Horseburgers: Slovenia’s Unusual Delicacy

horseburgers
Sean McLachlan

The horse has been with us for thousands of years. A loyal steed that has pulled plows, helped us migrate to new lands and carried us into battle, there is no more noble animal. We’ve honored the horse in myth, art and song, so what more fitting end to this fine beast than to eat it?

Horse meat is a good source of iron and is a free-range meat that’s low in fat. Horses produce far less methane than cows, so they’re easier on the environment too. As I mentioned in my post about Slovenian cuisine, Slovenia is one of the many European countries where horse is considered a delicacy. I’d never tried it before so while I was in the capital Ljubljana I decided to set out to one of the most popular places to eat horse – a horseburger stand called Hot Horse.

The branch I went to is in Tivoli Park, a large green area filled with families enjoying a sunny weekend. Hot Horse is located right next to a kid’s play park offering slides and games. No pony rides, though. That would have made my day.

Hot Horse looks like pretty much any other fast food place you’ve seen, with garish colors and plastic furniture. I ordered a horseburger, small fries, and a Coke for €6.50 ($8.67). As you can see, the thing was huge and slathered with ketchup and mayonnaise. I had to scrape much of this off to actually taste the horse meat.So how was it? OK. It does have a distinct flavor, a bit like beef but more mild with kind of a nutty taste. I enjoyed it but wasn’t converted. Of course, I was eating a horseburger in a fast food joint and not a horse steak at some fine restaurant, so perhaps I wasn’t experiencing horse meat at its best. Still, I came away more glad for the experience than impressed by my meal.

This made me think of all the other exotic meats I’ve tried – kangaroo, bison, alligator, ostrich – and how I wasn’t converted to them either. There’s a reason that beef, chicken and pork are the most popular meats around the world. They’re the most flexible, able to take on all sorts of different flavors depending on the recipe. They’re also cheap and easy to raise.

While the big three aren’t my favorites (venison takes first place, followed by game birds) they constitute 95 percent of my meat intake because they are easy to find, easy to prepare and easy to afford.

So if you’re in Slovenia, try out some horse. Just don’t expect Hot Horse to rival to Burger King anytime soon.

Check out the rest of my series, “Slovenia: Hikes, History and Horseburgers.”

Coming up next: Ten Random Observations About Slovenia!

horseburgers
Sean McLachlan

The Naked Walk Of Shame And Other Crazy Hotel Antics

hotel door do not disturb
David Nestor, Flickr

Traveling to new places gives us a sense of anonymity we just can’t get when we’re in our home cities – there’s next to no chance of us bumping into someone we know or having people recognize us as “that weird person that did xyz.” Which is perhaps exactly why so many travelers lose their inhibitions when they’re on the road and do things they would never dare otherwise.

What kinds of crazy antics do travelers get up to? Well how about asking hotel room service to deliver a bottle of coca cola to your room and then answering the door in nothing but your birthday suit? Or worse yet, asking hotel staff to hold a camcorder while you and your partner get down and dirty in your suite? It’s hard to believe, but these are exactly the kinds things hotel guests get up to according to a survey by booking website lastminute.com.au.The poll, which focused on Australian hotel guests, revealed many travelers engage in cheeky or otherwise awkward behavior. Requests for “adult” entertainers happen surprisingly often according to hotel staff, while other guests inadvertently put on an adult show after locking themselves out of their room while stark naked (be sure to check out the video below of one such mishap which took place earlier this year). Other less raunchy but no less bizarre behavior include a guest who tried to bring his pet snake with him on vacation and one who drove a golf buggy straight into the hotel.

Shocking Video Of A Texas Bigfoot! (Or Maybe Not)


There may be a Bigfoot crawling around the underbrush of Texas. According to the breathless narrator in this video, these two photos were taken by Lupe Mendoza, who spotted a strange creature when it spooked a herd of cattle. Apparently some gutted hogs were found nearby, so Bigfoot may have been feeding.

Actually it may be a Skunk Ape, the Deep South version of Bigfoot that prowls around swamps and has been sighted as far back as the 1960s. The creature has generated enough interest to be the subject of a Skunk Ape Research Headquarters and gift shop in Florida.

No doubt this new footage has led many cryptozoologists (people who investigate supposedly mythical beasts) to beat the bushes of Texas looking for more of these critters. If you try your luck, you might want to review the Bureau of Land Management’s guide to finding Bigfoot.

The narrator might have said more than he knew when he compared the images to a man in a Ghillie suit, used by hunters and snipers. Check out the US Marine Corps photo image below for a comparison.

So what do you think these images show? Take our poll and tell us!
Bigfoot, ghillie suit

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Wrestle A Shark, Become A Hero And Get Fired

shark
Back in January we showed this amazing video of a man wrestling a shark on a beach in Queensland, Australia.

Paul Marshallsea, 62, became an Internet sensation when he pulled the 2-meter-long dusky shark away from swimmers. Unfortunately for him, fame came at a price.

Marshallsea has been fired from his job as a project coordinator at the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club in Wales. In a letter quoted by the BBC, the club trustees said that although he was on sick leave during the incident he had apparently been healthy enough to wrestle a shark. The hint being, of course, that he was faking his illness.

Marshallsea objects that he wasn’t on sick leave for a physical ailment, but for work-related stress.

In a statement on their website, the club states that he was dismissed for a “variety of issues” unrelated to his holiday in Australia.

It’s a case of he-said, they-said and it’s difficult to see who’s right since the club is refusing to make any further statement to the press. You think they could have cut the guy some slack, though. If he can wrestle sharks, he can probably handle a bunch of Welsh kids.

[Photo courtesy SeaWorld, Queensland. The shark-wrestling incident did not involve a SeaWorld shark]

Naughty Bilingual Sign In Tallinn Airport, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia, Estonia airport
I think I’m going to like Estonia …

This country of 1.3 million people only has a little more than 900,000 people who speak Estonian as their native language yet they’re confident enough with their national tongue to make a bilingual joke right as you enter the airport in the capital city of Tallinn.

Language was politics in the old Soviet republics, and for the long decades during which Estonia was part of the Soviet Union the people had to learn Russian. Many also learned Finnish through TV stations broadcast from Helsinki that were never jammed (more on that story later in the series) while English was something few people ever learned. Now all the younger generation is learning English and it’s easy to get by without knowing any Estonian.

A lack of Estonian, of course, doesn’t lessen the impact of this sign!

Check out this new series: “Exploring Estonia: The Northern Baltics In Wintertime.”

Coming up next: Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town!

[Photo by Sean McLachlan]