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Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Slovenia

My day begins in Podmolnik. Here I found a beautiful spot to park the Editourmobil and spent a peaceful night.

After breakfast I managed to arrange, at short notice, an interview with Dana dd in Mirna. Mr Mitja Majzelj greeted me warmly and took time to tell me about the company’s products as well explaining their vision for the future, and finally to take me on a conducted tour of the facility. Based in the region for nearly 60 years, Dana has been supplying drinks as varied as non-carbonated water, premium spirits, syrups, trend / sports drinks, soft drinks and juices, both locally and internationally. The packages range from PET to glass in the premium segment to Combibloc in the fruit juice division.

From a small distillery in the early 1950s, the company has grown into a large international supplier with around 100 employees, marketing its own brands as well as distributing Sinalco under licence. The distribution extends from local natural products to contract filling for the big discounters. Here machines from Sidel, Krones and Clever are in use packing volumes from single-serve bottles to 18.9l gallons. Currently in high demand are various flavoured water drinks that are made using bits of natural fruit without artificial additives.

It was a happy discovery that led to the company moving into the spring water sector. They were seeking an efficient method of cooling their machines and sank a borehole 180m into the earth. What came out was very high quality spring water, which led to the decision to branch out into a new market. The fact that the water was on tap, so to speak, made the decision a no-brainer.

At the end of a very interesting meeting, my reward was a consignment of the company’s excellent products, ideal for the Brau Beviale ... and, with an outside temperature of around 30 degrees, just the thing to quench my thirst also.

I have an important appointment on Thursday with Pivovarna Union, and as they are located right in the centre of the city, it makes sense for me to park as near as I can to their premises. Before I settle down for the night I decide to do a little tourist exploration of Ljubljana’s wonderful Old Town and sample its culinary delights. The "Lunch Café" looks tempting, and as an added bonus I can do some work there as well.

Suitably fed and watered, I stroll around the Old Town in the evening sunshine. The town is thronged with mainly young people who are enjoying the unexpectedly mild evening air and temperatures of 20 degrees plus.

This pleasant feeling evaporated instantly when I returned to the car park to discover that the front wheels of the Editourmobil had been clamped despite my parking perfectly properly. There’s a first time for everything, they say, but this was definitely unwelcome. There was no parking ticket nor any telephone number on the vehicle so I enlisted the help of a local bar owner, who put me in a taxi to take me to the address of someone who could help get the clamp removed. The taxi driver introduces me as a good friend of his, so I manage to escape paying an inflated fee. Everything seems to be more or less negotiable, and I finish the evening happily encamped amongst a stack of logs just outside Ljubljana.