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bicycling street arts

bicycling street arts

By tyle
Trip Plan Tags: 
adventure,
arts + culture,
city,
educational,
festival,
green/eco-friendly,
outdoors + nature,
road trip
Destinations: 
Asia,
Beyoglu,
Biaevo,
Croatia,
Dubrovnik,
Europe,
Istanbul,
Ljubljana,
Slovenia,
Turkey

Musicians and performance artists will travel with me on bicycles, bringing street arts to people around the world. We would begin in Germany and cycle south to Greece, back through Italy, and head east to Ukraine… Mongolia… Japan… with a sailing ship to North and South America... I have been planning this trip for over a year: rehearsing music, teaching my band to perform on stilts and as clowns. Traveling on bicycles instead of flying, using solar panels and maintaining the garden on our bicycle trailer are some of the ecological alternatives we will share on our trip, making it accessable to people of all cultures, through music and theater without words.

ITEMS

See + Do

Central Market, Slovenia

Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia

One of Plečnik's greatest designs is the colonnaded Central Market along Adamič-Lundrovo Nabrežje, just behind the cathedral. The stalls of the market fill the squares of Vodnikov Trg (mostly fruits and vegetables) and the adjacent Pogačarjev Trg (crafts and spices). A lot of the produce is imported from Spain and the Netherlands, but there is local stock, too. Some stalls sell nothing but salad leaves, great sacks of arugula, frisée, and oak-leaf lettuce. There are displays of honey and beeswax candles, dried mushrooms, hand-made farm implements, baskets, hand-knits and sheepskins (Mon.–Sat.). On Sundays, there's an eclectic flea market running south from the Triple Bridge along the Cankarjevo Nabrežje riverside walk, where there are lots of enticing café tables.

See + Do

Ljubljanski Grad, Slovenia

1 Grajska Planota
Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Tel: 386 1 232 9994

Though there's been some kind of a fortification on this site for more than 3,000 years, the existing castle is largely 16th- and 17th-century. There's not much to it these days, other than the grand old rooms—which host concerts, temporary exhibitions, and other events—and the Virtual Museum, which tries to re-create Ljubljana's past with the help of computers and 3-D displays. But the vantage point from the stone castle is exceptional, and a drink at the outdoor castle café is the perfect way to recover after trekking up the tower's 150-step spiral staircase. Directly below you is a panoramic view that stretches from the snowcapped peaks of the distant Julian Alps down to the terra-cotta-tiled roofs and the lazy green Ljubljanica River. The castle is reached via a steep hike through woodland that's carpeted in springtime with wild orchids and violets, though late 2006 saw the opening of a modern funicular that zips you up the hillside in just over a minute.

Nightlife

Jazz Club Gajo, Slovenia

8 Beethovnova Ulica
Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Tel: 386 1 425 3206
Website: www.jazzclubgajo.com

Drummer Drago Gajo played and recorded with some of the finest jazz musicians in the former Yugoslavia (Duško Gojkovic) and America (Clark Terry) before returning home to Ljubljana. His namesake club holds jam sessions and regular performances by local stars as well as groups from around the world. Know that music is the main focus here and nothing else, so don't expect private booths. The living room–size club is basically just a few tables in front of the stage and spotlights cutting through the darkness to illuminate the musicians. Seating is elusive even on regular nights; when big names are in town, it's standing room only.

Nightlife

Metelkova Mesto, Slovenia

Metelkova Ulica
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: 386 1 432 3378
Website: www.metelkova.org

Constantly under threat of closure by the government, this anarchic squat in the former Yugoslav army barracks takes its inspiration from Christiana, the infamous self-governing "freetown" in Copenhagen. It's an "autonomous cultural zone" where various artists, musicians, and other fringe-culture types have attempted to create their own city. Among the various offerings are Tiffany, the city's first gay club (open irregularly so call ahead); the Monokel lesbian club; plus punk, electronica, and jazz clubs.

See + Do

Festivals of the Dalmatian Coast

Winter is chilly on the Dalmatian Coast. No wonder the warm months are filled with opportunities to get out and about, such as Split's monthlong Summer Festival a performing arts celebration that fills theaters, squares, and galleries all over town. Highlights from past years include Le Corsaire, performed by the Latvian National Opera and Ballet House, and concerts by Moscow's Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra (runs from mid-July to mid-August; 385-21-363-014; www.splitsko-ljeto.hr). July and August is also the time for Korčula's traditional Festival of Sword Dances, a re-creation of a battle between two 16th-century armies. Combatants dressed in flowing red and black uniforms duel with genuine metal sabers (though they're not terribly sharp) in a tightly choreographed flurry of sparks, sweat, and bloody knuckles to the accompaniment of brass bands. The zaniest festival takes place in the end of July in Sutivan, Brač: Vanka Regule, a sort of Adriatic X Games, in which participants free-dive, windsurf, long-distance kayak, and jump bikes into the sea (385-98-522-725; www.vankaregule.com).

ALT HERE

See + Do

Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Croatia

Od Sigurate 1
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Tel: 385 20 326 100
Website: www.dubrovnik-festival.hr

For seven weeks each summer, you can soak up some culture along with the Adriatic sunshine, when world-class musical, dance, and dramatic acts (James Galway, the Leipzig String Quartet, the Croatian National Ballet) flock to outdoor stages all over Dubrovnik. Be warned: The crowds can be maddening; purchase tickets in advance.

ALT HERE

See + Do

Blue Cave, Biševo, Croatia

, Biševo, Croatia

Just across the water from Vis, the island of Biševo is famous for its waterlogged rock cavern, locally called the Modra Špilja, that can only be reached by boat. For an hour or so a day, usually beginning around 11 a.m., the grotto seems to glow from underneath with an incandescent blue light. Charter boats leave every morning from Komiža, on Vis, though once there, you'll have to swim or hop on a rowboat to get inside the cave. And while there's no question that most visitors feel an otherworldly connection to the place, on summer days it can get distractingly crowded.

Nightlife

Troubadour Jazz Cafe, Croatia

Buniceva poljana 2
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Tel: 385 20 323 476

Since it's virtually impossible to wander Old Town and not walk by Troubadour, with its alfresco live bands and legion of chairs, it's no surprise that it's both pricey and a bit touristy. But those chairs and folks sipping beer do look tempting. Dixieland jazz bands (and sometimes Marco, the owner) set up outside or in front of the bar, and appreciative patrons regularly get up and dance. Show up by 9:30 if you want a chair.

Nightlife

Nardis Jazz Club, Turkey

14 Kuledibi Sokak, Galata
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: 90 212 244 6327
Website: www.nardisjazz.com

Every bit the real-deal jazz joint, with a dark, musky interior of exposed brick and a small stage that sees a variety of mostly local jazz acts. Vocalists, pianists, trios, or quartets play every night of the week except Sunday to a largely older crowd that tends to pack the venue by the time the music starts around 10 pm. Located on a side street just behind the Galata Tower, Nardis also serves a slightly overpriced dinner menu and will impose a cover charge, whether you choose to eat or not.

Closed Sundays and the month of August.

Nightlife

Ghetto, Turkey

10 Kalyoncu Kulluk Caddesi, Beyoğlu
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: 90 212 251 7501
Website: www.ghettoist.net

A former bakery set in a split-level historic building with 33-foot ceilings adorned with frescoes, Ghetto is a self-proclaimed music lounge (except without sofas) catering to an affluent crowd of enthusiasts from their 20s into middle age. The fare covers the spectrum of world music as well as cutting-edge brands of jazz. Sets don't normally begin until around 11 p.m.; until then, the venue serves as a more peaceful bar. Turkish fare, usually a set-menu dinner, is also served upstairs.

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Nightlife

Babylon, Turkey

3 Şeyhbender Sokak, Tünel-Asmalımescit
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: 90 212 292 7368
Website: www.babylon.com.tr

This ever-popular venue is owned by music and events company Pozitif, which also has a hand in the Doublemoon label, home to many of Turkey's leading names in rock, jazz, electronica, and world music. Many of these musicians play regular sets there, along with big international names like Courtney Pine, Stereolab, and Arrested Development. Babylon's smaller size and hippie edge make for a friendly atmosphere and an intimate experience; look out for their special monthly club nights, such as the high-spirited Oldies But Goldies. Tickets often sell out days in advance, so buy ahead, and bear in mind that the club closes over the summer and moves to Alaçatı on the Aegean coast.

Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.