Yep. Slovenia is certainly a beautiful country. Breathtaking at times. And who knew? Not us, that’s for sure.
Oh, we’d seen pictures of famous Lake Bled, which, admittedly, is lovely. Bled itself is pretty too, but it’s also pretty touristy.
So we were happy that we stayed a few minutes drive away, up in the hills just inside Triglav National Park. Our B&B suited us perfectly. Rustic in its decor, clean, comfortable, and super friendly. Hannah the waitress joked with us, made great coffee and scrambled eggs, and was filled with good advice.
“Never order a latte in Slovenia,” she told me with a wink… just say coffee with milk.” Apparently latte sounds too snooty and pretentious in most places in Slovenia. Phew. That’s good to know. I’m still smarting from the waitress’s rebuke when I asked for a latte in the outback of Australia, “Yis are in the bush now,” she chuckled and rolled her eyes at me. “No lattes here.”
We spent three happy days outside of Bled. One afternoon strolling around Bled… because, touristy or not, the lake is beautiful. The rest of the time we drove narrow, twisty roads, just looking, stopping to look some more, and eventually picnicking somewhere lovely when we were hungry. We ate dinner at our B&B, and one night in a restaurant a five minute walk down the road. We had sausage and sauerkraut, Slovenian beer, and local wine. Hubby had bear goulash one night. Really. I’m sure he thinks that when he’s wilderness canoeing back home, the bears will sense this and give him a wide berth. Ha.
We got lost a few times on our travels. Cursed the GPS. Turned around in a couple of farm yards. And generally had a wonderful time… travelling our way.
One day on the recommendation of Martin who worked the bar at our B&B, we drove up into the Julian Alps and on into Italy through the Predil Pass. Lake Tarvisio was stunning under sunny skies.
To my delight we almost drove through the town where Hemingway was wounded in WWI, the town which he supposedly immortalized as Caporetto in A Farewell to Arms. See? All roads do lead to Hemingway. I say “almost” because we didn’t actually go into Kobarid. But we were close enough. And anyway, who knows with Hemingway what is exactly true, and what is part of the Hemingway legend.
On the way back “home” we saw some beautiful towns and got lost again. Some single track roads are not connected to anything, as we discovered. We ended up in a farmyard at the top of a long, winding, narrow road. But the view was so lovely we didn’t mind seeing it twice.
The next day we were off to Ljubljana. But not before we spent the morning in historic Radovljica. We strolled, had coffee, and chatted with a bookseller about old books, and his very old premises. One tiny room had stone steps which lead to the tunnels under the town where partisans hid from the Gestapo during WWII.
Ljubljana did not disappoint. We rented a studio apartment within walking distance of the old town for our two nights.
We didn’t take any tours or see inside any museums here. That wasn’t because Ljubljana doesn’t have good walking tours and museums. But just because the spirit did not move us. We felt like walking, and stopping for lunch, and walking some more.
We had one day of hard rain while we were in Ljubljana, luckily our first afternoon and evening. So we shopped for groceries in the afternoon, napped, read, and then cooked our supper in our little studio apartment. Wine, chicken, salad, and a good book were just what the travel doctor ordered. Much better than tramping around in the rain, trying to orient ourselves, and find a restaurant. That’s one reason we try to book self-catered accommodation, at least some of the time. B&B Teslova was perfect for us. Plus a lovely breakfast was also included.
Of course we ate out the second night. I was happy to finally wear something that was NOT my jeans. My burgundy loafers are as comfortable as I expected. Good thing, the restaurant was a twenty minute walk each way. Actually, I should probably say more of a twenty minute saunter. Especially on the way home. There’s something wonderful about strolling around a foreign city at night. Makes me feel all sophisticated. And worldly. But I guess if I were really worldly I wouldn’t be marvelling at the fact that I am strolling Ljubljana… or Rome… or wherever.
Ljubljana is a lovely city, and Slovenia is a beautiful country. Despite our extensive planning, I don’t think we were quite prepared for how beautiful it is. We were pleasantly surprised by the everyday, casual beauty we saw everywhere we went. The kind of beauty that is not necessarily tarted up for the tourists.
So yeah, Sovenia is perfectly suited to our way of travel. We prefer country roads and small places, interspersed with an occasional city. We like to drive and stop when we want, following nobody else’s schedule but our own. We cherish our ability to be able to travel this way, knowing that we won’t always be able to do so.
After Ljubljana we headed south. Stopped to marvel at the Skocjan Caves, and then made tracks for Croatia. In a small hill town in Istria there was a tiny tourist flat awaiting us. I’m laughing as I write that because it’s anything but flat, consisting mainly of stairs. So we’re ensconced here for a few days. Eating, drinking, walking, and yakking… the usual. But I’ll tell you about that another day.
Talk to you soon.
P.S. I am loving my Longchamp cross-body bag. You can find it here.