Andreja Podlogar & Blaž Bertoncelj: Tango Pioneers

By , 13 Oct 2018, 12:43 PM Made in Slovenia
Andreja and Blaž at Studio BA Tango Andreja and Blaž at Studio BA Tango Photo: Tomaž Dular

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Andreja Podlogar and Blaž Bertoncelj are Argentinian tango world champions, internationally acclaimed artists, innovative teachers, researchers, critical thinkers and global tango ambassadors, whose visionary work is gathered in a small dance studio lab in the centre of Ljubljana, called Studio BA Tango. Andreja and Blaž shared with us their knowledge and views on the dance itself, its historic development, their diverse work and future plans, which include an ambitious project to create a global creative platform for critical thinking, applied knowledge and development of new creative potentials in the field, starting with an international tango symposium, which they plan to organise in 2019 in no other place but Ljubljana.

October 13, 2018

Where did you two first meet?

Blaž: On the dancefloor.

Andreja: We met at the Urška dance school in Ljubljana. We were both competing in Latin and ballroom dances at the time.

Blaž: But in different couples.

So that was long time ago?

Blaž: We were teenagers back then. Later on, when we were both without dance partners, we decided to start dancing together.

How did you switch to tango?

Andreja: In 1996 a tango show came to Cankar Centre (Cankarjev dom), where I worked a student job as an usher and was thus well informed about all the touring groups coming to Ljubljana. So we watched the show… I got in for free, but Blaž had to buy a ticket.

Blaž: We didn’t have time to meet that evening, so we met the next day in the Drama Café and I began explaining to Andreja right away on how we should proceed with tango, as there was no tango in Ljubljana at all, and the more I was explaining to her the more she was laughing, which made me believe that she found my ideas ridiculous, and so I tried to elaborate further, which made her laugh even more…

Andreja: I was laughing because I thought exactly the same. Since we happened to have the same idea in our minds already, it was only natural to pursue it as well, and things moved really fast from there on.

The show was in June, in August I left for London where I got in contact with a tango teacher and arranged classes we then took in November. These were, however, not our first tango lessons.

Blaž: We were in fact quite fortunate with the timing. In September of this same year our colleague Uroš Andič was returning from New York, where he spent a few years teaching social dancing. It just happened that the studio where he was teaching had an internal study exchange as a big tango show - “Forever Tango “ - was on Broadway and the dancers from the show practised there, so he ended up learning tango from a famous dancer, Carlos Gavito. It was actually Uroš, who gave us our first classes in September 1996.

Andreja: He came back just at the right moment.

And two years later you won the IDO Argentine Tango World Championship.

Blaž: Our background was in competitive dancing, so our first, spontaneous approach to tango was to compete.

Andreja: After working with Uroš we went to London, studied there for about a month, then some Argentinian couples came to Ljubljana for a few weeks and we worked with them, but, of course, we also worked a lot by ourselves.

We went to Buenos Aires for the first time in 1998, where we worked really hard for about 8 to 10 hours a day with a teacher for about a month. Then we returned home to our studio and continued the hard work, analysing things we learned, on our own and with Uroš, who nevertheless still possessed a lot of knowledge, albeit of a different kind. Every teacher has a different approach, and in those days we also benefited a lot from Jelena Markovič, a ballet dancer, who gave us yet another perspective on movement in dance. Again, we worked really hard before we won this championship, with other people as well as on our own.

Blaž: Soon we were fifth in the European championship, then third, then we won the world championship in 1998. It’s interesting to note that Carlos Gavito, who taught Uroš Andič in New York, won this same championship a year later.

Becoming world champions made us wonder what to do next, what is our next step going to be. So from this technical perfectionism that is characteristic of competitive dancing we moved towards exploring the artistic side of the dance.

If we look back on how our view of tango evolved, going to Buenos Aires and then coming back to analyse, discuss and explore what we had learned allowed us to adopt a certain critical distance towards it all. If we had the money to stay in Buenos Aires for a year, for example, we would have perhaps gotten under the complete influence of one or two teachers, which would probably have prevented us from seeing things from a broader perspective.

Andreja: Each teacher can only provide you with their point of view, and if you get under the influence of one teacher only you can’t develop your own style, you can’t develop your own approach to the subject, so being forced to learn about tango from so many different perspectives worked really well for us.

What exactly do you mean by a critical distance?

Blaž: We were lucky to have met with tango before the Argentinian economic breakdown of 2002, which transformed tango into an export industry, redesigned to meet the need for instant cultural products on the global market. Two main trends evolved from this situation that still persist in the so-called tango world today. There is this tendency the majority pursues for a traditional essence in tango, which we see as some sort of an artificially prescribed idea of a past that never really existed. On the other hand there is an oppositional minority to this view, which however doesn’t seem to be very capable, or have the courage needed, to create an alternative to the subject of its criticism.

There are two main problems with the so-called “traditional” style of tango that we managed to observe. First its naming is not accurate, as traditionally tango never consisted of only one style. It’s a hybrid of different dance styles and social codes that were recently put together to be sold to American and European consumers as the “real” Argentine tango. And secondly, following the 1990s boom and the discovery of tango in terms of business, there was a sudden explosion in the quantity of teaching, but not in the quality, and this had adverse effects on the dancing.

Andreja: There was no such a thing as a traditional style in the 1990s, when we went to Buenos Aires. Then tango was still danced in its organic form by the older generation, who managed to preserve it through the military rule and then revive it in the late 1980s and 1990s. If something is organic, it means that it keeps evolving in many styles. As Maria Nieves once stated: “One thing I notice that is so different now is that today, everybody dances the same. When I went to a milonga I saw that all the women hung from the men’s necks, pushed their behinds out, pressed themselves against their partner’s chest and stayed so separated below that in between you could see a tramway. This style is today’s fashion. I respect it, but it’s not my taste. My time was a splendorous time for tango, because you wouldn’t find two boys who danced the same” (quoted from Paul Pelicoro, “On Tango”)

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At Milonga La Viruta, Buenos Aires, 2016                              Photo: Marko Vombergar
 

This dogmatic approach everyone seems to be obsessing over these days also involves some social norms of the past, such as the cabaceo, a male dancer’s invitation to dance by a discrete look towards a lady. This might have made sense in a historic context, but it really seems redundant today. There was no cabaceo in sight in the 1990s milongas, when an old man came to me and said “Come, let’s dance.”

So all this stiffness is a consequence of quick fixes that responded to the demand for “real” tango by European and American cultural consumers. Due to the poor economic conditions at home many Argentinians decided to enter the market for tango, as all you needed to persuade the buyers that you knew what you were doing was to be Argentinian, as if everyone in the country knew how to dance.

Blaž: You could read in Argentinian newspapers success stories that went as follows: I used to be an architect, but then I lost my job, now I am touring the world as a successful tango teacher.

Is tango not danced that widely in Argentina?

Blaž: Tango started as a street culture of Montevideo and Buenos Aires and developed in a similar fashion to hip hop in more recent times: it was danced to the popular music of the time, with dance duels in the streets and so on.

Andreja: Tango was danced in the streets, in brothels and coffee shops, and was therefore looked down on by the upper classes. In the 1913-14, however, it became popular in Europe, especially in Paris. Rich Argentinians were spending their summers in Paris, you see, and their children, being young, had picked the dance up in the streets of their home cities, and they took it to Paris with them on vacation, where it gained popularity in the years leading to World War One. From Paris tango returned home as an acceptable middle class dance, which took off in the tango boom of the 1920s and 1930s. The country is a mixture of influences, often unexpected. An old Argentinian passenger we met at an airport once asked us whether we knew what an Argentinian was, then he explained, an Argentinian is an Italian who speaks Castellano (Spanish), likes French art and wants to be a British lord.

Sounds very white.

Andreja: Well, you can hear and see influences of Afro-Cuban origin in the music and dance itself, but you don’t see many coloured people in Buenos Aires let alone in its tango scene. But this is also not a topic people there would be very comfortable talking about.    

Blaž: If you dig a bit into it you learn a lot of interesting stories about this earlier era when tango was booming. For example, one on the origin of what’s called “tango red”. Apparently, there was this textile salesman in Paris, who got stuck with a bale of material that nobody wanted to buy due to its unappealing brownish yellow colour. So he decided to use the latest craze in the city to sell it. He put the fabric in a window with a sign saying “tango red” next to it. He had no problems in selling it after that. What all this means is that many people today have no idea how the dance actually developed, and why their traditions are fake.

Andreja: So when tango was accepted by the higher classes in Buenos Aires – because it became popular in Paris – they started valuing it. Big dance halls developed with orchestras of 12 musicians (Orquesta Tipica) playing in them.

Blaž: With the development of the Tango de Salon in the 1930s, many rules were imposed on what was acceptable on the dancefloor and what wasn’t, as these places were also quite packed. And they had bouncers to make sure people followed the rules.

Andreja: In the city salons some moves were deemed inappropriate, such as a man getting a lady’s leg between his legs. But the dance in itself was still organic, dancers competed with each other in inventing their own styles, and – as we were told by Puppy Castello, an older, famous tango teacher – he was thrown out from many of these places for doing his own thing. At the same time, at the clubs in the outskirts of the town, the codes were looser and they danced everything. The style of tango varied according to where it was danced. Also each neighbourhood in Buenos Aires had its own style of tango – for example a popular barrio for tango was Avelaneda, and people there were known to dance with more experimental choreography...

Blaž: Social dancers today are just not aware of these developments when they claim to be dancing ”traditional” style. In the 30s, for example, it would not be acceptable to dance in a way so close like today, especially not with a stranger.

Andreja: Yes, the close embrace, also known as milonguero or club style is something that developed in the club scene of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955 tango went into decline in Argentina as the military dictatorship banned public gatherings, and only came back at the end of the 1980s to join various other dances that had developed since then.

So tango seems to be a little different if compared to other partner dances?

Blaž: Unlike other couple dances, where steps are dictated by the music and a woman is led by a man, tango is an improvisational dance which requires a lot of communication between the partners.

Our initial approach to tango was in perfecting it technically, but after that we figured there was a vast artistic potential waiting to be explored, so we began researching the dance and the way it developed a bit deeper.

What we found in tango, and not in other couple dances, is this nonverbal communication which allows you to bypass all language barriers to get the message across. It therefore covers a large spectrum of emotions that can be conveyed, a theatre of a universal language.

Andreja: You can, for example, put on a stage a salsa spectacle, but it’s almost impossible to use salsa as a theatre language by which a more complex story could be told. It is just too one-dimensional, always happy or joyful. Tango, however, is in a way very similar to contemporary dance – emotionally expressive, you can actually tell a story with it.

You put a tango version of Othello on stage recently?

Blaž: Yes, and we worked quite hard putting this show on. The idea came in 2010, and it premiered in 2014. This was not the first time a dance version of Othello was placed on the stage. There is one very famous choreography by Jose Limon titled The Moors Pavane, however, this is a contemporary dance choreography and only 15 minutes long. Our show is 90 minutes, and we tried to implement all sorts of things into it, new technologies and sound to support the story, which was expressed mainly through the dance.

So what we tried to do was to keep the original story line but appropriate it to the tango environment of Buenos Aires, with Othello being a gringo tango dancer.

An American?

Blaž: A foreigner.

Andreja: Someone out of place.

Blaž: A foreigner dancing and teaching tango in Buenos Aires. Desdemona is the daughter of a famous local tango teacher, and Iago is a local tango dancer and Casio – remember that tango was not only a thing in Buenos Aires but also in Montevideo – Casio is Uruguayan tango dancer, and they are putting on a show in a theatre in Buenos Aires…

Andreja: If you know the story, the plot begins in Venice and then it moves to Cyprus, to an island, somewhere isolated...

Blaž: Yes, in our show, the Theatro el Cipro in Buenos Aires.

And then we encountered certain aspects of storytelling that you cannot convey entirely with the language of the dance. It is good in expressing the interactions between the characters, but there are certain things in the narrative we had to express with other media.

Andreja: Especially the manipulation.

Blaž: Yes, especially the actions of Iago.

 

Andreja: Iago was played by Uroš Andič, who did a very good job. But it was impossible for his character to express all the plots that run through his head. As we wanted to clarify the story for members of the audience who might not be familiar with the plot, we had to use some other techniques. Blaž was studying multimedia in Nova Gorica at the time, and that came handy. We also had a director, a very good director, Alberto Goldberg from Argentina...

Blaž: We couldn’t direct everything ourselves as well…

Andreja: Then one year before we premiered, and we were still developing the concepts, experimenting with all possible solutions, he was listening to our ideas and we probably gave him headache, and when he eventually left he just wished us good luck.

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Othello at Španski borci, Ljubljana, 2014                                        Photo: Tomaž Jakhel
 

Blaž: We were putting on quite a complex show. There were only three dancers on stage, for Othello, Desdemona and Iago, everyone and everything else was presented through various other media and had to be synchronised with what was happening live on stage.

Andreja: For example, as Desdemona I was filmed on the screen, dancing with other characters, let’s say with Casio, then Othello enters and I disappear from the screen and turn up on the stage.

Blaž: So all these transitions, such as how the handkerchief goes from the screen to the stage and back to the screen again, all these puzzles had to be solved, which made the project not just difficult but also very interesting. And once we premiered we were fortunate enough to be invited to perform at the Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires in 2016.

 

Were you nervous to perform with a culturally critical show at the place were tango originated?

BA: Yes, very much.

Andreja: On our arrival, we checked the stage for all the exit points, so that we would know where to run off if needed.

Blaž: It’s an experiment, things can go wrong. Besides, you never know how the audience is going to react.

But the show was sold out in two hours, and was really well accepted. It’s something we are really proud of, it carries the same weight as winning the world championship.

Andreja: Well it’s really hard to compare.

Blaž: It’s hard to compare, but it’s one of those things that makes you say, wow, I did it!

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Othello at Kirchner Cultural Centre, Buenos Aires, 2016         Photo: Fede Kaplun
 

Andreja: It really was a great achievement at the time. We always try to do something different, something that fulfils another aspect of what we are working on, exploring uncharted territories rather than sticking to something well tested and safe. A lot of today’s contemporary dance shows, ones that are considered alternative and different, have in fact become quite mainstream, predictable and safe.

Blaž: They are by definition a contemporary dance, and this is something you can categorise and sell, gets subsidies for and so on. We have always been difficult to categorise, so we fall in-between the genres.

Is it hard to apply for subsidies then, since what you do is so different?

Blaž: It was even hard to get this project to festivals, just before we were invited to Buenos Aires, the Cankar Centre in Ljubljana had an open call for the season to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Half the programme was devoted to Shakespeare, the other half to the use of new technologies in stage performances. We applied for both with Othello, but were turned down as they claimed that by that time they had already run out of the budget.

Two months later we were invited to Buenos Aires and received a long thank you letter from the Slovenian embassy there for our efforts in promoting the country abroad.

We are trying to get into a collaboration with the theatres, as we can’t do everything by ourselves, and theatres already have marketing channels, audiences…

Andreja: We are artists, we are already the dancers and teachers, and marketing really isn’t our strong point. We are outside the theatre lobbies on the one hand, and we are not coming from the contemporary dance scene, which usually get subsidies, on the other…, so we are not here, not there...

You are outsiders?

Blaž: If we went back to the idea of the classical tango show instead of our tango theatre, we might have been more successful in terms of the number of performances, but that’s not what we’d like to do anymore. Lately we’ve been thinking about performing in small theatres, which has been quite a global trend at the moment, one that started in Spain during the recession, but you can find it everywhere now.

Are there any places like this in Ljubljana?

Blaž: The problem in Ljubljana is that the old Yugoslavian law, which defined public events quantitatively by the number of people attending (30), was later changed so that the number was left out of the definition. This means that for a single ticket sold you need to follow same safety measures, from the security to fire brigade, as you would in the case of a show presented to a hundred people. This makes small theatres economically impossible to sustain.

We have two open cultural “oases” in Ljubljana, namely Metelkova and Rog, where these legal requirements are not being implemented. This is OK as long as no accidents happen there. If the legislation was adjusted to the reality, however, it would be much better not only for these two sites, but also for a revival of the public lives of local communities, where little local theatre places would be allowed to pop up, say in Celovški Dvori or Fužine. Such public spaces are needed for people to meet, to have an opportunity to create, to feel alive. Right now, nobody is allowed to create much, only consume, while at the same time we know there is no money for any new infrastructure needed for the preforming arts to develop, either.

Was Othello the first theatre show you staged?

Blaž: As we already mentioned, after winning the world championship in 1998 we decided to explore the artistic side of the dance, so in 2001 we performed at Dubrovnik Summer Festival with our first show, Tango Prohibido, which was very well received, but had a simple story that was there more or less as an excuse for the choreography.

 

Andreja: This show was technically very good in terms of dance – we received a national award, “Povodni mož”, for the choreography – but not really in terms of a theatrical performance. At the time we had only just started exploring this aspect of the art.

We did our first show, Tango Prohibido, the way the Argentine tango shows looked like in those days, which meant we needed more dancers, a bandoneon or accordion player and a singer. We asked Uroš Andič and his partner, then we ran out of available options, so the third couple had to be trained. It turned out, however, that training amateurs is not such an easy task, as they are quite easily satisfied with what they do, whereas professionals always feel a bit insecure and therefore practice more, and also put a better show on in the end.

On the other hand, we were lucky to meet accordion player Marko Hatlak and an actress Lara Jankovič while filming a film “Tango -5”, by Tomaž Letnar, so we asked them to be a part of our first show. 

Our next show, called Tango E-mocion, premiered in 2002. We decided to put on a show with professional dancers only, and make the story a bit more complex. It was the first show, where we also used multimedia.

 

At about this time in 2003, we were also invited to perform at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival.

Blaž: This put us in a dilemma as to whether we should present something what is generally believed to be tango, or something showing how we feel about tango. The first choice meant a certain moderate success, the second carried the risk of failure...

Andreja: We decided to dance to “Adios Nonino” by Astor Piazzolla, which was quite a controversial choice of music. Although many Europeans and Americans learnt about tango through Piazzolla, you will not hear his music at the so-called traditional tango milongas, where it isn’t considered suitable. Also, Piazzolla wrote this music in memory to his father, it’s a very emotional and sad piece.

We got standing ovations for the show, and while walking off the stage we had to pass through the audience, all of them cheering us on, then we reached the media area and really shocked them with our poor knowledge of Spanish: oh, you are not from Buenos Aires?!

Blaž: We received huge national and broader media coverage, including in the Washington Post, CNN and New York Herald Tribune…we were also invited to perform on their national TV with a famous Argentinian dance couple who used to dance in the aforementioned big show, “Forever Tango”. Unfortunately we don’t also have any footage of the show, but all of this happened so fast, it was difficult to follow. Luckily, it wasn’t the last time we received this kind of media attention as we continued creating things we like to do.

Andreja: At the time, however, we started to think about putting on a theatrical performance with a more profound story. So we asked a professional in the field, the playwright Tomaž Letnar, to write a drama for our next tango performance. Harmonia, tango drama, premiered in the Cankar Centre in Ljubljana in 2006, and in 2010 we applied with this performance to the Cambalache Tango, Theatre and Dance Festival in Buenos Aires, and got accepted.

 

Again, the show was well received by both audiences and critics, and we got a lot of media coverage again, including the dance papers Critica Teatral, Alternativa Teatral and Balletin Dance. For the newspaper Clarin we had an extensive interview with the recognized dance critic Laura Falcoff, who is also the author of a book on tango.

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Vizotto Harmonia at Cambalache Festival, 2010
 
 

A little earlier you were talking about tango being an improvisational dance. But you probably don’t improvise while staging a theatrical show, do you?

Andreja: In theatrical performances with a narrative, we need a choreography, of course, but when our main concern is dancing, then we improvise.

Blaž: When we dance with live musicians, you really have to improvise, as they never play the same way twice. For example, in the project Tango Story we dance with Ars Tango Quintet and we never have choreography, so the performance is always somehow different...we won’t dance the same, let’s say, in SNG Drama next February as we danced on Arsana Festival last July... 

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Arsana festival, Ptuj, 2018                                                            Photo: Albin Bezjak
 

Andreja: And then it’s also the stage, sometimes we only have one metre of space to perform on, with quite a fall from the edge.

Blaž: Yes, on one hand we do all these choreographed shows for theatre, on the other hand, we also developed a teaching system and give classes to people, who’d like to learn the dance. This brings us to an important point, which is the control of your body as an instrument. Without it, you won’t be able to express yourself. For example, if you have a piece of paper and some watercolours and you’d like to paint a beautiful sunset, then if you’ve never learnt how to paint, your painting might, let’s put it politely, turn out a bit different from what was originally intended.

We see too many people today just being offered some steps and sequences to copy, perhaps even doing some damage to their bodies while they’re doing what they believe to be the right movement.

Andreja: This is why the music has become so one-dimensional at the traditional milongas, people don’t really know how to dance to something that doesn’t dictate the step. But we like to dance to music we like. And in order to express oneself, one needs to adopt a proper technique. It sounds like the hard way, but it pays off as knowing the technique, having your body in control, you can enjoy the movement you create. And it’s not really that difficult. Being sort of pioneers, we feel an obligation to develop a system of teaching, of transmitting the knowledge we obtained throughout the years. So we developed a skill of identifying the problems our students struggle with and the remedies for them, instead of just showing them how things are supposed to look and then leaving them to figure out how to copy of it, as is often done these days.

Blaž: As Andreja has already mentioned, you have this counter movement that is against the “tradition”. Now we are not against it, we accept the heritage, we do not, however, support this iconographic idea of the tradition. On the other hand, we are not just sitting here in Europe complaining about the situation out there, we go out there and risk doing something different. We go to Buenos Aires and dance in the middle of the street in front of 2,500 people or even more, in front of the government building on Avenida de Maya to the music of Magnifico.

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Av. de Majo, Buenos Aires, 2016                                          Photo: Marko Vombergar
 

Which song?

Blaž: Ruska, from the soundtrack of “Montevideo, bog te video”.

 

What is “Tango Nuevo”, and is this the version of tango you dance?

Andreja: In 1999 we went to Buenos Aires to attend the first International congress of Argentine tango, when the idea of the so called Tango Nuevo was implemented. In the 1990s three teachers, three tango dancers, Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas and Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli, began searching for structural consistencies in the dance. So they developed a system of solutions to various circumstances that can emerge from the situations a couple can encounter in the mutual exchange of conversation that occurs in dance.

Blaž: Basically they said to themselves, ok, we have a certain position, where can we proceed from here on…

Andreja: … what are the possibilities to improvise from a particular position onwards? So they developed this somewhat structural model, a dance grammar, which allows us to improvise more freely, and this is what is called Tango Nuevo.

In 2006 we went back to practice and learn the model with Gustavo Naveira, who was actually the main leader of this project…

Blaž: It was in fact a teacher training programme…

Andreja: It was really intense, he is perhaps the teacher we gained from most from in the shortest period of time. And what we learnt from him is also what our students now benefit from the most. This way teaching is actually very interesting, and we wouldn’t do it if it was just about showing the steps. There is, however, a bit of a confusion among dancers today about what Tango Nuevo stands for, they believe it is when you dance in an open embrace and ….

Blaž: … you do some crazy stuff.

 

Andreja: Only that the so-called crazy stuff has always been done in tango, but with Tango Nuevo you can now do it from any point in the dance without having to memorize the whole choreography, thus creating your own combinations in each dance.

We enjoy seeing how our students create things that wouldn’t think of doing only a year before, when they started to dance with us.

Who are your students?

Andreja: They come from all walks of life: competitive dancers, teachers, social dancers, but most of them are just ordinary people who started dancing tango because they found it interesting. Their age ranges from 20 to 70, even 80 years old, and I should note that 70 year-olds can sometimes do things many in their 40s can’t.

You are also active in the field of research. You are preparing a study on the benefits of dance among the elderly.

Blaž: Yes, a few years ago we made a study A pilot research of dance movement and social aspects of application of Argentine tango in the population of deaf people - it was great to see deaf people dancing tango, and also how other dancers changed their mentality about the deaf after watching them dancing. The title of this new study is Prevention of Falls in the Population of Elderly People. We are currently working with a medical team on the protocol of the study. The aim of the study is to offer solutions that would mitigate the effects of an ageing society. Tango dancing could not only reduce the costs related to a lack of fitness and coordination among the elderly, but also problems associated with solitude and a lack of interests.

Andreja: The aim of the study is to scientifically prove what we’ve known from practice for quite a while. The point is, however, that technique and practice are done in accordance with the anatomic functions of the body. You need to know which things are good for you and what can cause harm. People have back problems, their knees hurt, etc., and don’t seem to know where this came from.

Blaž: We tend to believe that dance teachers, just like any other coach, should first gain a certain teaching licence. I received swimming coaching for eight years and no parent would entrust their child to an unlicensed swimming instructor. But since no one can drown on the dance floor it’s believed no damage can be done at all. We have seen, however, how some really bad dance teaching could cause serious lower back and knee problems in a couple of years.

You mentioned earlier that you encountered tango during your student years. What did you study?

Andreja: I wanted to study medicine at first, but then friends persuaded me not to, as I would have to sit at a desk and study and wouldn’t have time to dance any more. So I applied and finished pharmacy, while making sure to take as many medical courses as I could, while my degree thesis was also done at the Faculty of Medicine. I draw on my knowledge of the anatomy of movement when teaching quite a lot in my dance classes, at least in terms of movement optimization and prevention of injuries. Based on the concept of biomechanics I have also developed a technique of floor exercises – the TangoFloorTec technique – which helps to develop an understanding of the correct posture and body movements otherwise carried out while standing up.

Blaž, earlier, when we talked about your theatrical performance of Othello, Andreja mentioned that many solutions in the show came from your studies of multimedia arts at the University of Nova Gorica.

Blaž: Yes, but before that I’ve earned a BA in interior design.

Have you designed this dance studio? It looks very pretty, like a little Sistine Chapel.

Blaž: This is in fact wallpaper of a mural in the Louvre, The Kidnapping of Europe, one of the rare occasions in which my original degree came of use. When we got this studio it was just four barren walls. This is not only our dance school but more like a laboratory for us, everything is happening here, children practice piano, or just dance as well. We spend a lot of time here. If a crisis strikes with our apartment at home, we could just crash here for a while.

Tomaz_Dular_2 - Studio BA Tango.jpg
At Studio BA Tango                                                              Photo: Tomaž Dular
 

We have a very personal approach to our students as well, which they appreciate a lot since it’s very important for the development of each individual student to have a lot of care and works in a relaxed atmosphere... But on the other hand it was interesting that when we had team building exercise for companies, and the first activity was just to stand there, observe and do nothing, you could see how uncomfortable the majority of people felt. We have so much practice in putting social masks on in our everyday communication with each other, but it’s interesting to see how the body doesn’t lie.

Andreja: They told us later that they learnt a lot of things regarding communication skills, but that for them this was the most horrible exercise they’d ever done.

Blaž: Because if you want to learn about body language and interaction, then you have to step out of your comfort zone.

This wasn’t a tango workshop, was it?

Blaž: This was a team building workshop in a company. We had it because tango and management seem to have certain similarities, in that both require lots of communication skills. We also gave an interview about this to the magazine published by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce.

If a firm has an autocratic boss, who is in a constant monologue, then it won’t get very far in business these days. It’s a very similar thing in tango.

Andreja: For example, in tango if you’d like to take the lead and you communicate this to your partner through touch, by grabbing them slightly stronger, you will get their attention about what you are planning to do. But if you do this all the time they will stop “hearing” you. It’s the same thing in management. If you lead softly, and then in a crucial moment push a bit, you will get the attention. But if you push and shout all the time, your employees will sooner or later start to ignore you.

Blaž: We tend to search for universalities that apply across various fields.

What are your plans for the future?

Blaž: Because of all the divisions we see in the global tango society today, we decided to organise the 21st Century Tango and Art Symposium in Ljubljana next year.

Andreja: The idea is to bring together all those who are capable of critical thinking and don’t need to identify themselves with any of the particular camps. People who are critical but also creative. Our main concern for tango is in the quality of its evolution, not that much in the ongoing “traditional” vs. “contemporary” quarrel, which fails to address the main issues. These are in developing the artistic potential of the dance as well as a proper teaching system which supports the development of tango’s fullest potential. To achieve these goals one needs a supportive environment, a platform for the exchange of knowledge, for the exchange and growth of ideas.

Blaž: What we want to achieve in, say, five years’ time, is to establish some kind of a platform for critical thinking about tango in today’s environment. Because today we see less and less quality projects, and this is unfortunately a global phenomenon that transcends the boundaries of tango or dancing. Everything seems to be going in the same direction of fast production for immediate consumption. Not much of value to society comes out of this. There are many small but important projects that lie fragmented around the globe that could make a difference in the quality of life of many people if they reached them. For example, we have worked on a project of tango for the deaf, and I know there was a project in London in which tango was used as a tool for reintegration of the homeless back into the society. So many of these small projects are happening around the globe, but there is no platform that would allow them to meet, make themselves visible and empower each other in mutual support and cooperation. Our 21st Century Tango and Art Symposium should be the beginning of that.

Tania Mendillo Privat 1.jpg
Photo:Tania Mendillo

Editorial

Gourmet

  • Slovenian Recipe of the Week: St. Martin's Feast

    November 9, 2018

    St Martin's Day (martinovo) is not only a drinking festival, but an eating one as well.

    Like similar harvest festivals, such as Thanksgiving, the main dish consists of a roasted bird, preferably goose or duck, which we eventually got simply because it was half the size of any of the available geese.

    The second important ingredient is chestnuts, which could be a dish on their own, or stuffed in the bird, or pureed and made into a cake.

    Usually there are two other side dishes prepared with the bird, namely steamed red cabbage and mlinci, although the latter are not traditionally prepared at the littoral and mostly consist of wheat flour (covered in duck fat), so we decided to replace them with roasted pumpkin and some potatoes. Green salad is recommended as well.

    The bird was quite fatty, which almost asks for some sour apples in the stuffing, as well as some light sour-ish wine such as cviček.

    slovenian recipe martinova pojedina 20181.jpg

    Ingredients:

    Duck (2 kg)
    Apples
    Chestnuts
    Salt
    Herbs and pepper to taste (orange zest works nicely on the duck skin, but we forgot to get it)
     
    1 red cabbage
    1 onion
    1 clove garlic
    2 tbsp of olive oil
    1 fist of cranberries (optional)
    salt to taste
    1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or/and ½ dl red wine
     
    Roast veggies (3 potatoes, ½ Hokkaido pumpkin)
     
    Green salad (optional)
     
    Chestnut cake (our last week's recipe, click here)
    20181101_093658.jpg
     
     

    Our duck will be stuffed with chestnuts and apples, which will help counter all that fat that will be released from underneath its skin, which we cut into a little, but not through it, to help its way to the surface and to allow the salt and herbs (and orange zest, which we did not have) to hide in the crevices.

    Wash your duck (or goose), wipe it dry and check if everything that shouldn’t been there has been properly removed.

    Then we’ll need boil some chestnuts. Here’s a trick which will allow them to be peeled easier when cooked: the outer shell we peel first, then boil them for about 30 minutes, then remove the remaining skin while still warm. Try to keep the skin undamaged and chestnuts fully covered.

    slovenian recipe kostanj 2018.jpg

    Cut two or three apples and remove the seeds, then stuff the bird with them along with the chestnuts and close the opening with two toothpicks.

    slovenian recipe roast duck 20181.jpg

    All of this can be done inside a dry pot, and no oil needs to be added as your duck will release an enormous amount of its own fat, that you can put in a jar and use for other dishes for weeks that will follow (it has a very high smoke point, and is extremely versatile).

    Place the duck in a preheated oven and roast for about 20 minutes, then turn around and reduce the heat to about 170 degrees Celsius. Turn it around every 20 minutes or so, and pour some of the fatty juices over the surface for about another one and a half hours. Turn up the heat at the end in case the skin isn’t crispy, although you’ll see in the photo that we didn’t do this.

    Meanwhile, cut the vegetables on a tray, sprinkle them with some salt and pour over some olive oil then place in the oven about 30-40 minutes before the duck is done.

    Red cabbage. Chop the onion and garlic and stir fry on the olive oil until onion softens a little. Chop the red cabbage and add it together with some cranberries. Add some water and steam till cabbage softens. Add some wine while still cooking and vinegar at the end. Sprinkle with caraway seeds and serve.

    slovenian recipe martinova pojedina 20182.jpg

    Dober tek!

Photo of the Week

Slovenia Traffic Info

  • Due to the summer holidays around Europe until the end of August, we expect to have increased traffic on all weekends (from Friday to and including Monday), especially between Austria and Croatia in both directions. Due to Italian collective holidays, we expect to have increased traffic in Istria between Italy and Croatia as well as on the A1 motorway between Italy and Hungary. 

    Drivers should expect longer waiting times, especially at border crossings with Croatia at Istria and at the Gruškovje border crossing in Styria. In the event of longer waiting times at Gruškovje, we recommend using the border crossings Zavrč and Središče ob Dravi.

    Frequent congestions are to be expected in Upper Carniola at the Karavanke tunnel, in the direction of Austria. Due to increased checks and controls of the Austrian police, waiting times at the border crossings with Austria may also be longer elsewhere (Ljubelj and Šentilj).

    On Wednesday, 15 August, there will be a national holiday in Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Italy, parts of Germany and Switzerland as well as Poland. It will also be the end of the summer holidays in parts of Germany.

    On Tuesday, 14 August, and Thursday, 16 August, an increased number of goods vehicles are to be expected on the A1 motorway between Italy and Hungary.

    An overview of border crossings with Croatia is accessible on the map at the website www.promet.si.

    Expected construction works and road closures

    A1, H3, Ljubljana bypass

    There are construction works at the eastern Ljubljana bypass between Bizovik to the Malence junction, where traffic is running on two narrowed lanes, a temporary traffic regulation is also at the section from the tunnel to the junction Ljubljana south where traffic is hindered.

    From Saturday, 11 August 2018, 2pm, to Sunday, 15 August, 10pm, the road section leading from the Golovec tunnel to the south bypass (via Rudnik) on the eastern Ljubljana bypass will be closed for all traffic, due to the conclusion of construction works. More information at the link. All construction works will be concluded approx. by 16 August 2018.

    A1, Ljubljana - Koper

    At the former toll booth Log around the area of the current administration building, a plateau shall be worked on until approx. the end of September for the purpose of using this area in the future.

    At the toll booth Vrhnika, works are being carried out for the demolition of the toll booth. From 10 August onward, there will be road closures on one lane in the direction of Vrhnika. A full road closure at the Vrhnika junction is expected between 17 and 20 August. Construction works will be concluded approx. at the end of August.

    At the Verd viaduct in the direction of Koper, alternate closures of the slow and fast lanes will be made until 24 August between 7am and 5pm at the area of three traffic lanes, due to repairs within the warranty period.

    The Logatec junction will be closed due to reconstruction and recovery works until the evening on 14 August.

     Reconstruction worksare still being carried out at the viaduct Ravbarkomanda. Traffic is running on two narrowed lanes.

    At the section NanosSenožeče, in the direction of Ljubljana, the auxiliary lane will be closed until approx. 10 August due to construction works.

    The on-ramp at the junction Koper - center, Slavček in the direction of Izola is closed. The on-ramp to the H6 expressway will remain closed until approx. 30 September.

    H4, expressway through the Vipava Valley

    Reconstruction works are being carried out at the H4 expressway at sections Vipava - Ajdovščina - Selo. Traffic is being run in both directions on one half of the expressway, one lane for each direction. The Ajdovščina junction, in the direction of Nanos, will be closed until approx. mid-August (both on-ramp and off-ramp will be closed).

    Due to the repair works of the Boršt viaduct, the road in the direction of Vrtojba (Italy) between the toll booth Nanos and the cut and cover Rebrnice 1 will be closed. Traffic will run in both directions on the second half of the expressway.

    A1, Ljubljana - Maribor

    At the sectionbetween the junctions Celje zahod and Celje center in the direction of Maribor, construction works (replacement of noise barriers) will be carried out until approx. the end of August. Traffic will run on two narrowed lanes, traffic in the mentioned direction is also hindered at the junction Celje - center.

    Due to urgent maintenance works at the section Šentjakob – Domžalein the direction of Maribor between Saturday, 11 August from 5am and 12 August, there will be a total closure of the auxiliary  and traffic lanes until approx. 4pm. Traffic will run on the express lane.

    You can find an overviewof other road construction works at www.promet.si (mark “Roadworks” left by the map).

    Road closures due to events:

    Saturday, 11 August 2018:
    - G1-7, ObrovKozina, 18:35 – 18:45, full closure (fire dept. parade).
    - RT-904, JezeroSavica, 22:03-23:30, full closure (Midsummer night).
    - R2-425, Poljana - Šentvid, from 17:00 to 18:00 and from 18:15 to 19:15, full closure (marathon).
    - R3-603, Most na SočiUšnik, from 15:00 to 21:00, from 15:00 to 21:00, full closure, detour (jumping).

    Sunday, 12 August 2018:
    - R2-407, Gorenja vasLjubljanica, from 9:00 to 21:00, full closure (HCR Lučine).
    - G2-103, UšnikPlave, from 15:00 to 18:00, alternate one-way traffic (jumps from bridge at Kanal ob Soči).
    - R1-204, ŠtanjelDutovlje, from 15:00 to 16:00, full closure (event/holiday).
    - R3-731, PolzelaParižljeBraslovčeMale Braslovče, from 15:00 to 16:00, full closure (hop grower day).
    - R2-447, Medlog- Arjava vas, 11:00 to 13:30, hindered traffic (triathlon).

    Wednesday, 15 August 2018:
    - R2-425, PoljanaŠentvid, from 8:00 to 19:00, full closure with detour (fair).
    - R3-726, RenkovciČrenšovci, from 7:00 to 14.00, full closure with detour (fair event).
    -R2-407, Gorenja vasLjubljanica, from 9:45 to 10:30, full closure (cycling event).
    - R3-716, Grad - Kuzma, from 5:00 to 16:00, full closure with detour (fair).

    R1-218, Črnomelj, from 17 August from 12:00 to 18 August 2018 to 12:00, full closure with detour (Črnfest).

    Weather

    According to ARSOwe will have a refreshing week-end with rain until Monday, with temperatures of around 30 °C. Chances of precipitation will be higher from Tuesday on.

    Prevention

    Safety distance is a distance which a vehicle passes in two seconds, from which the first second represents the reaction time of the driver before he starts to brake and the second represents the time of the vehicle braking.

    More at the link.

    Traffic information

    Before you set off, check the traffic information via:
    - the website at www.promet.si,
    - PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),
     - mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - monitoring traffic information on radio stations.

    We advise drivers to start their journeys at night or very early in the morning. You may find the traffic calendar a useful tool in planning your journey.

    Have a nice and safe trip and a refreshing summer!

    Read more
  • Urgent rehabilitation of the »Zala« slope, above the road G2-102 at the road section – 1034 Spodnja Idrija – Godovič, will be carried out from km 8,460 to km 8,595 and from km 6,500 to km 6,950.

    Certain construction works will require a common full road closure at both locations. The full closure is expected to be from 23.07.2018 to 20.08.2018.Other works will be carried out under separate half road closures and will take about 80 days. There will also be occasional road closures of up to 30 minutes for works on those segments where there is still a danger of rockfall.

    During full road closures, traffic will run on state owned roads. All traffic (including buses) of over 7.5 tonnes of mass will run on a detour: Logatec – Nova Gorica – Tolmin – Idrija. Vehicles with a mass of less than 7.5 tonnes (personal vehicles, vans and light goods vehicles) will run on the detour Logatec – Žiri – Govejk – Marof – Spodnja Idrija, as has been communicated by the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency.

    Source: Ministry of Infrastructure, Slovenian Infrastructure Agency, Investments Division

    Read more
  • Expected construction works and road closures

    We are issuing a warning to drivers to drive carefully around the toll stations because there may be occasional traffic congestion due to changed signalisation. Construction works are currently being carried out at the Log, Postojna and Torovo toll stations.

    A1, Ljubljana bypass

    At the Malence split from the eastern to the southern Ljubljana bypassthere will be traffic congestion in the emergency lane until approx. 13 July 2018 due to construction works.

    Measures to increase traffic flow and improve traffic safety at the Malence split on the Ljubljana ring road (the crossroads between the eastern and southern Ljubljana bypass); in June, the extension of the embankment, while the main works on the split are expected to be between 10 July and 18 August 2018.

    A2, Karavanke - Obrežje 

    On Sunday, 17 June 2018, the existing partial closure on the A2 motorway was reorganized as part of the continuation (completion of Phase 2 and the start of Phase 3) of works in connection with the demolition of the Torovo TS and the restoration of the carriageway between the  Torovo TS and the Vodice junction.

    Due to works in phase 3, stage 1, there will be partial closures on the following sections:

    • Section number 0009 Brnik - Vodice from km 3.261 to km 5.246;
    • Section number 0609 Brnik - Vodice from km 3.461 to km 5.254;
    • Section number 0010 Vodice – LJ (Šmartno) from km 0.000 to km 0.473;
    • Section number 0610 Vodice – LJ (Šmartno) from km 0.000 to km 0.747.


    Due to works in phase 3, stage 2, there will be partial closures on the following sections:

    • Section number 0009 Brnik - Vodice from km 3.261 to km 4.211;
    • Section number 0609 Brnik - Vodice from km 3.461 to km 4.411.

    During the period of temporary traffic signalization, traffic will run on two narrowed lanes in both directions. Temporary traffic signalization will be set up on 22 July 2018.

    A5, Lenart - Sv.Trojica

    At the location of the Lormanje rest area (AC-A5, Lenart - Sv.Trojica), the entry point to the rest area will be closed from Saturday, 23 June 2018 from 13:00 to Sunday 24 June 2018 until 22.00.

    The exit point from the rest area will be closed on Sunday, 24 June 2018, from 8:00 to 22:00, when the entire closure is to be removed. This will enable those who remain at the rest area on Saturday night to leave.

    We would also like to draw attention to a number of works on some major and regional roads, as well as numerous events that will further slow the traffic (running, cycling, summer city and regional events).

    Urgent rehabilitation of the »Zala« slope, above the road G2-102 at the road section – 1034 Spodnja Idrija – Godovič, will be carried out from km 8,460 to km 8,595 and from km 6,500 to km 6,950.

    Certain construction works will require a common full road closure at both locations. The full closure is expected to be from 23.07.2018 to 20.08.2018, more info

    Major renovation work envisioned by the end of August

    On the A1 Unec-Postojna Primorska motorwaysection, the rehabilitation of the Ravbarkomanda viaduct is in progress (a facility in the direction of Ljubljana, the current closure is due to end in mid-September).

    On the H4 Vipava-Ajdovščina-Selo highway section, 7.7 km of road is being reconstructed, in the direction of both Vrtojba and Razdrto, totalling 15.4 km of carriageway. Currently, the traffic on the Vipava highway between Selo and Vipava is being run in both directions on one half of the highway, one lane for each direction.

    Ajdovščina junction is open; the complete closure of the junction in the direction of Ljubljana is planned in mid-July.

    Demolition of toll stations

    Stage 1 covers: emolition and reorganization of the Log, Torovo, Hrušica and Vrhnika toll stations, including the plateau and renovation of the carriageway on section A2 / 0009 Brnik–Vodice from km 4.041 to km 5.246 and A2 / 0010 Vodice–Ljubljana (Šmartno) from km 0.000 to km 0.267 and A2 / 0109 Vodice junction. Contractor: Gorenjska gradbena družba GDD in cooperation with Kolektor CPG and CPK for EUR 10.470 million excl. VAT.

    Stage 3 covers: Demolition and reorganization of the Nanos, Dane, Logatec, Unec - north, Unec - south, Razdrto - north, Razdrto - south, Postojna - north and Postojna - south toll stations, as well as the renovation of the carriageway construction of the highway H4 / 0374 and 0774 Razdrto–Vipava from km 0.000 to km 0.075, A1 / 0154 Nanos split and A1 / 0151 Logatec junction. Contractor Kolektor CPG in cooperation with CPK for EUR 7.998 million.

    Works at the Log toll station on the A1 Primorska motorway are underway.The contractual deadline for the execution of all works at the Log toll station is by the end of July, when all the barriers must be removed from the carriageway. Furthermore, in the area of today's toll station administrative building, a plateau will be regulated to allow the further use of this area, which will take 55 days (until the end of September) but will not significantly affect traffic fluidity. Therefore, the works at the toll station - including the new plateau in the catchment area - are expected to be completed by the end of September.

    The works on the Torovo toll station on the A2 Gorenjska motorway are in progress and are expected to be completed by the end of July.

    At the Unec toll station, preparatory work is expected to begin on 2 July; full closure, which will last for seven days, is scheduled for 7 July.  

    The start of preparatory work at the Nanos toll station is scheduled for 3 September; full closure, which will last 30 days, is scheduled for 12 September.

    Works at the Logatec toll station on the A1 Primorska motorway, including the renovation of the carriageway on the junction to the industrial zone, are scheduled between 16 July and 3 August 2018.

    At the Vrhnika toll station on the A1 Primorska motorway, including the plateau, works will take place between 6 August and 25 August 2018.

    Summer traffic peaks

    In the summertime, morning and afternoon traffic peaks are reduced during work hours, while seasonal traffic peaks increase at the weekends:

    Time frame

    Traffic direction

    Most congested sections

    Friday afternoon

    Towards tourist destinations

    Ljubljana ring road

    A1 Ljubljana – Koper

    H5 Koper – Isola

    G1-11 Koper – MP Dragonja

    G2-111 Isola – MP Sečovlje

    Saturday

    From Austria and Italy towards the Slovenian coast and Croatia and the other direction

    A2 Karavanke – Ljubljana,

    A1 Ljubljana – Koper,

    H5 Koper – Isola

    A1 Šentilj – Maribor

    G1-11 Koper – Dragonja

    G1-111 Isola – MP Sečovlje

    G1-7 Kozina – MP Starod

    G1-6 Postojna – MP Jelšane

    A4 Maribor – Podlehnik

    G1-9 Podlehnik – MP Gruškovje

    Sunday afternoon

    from the Slovenian coast and Croatia to Austria and Italy.

    A2 Ljubljana – Karavanke

    A1 Koper – Ljubljana

    H5 Koper – Isola

    A1 Šentilj – Maribor

    G1-11 Koper – Dragonja

    G1-111 Isola – MP Sečovlje

    G1-7 Kozina – MP Starod

    G1-6 Postojna – MP Jelšane

    A4 Maribor – Podlehnik

    G1-9 Podlehnik – MP Gruškovje

    You can find the forecast of major traffic congestion on the Slovenian road network in the traffic calendar.

    The Sečovlje, Dragonja, Starod, Jelšane, Gruškovje and Obrežje border crossing points will be most crowded during the summer traffic peaks.

    For those travelling to Istria, we recommend using the Sočerga, Podgorje or Brezovica pri Gradinu border crossings during peak times. You can find them on the map at www.promet.si.

    Prevention

    We ask drivers to exercise caution due to the mowing of grass and other road works on the various sections of motorways and expressways as part of the    regular annual maintenance works.

    Freight traffic limits

    Limiting freight traffic and groups of vehicles whose maximum permissible weight exceeds 7.5 tonnes will be changed on Saturday, 23 June as per the Decree on traffic limitations on roads in the Republic of Slovenia (Official Gazette of RS No. 75/11). More at link.

    Weather conditions:In addition to works, the weather conditions affecting traffic flows and rehabilitation after storms are at the forefront. We observe different traffic densities than in the past.

    Before you set off, check the traffic information via:
    - The website www.promet.si;
    - The PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or the responder 080 22 44 (free of charge);
    - The mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - Social media (Twitter @promet_si in www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - Monitor traffic information on radio stations

    Read more
  • High traffic congestion is to be expected at the end of the week (Friday, Saturday), especially from Austria to the Slovenian and Croatian coasts. School holidays in Hungary and Croatia have started. Similar traffic congestion is also expected in the opposite direction on Sunday, especially in the afternoon.

    In addition to congestion at border crossing points with Croatia, especially at the Gruškovje border crossing point and border crossing points in Istria, we also expect congestion before the Karavanke tunnel on Saturday and Sunday. 
     

    The Tour of Slovenia, a bike race, will take place until 17 June in five stages at: Lendava - Murska Sobota, Maribor - Rogaška Slatina, Slovenske Konjice - Celje, Ljubljana - Kamnik, Trebnje - Novo mesto. More information at the link.

    Expected construction works and road closures

    We are issuing a warning to drivers to drive carefully around toll booths because there may be occasional traffic congestion due to changed signalisation. Construction works are currently being carried out at toll booths of Log, Postojna and Torovo.

    A1, Ljubljana bypass

    At the Malence split from the eastern to the southern Ljubljana bypassthere will be traffic congestion on the emergency lane up to approx. 13 July 2018 due to construction works.

    A2, Karavanke - Obrežje

    Due to the Tour of Slovenia bike race, the junctions Trebnje - vzhod and Novo mesto - zahod will be closed on 17 June between 11am and 3:30pm.

    A1, Ljubljana - Koper

    Reconstruction works are being carried out at Ravbarkomanda. 

    H4, expressway through the Vipava Valley

    Reconstruction works are being carried out at H4 at the sections Vipava - Ajdovščina and Ajdovščina - Selo. Traffic is being run in both directions on one half of the expressway, one lane for each direction.

    On Friday night (approx. after 8pm) on 15 June, there will be a total weekend closure of the expressway. The full closure will be lifted approx. on Monday, 18 June after 5am. During the construction works, there will be a detour on the parallel road.

    A2, Karavanke - Obrežje

    On Thursday, 14 June, traffic will run at intervals at the Karavanke tunnel between 8am and 4pm, with a 30 minute waiting time before the tunnel. The maximum transport width is 3.75m.

    The Vodice junction will fully open approx. on 20 June, traffic will run on two narrowed lanes in both directions due to the demolition of the Torovo toll booth.

    On Friday, 15 June, express lanes between the Jesenice rest area (N and S) and the Jesenice vzhod junction (Lipce) will be closed due to the closure of passages between the directional lanes.

    Approx. on Tuesday, 19 June, the motorway exit at Lesce in the direction of the Karavanke tunnel will be closed for approx. 6 hours due to the mowing of grass - a detour will be marked via the Radovljica junction.

    A1, Šentilj - Ljubljana 

    At the section Vransko - Blagovica, a wash of Trojane tunnels in the direction of Ljubljana is expected the night of 14 to 15 June from 5pm to 2am.

    At the section Arja vas - Domžale in both directions, a movable blockade of the emergency lane is expected on 15 June from 7:30am to 2pm due to the mowing of the grass.

    At the sections Vransko - Trojane, a full closure of the junctions Vransko and Trojane (entry and exit) is expected in both directions on Friday, 15 June from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm due to the Tour of Slovenia bike race.

    A5, Maribor - Lendava

    At the section Dragučovo and Lenart around the Močna viaduct, the cut & cover Močna and Zamarkova viaduct, there will be recovery works until approx. 15 June 2018. During the total closure, traffic will be run in both directions on one side of the motorway.

    Certain construction works on the main and regional roads

    - At the road Kranjska Gora - Dovje in the Martuljek forest, there is a half closure due to road works.  Alternative one-way traffic is in place.  During weekends, traffic is occasionally run in both ways.
    - Due to the landslide of the road, the regional road Podtabor - Naklo between Bistrica and the motorway junction Naklo remains closed. A detour is possible on the motorway between junctions Naklo and Podtabor. For the remainder of the closure, drivers are not obligated to have a valid vignette between these two junctions.
    - In Ljubljana,the road “Pot za Brdom” will be closed up to 21 June, from the motorway junction Brdo to the crossroads with the road “Pot Roberta Blinca”.Access to Hotel Mons will be possible only from the direction of the bypass.During the closure, drivers are not required to have a valid vignette on the western bypass between the junctions Brdo and Podutik.

    - The road Dolenjske Toplice - Črmošnjice - Črnomelj will be closed in Črmošnjice up to 30 June. A detour for personal vehicles and buses will be made on local roads, heavy vehicles weighting 3.5t and more will have a detour via Novo mesto and Semič.

    - The main road Metlika - Novo mesto will be closed for the weekend because of the race. During this time, a detour for vans and trucks will run through Črmošnjice, which is currently the detour for cars and buses on the local road. The heavy vehicle ban will be temporarily lifted at the detour.

    - On the road Ilirska Bistrica - Jelšane there is a half closure at Dolenje pri Jelšanah, alternative one-way traffic is in place. During increased traffic there will be congestion.

    Overview of other road works at the link: www.promet.si.

    Other events:

    - R2-408, Žiri - Trebija, 15 June from 3pm to 16 June to 1am, complete closure. During the closure, a detour will run on local roads LC 499 201 and LC 496 031 (through the industrial zone) (event).

    - R2-441, Murska Sobota - Gederovci, 15 June from 1am to 11.58pm, complete closure (fair).

    - G2-105, 105 Novo mesto - Metlika, International mountain speed race Gorjanci, 16 June from 7am to 7pm. Complete closure (during the closure traffic will be redirected to state roads R2-419, R1-216 and 1178, R1-218, 1212, 1152 and 1213 and municipality roads.

    - R2-403, Češnjica - Škofja Loka, 16 June from 6:55pm to 7:10pm, complete closure. No detour (running event).

    - In Škofja Loka, there will be some closures in the city centre and its surroundings on Saturday, 16 June (running event).

     - R3-614, Komen - Štanjel, 16 June from 10 to 17 June until 8am, complete closure. During the closure, traffic will be redirected to the state road R3-618 and municipality roads (public holiday).

    - R3-697, Nazarje - Gornji Grad, 17 June from 10am to 12pm for 30 minutes (2x), complete closure, no detour (running marathon).

    - R2-448, Pluska - Trebnje, 17 June from 9:05am to 9:30am (bike race).

    - R1-218, Črnomelj, 21 June from 9am to 25 July to 12pm, complete closure. During the closure, traffic will be redirected to state roads R1-216 section 1178 and 1393, R1-218 section 1213 and 1152, and municipality roads (folklore festivalJurjevanje”).

    Prevention

    We ask drivers to exercise caution due to the mowing of grass and other road works on the various sections of motorways and expressways within the activities of regular annual maintenance Works.

    Driving at too short of a safety distance is statistically one of the most frequent causes of traffic accidents (327 traffic accidents occurred in 2016 on Slovenian expressways and motorways due to the inappropriate safety distance). More at the link.

    Freight traffic limits

    Limiting freight traffic and groups of vehicles whose maximum permissible weight exceeds 7.5 tonnes will be changed on Saturday, 23 June as per the Decree on traffic limitations on roads in the Republic of Slovenia.  More at the link.

    Weather

    Data obtained from ARSO suggests that in the night of Thursday we may expect frequent thunderstorms and local heavy rainfall. Stronger winds, hail, an increase of torrents and the build-up of storm water may also occur. Interchangeable weather is expected from Sunday to Friday, there will be local showers and thunderstorms. We urge drivers to exercise caution and drive safely during thunderstorms. 

    Traffic information

    Before you set off, check the traffic information via:
    - the website at www.promet.si,
    - PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),
     - mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - monitoring traffic information on radio stations.

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roads wishes you a pleasant drive.

    Read more
  • The first significant increase in foreign vehicles driving on Slovenian roads before the main summer tourist season is during the Easter holidays.

    We are therefore expecting increased traffic at the end of this week from Austria and Italy in the direction of the border crossings with Croatia and from Italy to Hungary.

    Holidays in certain parts of Europe start on Thursday, 29 March; therefore, we may expect increased traffic from Austria in the direction of Croatia. On Thursday, we also expect heavy freight traffic and long waiting lines at the border crossings with Croatia.
     

    Roads will be heavily burdened on Friday, 30 March. Heavy congestions can be expected on the Lower Carniola motorway at Dobruška vas due to construction works.
     

    Due to the end of the holidays in most European countries, traffic will be significantly increased in the opposite direction on Monday, 2 April, and Tuesday, 3 April. 


    The electronic tolling system is being implemented on 1 April and short road closures are to be expected during the night.

    When and where there will be the most traffic based on data from previous years: info.


    You can view the travel times on certain sections live on the website of the Traffic Information Centre at www.promet.si.

    Limitations for freight traffic

    Please note that limitations for freight traffic in Slovenia also apply on Easter Friday and later on Sunday and Monday. There will be no limitations in Slovenia on Saturday.

    You can view limitations in Slovenia and in neighbouring countries here.

    Expected construction works and road closures


    A2, Ljubljana - Obrežje

    A full road closure is expected in the Dobruška vas - Drnovo section until 21 May, which will be carried out in five stages. Traffic shall run on the other half of the motorway in both directions. Due to the full closure of the section, the Smednik junction will host temporary passage. Due to the closure of junction sections A and B at the Smednik junction (the expected start of the construction works is at the beginning of April), a detour will run on state-owned roads. The Zaloke jug rest area will be closed for the duration of the closure.

    A2, Ljubljana - Karavanke

    From Monday, 16 April to Thursday, 19 April from 8am to 4pm there will be maintenance works in the Karavanke tunnel.
    Traffic will run at intervals with waiting times at each end of the tunnel of up to 30 minutes. The maximum transport width is 3.5m.   à

    A1. Ljubljana - Koper, H4, Vipavska dolina

    As part of adjusting the toll booths for the DarsGo system, there will be a full half hour closure of the Divača - Kozina section on Monday, 2 April between 12am and 1am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Videž gantry. There will be a short closure of the Gabrk - Sežana vzhod section on Tuesday, 3 April between 4am and 6am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Dane gantry. Traffic will also occasionally be hindered outside the listed dates.

    Within the next phase of a more extensive renovation of the Vipava expressway, the worn roads in certain sections of the Vipava-Ajdovščina and Ajdovščina-Selo expressway in the total length of 7.7km will be renewed in each direction. The contractor will begin the renovation works as soon as the weather allows for it or after the end of the winter service on the motorways and expressways at the latest, most probably in the last third of March.

    A1 Maribor - Ljubljana, A5 Maribor - Lendava

    On the night of 1 April, traffic will be hindered at toll booths on the A1 at CP Vransko, CP Kompolje and CP Pesnica, on the A5 at CP Dragotinci, and on the A4 at CP Prepolje due to the implementation of the new traffic signalisation. CP Vransko will also have a half hour full closure in both directions at around midnight.

    Due to road patching works, traffic will be hindered at CP Vransko on Saturday, 31 March. 

    From Tuesday, 3 April to Saturday, 7 April, road patching works will commence on the A5 motorway at Vučja vas, Murska Sobota.
    On Saturday, 7 April, lines will be painted for the toll booths on the Styria motorway, while road patching works at CP Tepanje will commence on Sunday, 8 April.

    Prevention

    We are already seeing bikers on our roads and numerous national prevention initiatives to increase the safety of bikers are already taking place. The purpose of the initiatives is to make bikers aware of the importance of preparing appropriately at the start of the biker season, of wearing protective gear, of unexpected situations on the roads and of other participants in road traffic. More can be found at the link bikers.

    Speed as a risk factor remains one of the main reasons for traffic accidents and is an important contributor to the severity of consequences and the number of people severely or mortally injured in these accidents. Therefore we urge you to be attentive and to adjust your speed to the conditions on the road!

    Traffic information

    We suggest that you check the status of the roads using:
    - the website www.promet.si,
    - the PIC operator by dialling 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or the responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),
    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - the social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - the traffic information on radio stations.

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roadswishes you a pleasant and prudent drive.

     

    Read more
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  • We are expecting traffic congestions in the direction of the Croatian border from Friday, 23 March due to holidays in Austria and a larger part of Germany.

    Increased traffic is expected in the A2 Ljubljana - Karavanke due to an event in Planica.

    Due to the Easter holidays, there will also be increased traffic at the end of next week. Heavy congestion is expected on Thursday, 29 March, and Friday, 30 March at the Obrežje border crossing.

    Expected construction works

    A2 Ljubljana – Obrežje

    A full road closure is expected in the Dobruška vas - Drnovo section from 22 March to 21 May, which will be carried out in five stages. Traffic shall run on the other half of the motorway in both directions. Due to the full closure of the section, the Smednik junction will host temporary passages. The Smednik junction is expected to be closed from the start of April in the direction of Obrežje/Croatia. The Zaloke jug rest areawill be closed for the duration of the closure.

    A2 Karavanke – Ljubljana

    Due to the installation of a supporting frame on an overpass, where a bike lane is to be established, a full closure of the motorway in both directions between the junctions Kranj vzhod and Brnik is expected in the night from Tuesday, 27 March to Wednesday, 28 March, depending on the weather conditions. During the closure, traffic will be directed via Šenčur.

    A1 Ljubljana - Koper, H4 Razdrto – Nova Gorica, H3 Gabrk – Fernetiči/Italy

    A closure is being set up on the H4 between the Vipava and Selo junctionsin both directions; the express lane is closed. Within the next phase of the more extensive renovation of the Vipava expressway, the worn roads in certain sections of the Vipava-Ajdovščina and Ajdovščina-Selo expressways with a total length of 7.7km will be renewed in each direction. The contractor will begin the renovation works as soon as the weather allows or after the end of the winter service on the motorways and expressways at the latest.

    There are also preparatory works for the renovation of the second half of the Ravbarkomanda viaduct on the A1 in the Unec-Postojna section.

    Traffic will run on one lane in the direction of Koper until Friday, 23 March at around 3pm and during the night from Saturday (at around 7pm) to Sunday (up to 8am). The express lane in the direction of Ljubljana will be closed from Saturday, 24 March from 7pm to Sunday, 25 March at around 4pm. Following the completion of these works, traffic in both directions will run on two narrowed lanes.

    On Saturday, 24 March, there will be remediation works on the asphalt in the ABC lane of CP Log in the direction of Koper from 7am onward. The ABC lane will be closed until approx. 6pm. Traffic will run in the parallel lane.

    A1 Maribor – Ljubljana

    Due to the patching up of asphalt surfaces, traffic will be hindered on 25 March in the area of the Kompolje toll booth.

    Events, projected closures

    During the international ski jumping event in Planica from 22 March to 25 March, the Kranjska Gora - Rateče regional road will have a changed traffic regime, which can be accessed here. The changed traffic regime will be in effect from 22 March from 10am to 25 March until 4pm.

    Weather

    Based on the data from ARSO, we will be having variable weather until April. Morning temperatures will be around freezing point. There is a danger of avalanches on roads in higher regions.

    Prevention

    Do not rush to change your winter tyres. Please see the advice from the police here.

    In the springtime, we expect frequent fog and precipitation and therefore low visibility. We are therefore reminding drivers that using daytime running (LED) lights is not sufficient. The back of the vehicle remains unlit and there is a higher chance of a collision. We therefore advise drivers to activate their regular lights during the low visibility, which will make their vehicles visible from the rear as well. You are thus more visible on the road and, consequently, safer.  

    The DarsGo system

    On 1 April 2018, Slovenia will implement the toll system in free traffic flow named DarsGo, which will be mandatory for all vehicles whose maximum permissible weight exceeds 3.5 tonnes (heavy vehicles). Note: goods vehicles will still need to drive on special lanes at toll booths even after 1 April. These vehicles, however, will no longer be required to stop and will only drive past the booth at the prescribed speed. Please have a look at the short animation here: youtu.be/ifJ7qVrBMaE.

    Heavy vehicle drivers can register in the DarsGo system at www.darsgo.si or at user points (‘DarsGo servis’ customer centres) throughout the country.

    Traffic information:

    Before you set off, check the traffic information through:

    - the website www.promet.si,

    - the PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),

    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,

    - social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),

    - the traffic information on radio stations.

     

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roads wishes you a pleasant drive

     

    Read more
  • Traffic problems due to snow are expected at least in the middle of te week. We advise drivers to carefully monitor weather forecasts and check the traffic information before setting off.

    Due to Mardi Gras events, roadblocks and road closures are expected until Ash Wednesday, 14 February.

    Expected construction works

    Primorska

    In the area MMP Vrtojba, the driving lane is closed due to the cave-in of a concrete road surface.

    After snowing has stopped, the maintenance services will carry out their winter tasks and remove ice dams and snow from overpasses. Therefore, we ask drivers to be patient.

    Weather

    According to ARSO, Wednesday will be cloudy with precipitation. There will be snow in central Slovenia and rain in the lower parts of Primorska. Thursday will be cloudy, there will be slight snowfall in the south and east in the morning. Friday will be mostly cloudy and dry. It will remain cold. Further precipitations are possible on Monday afternoon. It is expected that there will be snowfalls in the lowlands. Precipitations are still possible on Thursday, a dry weather is expected for Wednesday and partly Thursday, the probability of precipitations will again increase towards the end of the week.

    Events

    Due to Mardi Gras events, traffic will be disrupted in several places, roadblocks are expected in certain places. The larger portion of events will be organised at the end of the week, some even by Wednesday, 14 February.

    Larger events: Ptuj, Majšperk, Cerknica, Cerkno, Mežica, Ravne na Koroškem, Bovec, Ilirska Bistrica, Ig, Litija, Begunje, Tržič, in some parts of Prekmurje and Istra.  

    The European championship in futsal will take place by 10 February at the Stožice stadium.

    Prevention

    We advise drivers to follow traffic notifications and set off on time or somewhat earlier; while postponing unnecessary drives in the case of heavy snowfall. Slower traffic must be taken into consideration, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hours. “Do not leave home without adequate winter equipment!”

    Avalanches are possible in higher areas. We are also warning drivers about the possibility of mandatory snow chains on mountain passes.

    During the week of warning for the safety of pedestrians, we are joining in the support for this initiative by warning drivers that they are not safe when they stop in the emergency lane. If you need to stop in the emergency lane, ensure you are safe.

    Traffic information:

    Before you set off, check the traffic information through:

    - the website www.promet.si,

    - the PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),

    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,

    - social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),

    - the traffic information on radio stations.

     

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roads wishes you a pleasant drive

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  • Due to fallen trees, landslides, and floods, many roads remain closed. Because variable weather is expected, the state will not improve soon. We would like to warn drivers to progress carefully at low temperatures, especially on shaded parts of overpasses, bridges, and road sections. There is a possibility of black ice occurring on those sections. 

    Truck drivers may expect trucks to be removed from the road during heavy snowfalls.

    Increased traffic around shopping centres may be expected even before the holidays. Freight traffic is increased, as well as the congestion at morning and afternoon peak hours. Holidays in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, part of Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary shall begin on 21.12., due to which there will be increased traffic from Thursday to Sunday from Italy to Hungary and from Austria (Germany, Switzerland) towards Croatia.

    Expected construction works

    No major construction works are planned for the highway network, occasional short maintenance works are being carried out. Due to the weather forecast, you may expect plough services on the highway network; please do not overtake them for your own safety. 

    A4, Podravje highway

    Vignettes must be used at the junction Draženci - Podlehnikup to the junction Podlehnik. Drivers may still drive on the section Hajdina - Draženci without a valid vignette, but only those who are using the detour due to the closure of the Ptuj bridge. The bridge will remain closed until mid-September 2018.

    Closures on other roads

    Due to the storm and disaster relief, numerous roads remain closed (felled power lines, felled trees, landslides, damaged facilities, floods). You may view the current state at www.promet.si.

    Weather

    Forecast from 16. to 21.12.

    Based on the data provided by ARSO, precipitation shall cease on Saturday, after which rain will turn to snow in certain lowland areas. In the coming week, from Sunday to Thursday, there will be partly clear and dry weather, fog will be present in the lowland areas in the morning and before noon. We expect another increase of river flows at the end of the week and new road closures due to floods.

    News

    On 1.4.2018, the Republic of Slovenia shall implement modern electronic tolling for vehicles whose mass exceeds 3.5 tonnes (heavy vehicles) in free traffic flow, named DarsGo. DARS has already established seven user points (the so-called ‘DarsGo servis’ customer centres) and began registering the first users of the new tolling system. These may also register on the website at www.darsgo.si and it is estimated that at the beginning of 2018, they will also be able to register at authorised service stations near the highway network. Transport companies are asked to register into the DarsGo system as soon as possible and acquire the DarsGo units and thus avoid the long waiting lines and high fines should they enter the highway or motorway without a valid DarsGo unit.

    Traffic information:

    Before you set off, check the traffic information through:

    - the website www.promet.si,

    - the PIC operator on the number 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),

    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,

    - social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),

    - the traffic information on radio stations.

     

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roads wishes you a pleasant drive.

     

    Read more
  • Due to the ever-decreasing temperatures, the driving conditions are worsening. Snowfalls are possible in the coming week, therefore we would like to ask all drivers to only drive on the roads with the prescribed winter equipment, to respect the traffic signs, to remain tolerant and to adjust their driving to the conditions. Drivers should not overtake snow clearance vehicles because they are endangering their own safety and the safety of other road users.

    Expected construction Works 

    Primorska region, A1

    The construction blockage in the area of the Ravbarkomanda viaduct will be removed on 10 December when construction works on the object are complete.

    Štajerska region, A1

    The gas station at the Lukovica rest point in the direction from Maribor will be closed until the end of the year.

    Hindered traffic is expected at the Lopata rest point in the direction of Ljubljana. It is estimated that works will be completed by 22 December.

    Podravje highway, A4

    The Podravje highway Draženci - Podlehniksection has been opened to traffic. In accordance with the placed signs, drivers will need vignettes to drive on the section up to the Podlehnik junction. Drivers may still drive on the Hajdina - Draženci section without a valid vignette, but only those who are on the official detour due to the closure of the Ptuj bridge.

    Due to closures on some other roads we suggest careful driving.

    Note: The time of the expected works may be changed due to weather, technical or other reasons. Updated changes shall be published on our map and in our traffic report at www.promet.si.   

    Events in the festive December

    We are in the festive month December. Various places, city centres, markets, streets and towns will be holding events, among them fairs, switching on lights and other events. The festive December events connect different generations and attract a large number of visitors from various places. We urge all visitors to plan their trips to such events and consider their parking possibilities. We also urge them to be cautious and attentive, especially on traffic surfaces, and to ensure their own personal safety. We are also issuing a warning on the possibility of highly dense traffic in the directions of these events.

     

    Prevention

    During the winter months, the weather conditions are unpleasant (fog, rain, snow) and the days are shorter. In order to be safe in traffic, we recommend that you ensure you are visible by wearing reflective clothing or visible light-coloured clothing, and we urge drivers to adjust their driving to the conditions on the road.  Considering that we are expecting variable weather, including rainfall and then snowfall or a combination of fog, rain, snow and low temperatures, we recommend that you equip your vehicle with appropriate equipment and adjust your driving to the weather conditions.

    Drivers may also expect icy surfaces in exposed areas, and freight vehicle drivers may be excluded from traffic in the event of large amounts of snow and snow clearance vehicles, therefore we recommend that you consider all these facts before you set off, adjust your driving to the conditions on your journey and follow the weather forecasts. We recommend that you take preventive chains with you at higher roads.

    Traffic information:
    Before you set off, check the traffic information using:

    - the website promet.si,
    - the PIC operator on 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or the responder on 080 22 44 (free of charge),
    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - social media ([email protected]_siand www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - the traffic information on radio stations.

    NEW: Vignettes for 2018, on sale from 1st December 2017 onwards

    Information about authorised vendors of Slovenian vignettes
    ► Toll user centre Grič 54, 1000 Ljubljana / Tel.: 080 15 03 ali +386 1 5188350 (Information about vignettes and toll for trucks)
    ► Vignette system and roads Information about motorways sections with the mandatory use of vignettes

     
    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roadswishes you a pleasant drive and end of the year.

    Read more

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