ptuj, and finally had to point to it on a map. "Oh, 2-e" said the manager and proceeded to tell us all about Ptuj. The P is apparently silent and the J sounds like a Y making Ptuj rhyme with Dewey. We remained quite content to blunder on with hand signs and grunts.
With a population of about 11,000, Ptuj seems determined to get onto the tourist bandwagon to help energize its economy. Unfortunately, despite the ubiquitous castle on the hill, the fashionable walled city bit and the River Drava, it just does not appear to have the critical mass to ever hit the big-time. In its present, partially rebuilt condition, it is rife with building and refurbishment projects making getting about quite difficult, but still has numerous streets and alleys in sadly dilapidated condition. The "Town Tower", mentioned in the 14th century, is a central feature but even it is shorter than it was prior to its collapse in a fire in 1705. The castle too, has an air of uncertainty as it wavers between majoring as a weapons museum and a showplace of culinary arts replete with outrageously expensive samples. Nonetheless, we had an enjoyable day poking about town, visiting the castle and various adventures in parking.

"History in the making" as the city dressed these
hapless individuals for appearance in upcoming
propaganda pieces

More propaganda

After a long climb, the castle entrance

Castle courtyard and fountain - not much going on here

This beguiling little thing in the sedan
chair made a play but was resisted

Castle exit and shortcut to town

The "tower" from the castle road

Ptuj roofs and the river Drava

"Main" street and the nearly famous hotel

The rest of "main" street with the hotel again

The shopping area - notice the mannequin on the street,
not uncommon in the region but good for a double take

This utilitarian looking place turned out to
be a wine tasting and sales establishment

The town square

The largest church, St George, is at the
center of town and is un-steepled

The altar

Decorative detail among the pews

What a regal pulpit!

A side chapel

Another shabby side street leaving town

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