A decorated bicycle is displayed in the small village of Gradisica. AFP
In shop windows, backyards, on streets and public squares, many Slovenians have opted this year for unusual Christmas and New Year's decorations enshrining the humble bicycle.
While the coronavirus pandemic may have hit the small nation of just 2 million hard, locals refuse to give in to the gloom.A decorated bike and a sign saying "Happy 2021" (Srecno 2021) are seen on display in the small village of Rodik. AFP
Instead they prefer to focus on one of the few bright spots of 2020: their country's success in cycling competitions, especially the Tour de France, where Slovenians claimed first and second place.
"We wanted to honour the results of our bikers and to promote a positive approach to the current crisis," Tina Jancigaj Avsec said.
Jancigaj Avsec is one of the organisers of "Life in Karst and Brkini spins on", the group that set off the decoration spree in the southwestern Slovenian region.
The wheel, she added, also "symbolises action, wind in the hair, moving towards the future to face new challenges."
This year, Slovenian biker Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France, while his fellow countryman Primoz Roglic came second in the Tour and went on to win the Vuelta a Espana.
Vintage bicycles, racing models, children's bikes and even wheels from old horse-drawn carriages now dot the countryside in Karst and Brkini, home to longstanding cycling traditions and boasting many small hotels catering to pedal-powered tourists.
During a lockdown to stymie new coronavirus infections, locals have found welcome distraction in driving around to take pictures of the displays and sending them to the organisers, who promised prizes for the top ten.
"We wanted to find a positive challenge for people to promote tourism in our region... and to avoid sinking into coronavirus depression," Jancigaj Avsec said.
The Karst and Brkini economy is heavily dependent on the tourist trade.
Although Jancigaj Avsec insists the displays are in no way politically motivated, anti-government protesters have been riding their bikes through major cities while criticising the handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Protesters have posted photos online of the decorated bike displays from the Karst and Brkini regions, while left-leaning weekly Mladina described them as "monuments to resistance".
The pandemic has dealt a blow to London’s tourism industry, which employs one in seven of the capital’s workers. The cobblestones are deserted at the Tower of London. A biting wind blows and there is no sign of life.
Stripped of the crowds of visitors that usually flock to its sights, from the Grand Prix to its renowned festivals, Montreal is trying to reinvent itself during the coronavirus pandemic and salvage what is left of its summer.
With more than 12,000 infected and a peak of 330 new cases a day in late July, the country has been hit with travel restrictions from several western European countries.
The story of Saud Bin Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, 70, baffled many, and social networking sites were buzzing with the elderly man’s story, which many saw as more like a fantasy, especially since doctors were unable to find a solution to make him sleep.
The flights will not be limited to hotel guests only, but anyone can book the plane for a trip of up to 12 hours, according to Bloomberg.
The person who took the pictures, Sophie Bell, was very thrilled to see him sleep with the greatest smile on earth.
For every kilo of plastic they deliver, they receive a small "symbolic" sum. The money is enough for a drink, said Arapakis, who was in Paris this week for global talks on limiting plastic pollution.