Slovenija, pravljica

Again it’s been way too long since my last update. We’re currently in Bosnia, but we were in Slovenia well over a month ago. I’m going to backtrack a bit here, all the way to Nice, France. We dropped off our car on July 13th in Nice and thus began the next stage of our trip.

Finding ourselves car-less, laden with luggage, slightly sleepy, hungry and coffee deprived, we jumped on an afternoon bus to Slovenia. To Odin’s absolute delight the bus stopped for a refreshment break in Italy, which of course meant one more crema coffee and one more toasted prosciutto sandwich.

The bus arrived in Ljubljana at 3:30am on a Monday morning. We were totally out of sorts, but thankfully our wonderful hosts picked us up from the bus station and drove us to the apartment.

After a long(ish) snooze, we got up and wandered into Ljubljana town.

We had a quick lunch stop (we were starving) and began our exploration of the town.

Delicious fish on roasted veggies.

We were pleasantly surprised. Ljubljana is an absolute gem of a place, and we were so happy we had the chance to visit there. There’s a beautiful medieval castle perched above the city, which has delightful views stretching out to the countryside.

From the viewing tower of the castle, looking down over the castle.

The castle itself was brimming with history, with archaeologists confirming uninterrupted human occupation on the site from the Late Bronze Age onwards. Over the years, the castle itself has had a fairly tumultuous history. The oldest mention of the castle dates from 1112/1125, on an inscription kept by the Udine Cathedral Archive. From there, the castle was the seat of Carinthian dukes of House of Spanheim until 1335 when it became the property of the House of Habsburg. Almost demolished in the 15th century, the castles primary function was then to defent the epire against Ottoman invasion and a peasant revolt. The castle also functioned as a military hospital and then a prison during World War II. In 1905 the castle was purchased by the city at the wish of the then Mayor, Ivan Hribar. Hribar’s vision was to establish a city museum although this was not carried out and poor families were instead settled in the castle until the mid 1960s. After that, and almost 35 years of extensive renovations, the castle developed as a lively cultural and historical centre, functioning as the focal point of Ljubljana.

Our host recommended we visit not only Lake Bled, but also Lake Bohinj. Letishia also recommended we visit too, thanks Teesh! Twenty minutes past Bled on the bus, we decided to visit Lake Bohinj first, and Bled on the way home. When we got to Bohinj we had lunch at the first place we saw (locally smoked trout, so delicious), and then hired a kayak and spent the afternoon paddling around the Lake.

The start of the lake area.
These pictures really don’t do it justice. It was huge and spectacular.

Various stop-offs, swims, and a certain somewhere paddling off whilst cackling hysterically and leaving the other on the bank of the lake were all included.

We were having such a fabulous time we hardly noticed the storm clouds gathering. Stuck in the middle of a huge lake with lightning in the distance quickly becoming lightning striking very close, our paddles became a bit more frantic. Evidently we made it safely to the banks, but decided to save Lake Bled for another day.

The absolute highlight, and reason we ventured to Slovenia, was a visit from Auntie Susan and Uncle Mike. On the day of their arrival I was easily distracted, pacing, and ready to go and meet them for dinner about three hours early.

We met for drinks on their rooftop terrace, followed by good conversation and a great catch up. Dinner the following night was at Ljubljana Castle. I had wild deer tartar for my entree followed by game goulash. Absolutely divine.

The next day we all piled into the bus and trundled off to Lake Bled.

We had a fantastic day and we were so blessed with the weather. A wander around the lake follwed by a leisurely boat ride (we were the only ones on the boat) out to the church on the island in the centre, and of course, who could say no to ice-cream on a hot summers day? An aperol spritz did follow, I must admit.

Dinner that night was at a fish restaurant. The front section is actually a fish shop, so if you’re dining in the restaurant you can choose which fish you would like and they prepare it in any way you desire. Our entrees here were the pick of the bunch for dining so far: who can say no to 5€ caviar? It was my second time trying caviar, but my first time actually enjoying it. I’d also ordered a salt cod dish, and having them together was an absolute flavour sensation. I must admit I wasn’t particularly taken with the Salmon caviar (which I am informed is actually more of a roe than a caviar) as it ‘popped’ when i chewed. Reminded me a bit of popplers off Futurama. The main courses were also sublime, I conquered this wild trout, and would you look at that, I can eat a fish from it’s spine!

After dinner we wandered down to the river and had some wine at a groovy bar. We said our fond farewells and bid Sue and Mike a good trip off to Vienna. Odin and I wandered back to our apartment and spent the next day doing exciting things like track down our belongings and doing a load of washing. Dinner was awesome again though, with a delightfully spicy prawn salad.

We left Slovenia excited for the next chapter of our trip: Croatia!

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