The Park is extremely privileged to welcome a team from Mezica in Slovenia for a friendly match against the Rain Men at 2.30pm tomorrow (Friday).
We would love to see a big turnout from club members to support them; both sides are packed with extraordinary characters with stories to tell. You can read the full match preview here
The weather is set fair and it promises to be a very sociable occasion, with the bar and barbie running.
Please get down there and make our visitors very welcome.
To help you strike up a conversation, here are 15 things you may not know about Slovenia:
- Slovenia is one of the smaller countries in Europe by population with just 2million or so. Its capital is Ljubljana; its official language is slovene or as the locals would say slovenščina, it joined the EU in 2004 and the currency is the euro
- It is bordered by Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia, was part of the former Yugoslavia and emerged as a separate nation state in 1991
- Anyone who has been there will tell you it is a truly beautiful country, a hidden gem, with Alpine scenery, the Mediterranean and a small stretch of coast on the Adriatic Sea.
- Slovenia’s national day of culture is February 8, the anniversary of the death of its greatest poet, France Prešeren. It is a national holiday. One of Prešeren’s works, A Toast, is now Slovenia’s national anthem.
- Almost 60 per cent of Slovenia is covered by forest. The figure is increasing, as every year more than 1,200,000 trees are planted.
- It has almost 27,000km of rivers, streams and other watercourses.
- Slovenia has one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe – between 500 and 700 of them, it is believed.
- The linden or linden leaf is an important symbol for Slovenians. The Najevnik Linden in Koroška is said to be more than 780 years old. Every August for the past 20 years, the country’s leading politiians have gathered at the tree.
- There are almost 3,000 churches, chapels and religious monuments, one of the highest number per capita in Europe.
- Maribor, the second-largest city, is home to the oldest vine in the world. Although it is more than 400 years old, its Žametna Črnina grapes still produce 25litres of wine every year.
- Vilenica cave near Lokev is the oldest show cave in Europe. Tourists have been visiting it since 1633. Every year the Vilenica international literary prize is awarded in the cave’s ‘ballroom’.
- More than 60 world records in ski jumping and ski flying have been set in Planica. Ski jumpers in Planica were the first to break the magic 100m and 200m barriers.
- Its gastronomic festivals include the Saltworkers’ Festival, the Cabbage Festival, Chestnut Sunday and Bean Day.
- The official symbol of Ljubljana is the dragon which, according to legend, was killed by the Ancient Greek hero Jason and his intrepid Argonauts on their way through the Ljubljana marshes
- Bled Island is still a popular place to get married. According to tradition, in order to ensure a long and happy marriage, the groom must carry the bride up the 99 steps leading to the island.