A day off in Idrija. We are enjoying not wearing boots and not walking very far. I have mentioned before how pleasurable an activity ‘not walking’ is on a walking holiday.

Idrija is a small town in a deep valley. It’s history is one of mercury mining. At one stage 13% of the world’s mercury was mined here. This is also a tragic human history, because we now know, of course, how poisonous mercury is. When a young man started working here he would be having nightmares within a week. And if he was working with smelting, he’d be dead within 5 years, or if working as a miner he might live up to 10 years.

The town also has a tradition of lace making. All those widows had to make a living somehow.

Now the electronics industry has replaced mercury mining, and from our observations people seem to live to a ripe old age.

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