07 September 2016

Sauntering in Slovenia

It seems that most of my trips this year are short and within Europe. I quickly escaped to Bergen in March, we spent a long weekend in Dresden in April, got married in Copenhagen in May, and even visited Normandy in June. All of these were relatively short trips, lasting only 3 to 4 nights long, or if it were longer, then it is due to the fact that it was primarily a business trip and I just appended a day extra for myself. Anyway, we wanted something more substantial, so this time, we went to Slovenia, spending 11 days in July and August, driving around the country. Of course I will blog more specifically about the individual things we have seen, but first an overview post.

We started the trip on a Friday, July 29. We flew to Munich early in the morning, in order to catch another flight to Ljubljana. We arrived at the airport around late morning, and after picking up our rental car, we headed to Škofja Loka, which is a small town close to the airport. We explored this town, checking out its sights all over the place. This is also where we had lunch. After exploring the day, we drove to Bled, where our first accommodation was. We found our apartment, where we were to stay for the next three nights.

On Saturday, we went hiking around the Bled area. First, we went to Vintgar Gorge, four kilometers northeast of Bled. This was a pretty hike, and reminded me of rock formations I saw when I was visiting the Finger Lakes in New York. After all, it was the exact same geological process that created these gorges. After hiking, we also went to Bled Castle, and then we also took a boat to check out Bled Island.

Sunday was a little road trip, as we drove away from Bled and on to Lake Bohinj. I honestly don't know which lake is prettier, both were very beautiful places. We hiked to see the Savica Waterfall, as well as the Mostnica Gorge. I think I exceeded my hiking quota by this time. After hiking these two places, we went back to Bled. For dinner we went to a small town nearby called Radovljica, which also had a very quaint and pretty old town.

On Monday August 1, we checked out of our Bled apartment. Our original plan was to drive through the Julian Alps via the Vršič Pass. It was raining, however, and we didn't want to risk it, as we weren't familiar with the roads in the mountains. So we went east instead, taking the highway. The nice thing with Slovenia is that it is a small country, and since we didn't have fixed plans, we easily adjusted our plans. So that day, we checked out Predjama Castle, as well as Postojna Cave. These were two stunning sights, and perhaps one of the most impressive things I have seen during the whole trip. After touring these two sights, we drove to Ajdovščina, where our next apartment for the next three days was located. It isn't a touristy town, but the nearby sights are close by, as long as you have your own car. In fact, since there wasn't any interesting places to eat in the area, we drove all the way to Nova Gorica near the Italian border to have dinner that night.

The next day, we made good use of the fact that we had a car, and therefore we checked out little villages near the Italian border. Some of these villages were located in hills that look more like Tuscany than Slovenia. We visited Šmartno and Dobrovo, which are villages located in the Brda Hills. As we didn't have permission to take the car outside of Slovenia, we had to be creative a little bit as some of these villages were easier to access via Italy, but we didn't want to drive through Italy. Anyway, after that, we drove further north and visited Tolmin to hike the gorge, basically visiting again Triglav National Park, but from the southern side.

Wednesday was the day we visited Idrija and checked out an old mercury mine. Idrija was a small town in rural Slovenia, but the town was big due to the industries that are based in the town. We also checked out a nearby village, Vipava, for dinner. I have to say that was one of the best dinners I have had in Slovenia, as this restaurant was committed to using local ingredients and traditional methods, but the way they present things are quite fascinating and modern.

On Thursday, we checked out of our apartment, and drove to Škocjan Caves. This was the second cave we visited in this trip, and the third time we went underground (the second one was when we visited the mercury mine). While Postojna Cave was prettier when it comes to rock formations, Škocjan Cave is more massive, massive enough to contain one of the world's largest underground canyons. It seriously is so huge that the height of those gorges with the river flowing in the middle is very much comparable to the size of the gorges we hiked in the earlier days above ground. It was definitely quite amazing, and I suggest a visit here if you can. It will blow your mind. After visiting the caves, we drove to our next accommodation, in the seaside town of Piran. We were there for two nights. In the evening, we checked out Piran, which was walking distance from where we were.

Friday, August 5 was the day when we checked out salt pans in Piran, close to the border with Croatia. Then in the afternoon, we checked out another seaside town, Koper. I think I liked Koper better than Piran, it was more manageable, and since Koper's beach is tiny compared to Piran's, there aren't many tourists overflowing the town.

On Saturday, we checked out and drove to Ljubljana. Upon reaching the city, we drove to the train station and dropped off our car. Then we headed to our last accommodation, a bed and breakfast in the middle of the Old Town. We also took a boat tour on the river, and ate some horse burgers for lunch and seafood for dinner.

Sunday was our last full day in Slovenia. We checked out the castle, which was very close to where we were. We also walked all over the city, checking out old Roman walls (Ljubljana was an ancient Roman city), as well as other nooks and crannies of the Old Town. I found myself enjoying the city immensely.

Monday August 8 was our last day, as we were flying back to Berlin that afternoon. But during the morning, after checking out, we still went to interesting places such as the national library. We did our final stroll along the cobblestone streets and narrow alleys of the city. Around 3 PM, we went back to our B&B to pick up our bags, and soon after that, our airport shuttle showed up. This time, our flight back to Berlin was direct, so by 8:00 in the evening, we were on the bus heading back home.

That was packed! Atypical for a honeymoon, but I think I enjoyed it a lot! Of course, details and photos will follow soon.

2 comments:

  1. Atypical for sure, but I'm sure you enjoyed it. Plus, typical island-paradise honeymoons must be boring ;-)

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    1. Zhu,

      Oh this trip wasn't boring at all! We enjoyed every bit of it!

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