23 August, 2010

Vacation Week 4a: Slovenia

The stars have finally aligned and we've found our vacation groove! We've spent the past two days driving the wine route in Austria and exploring bits of Slovenia, which was hands down my favorite country visited during this vacation.

The capital, Ljubliana, is lovely! Most of the downtown area is situated around the Ljublianica river. This is a student town and you really see that reflected in the abundant sidewalk cafes and boutiques.

We took a 2 hour walking tour through the historic downtown and were impressed at how well-maintained everything was. Slovenia stands out head and shoulders above its former Soviet / former Yugoslavian brethren. The roads and cities we saw are well maintained and the people we spoke to seemed optimistic and proud of their country.

I used the almighty power of the mother veto and we had a fabulous lunch at a vegetarian cafe. S wasn't exactly enthusiastic at first but ended up enjoying his edible salad bowl in spite of himself.

After lunch we hiked up a hill to visit the 12th century Ljubliana Castle, which gives spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside. We savored the panorama and then were thrilled to discover the "Library under the Treetops". Slovenia is apparently the "World Book Capital" for 2010 and in celebration they set up reading corners in various parts of the city. We must have spent the better part of an hour stretched out in lawn chairs and savoring magazines and travel books. This was definitely the highlight of my vacation!

The next day we also quickly visited Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city. Because of an unplanned (and very enjoyable) detour on the way, we got there quite late, drove around and took a walk along the Drava river. We started getting hungry and asked a well-dressed couple if they could recommend a restaurant where we could get some good Balkan food. The man smiled sweetly and said in impeccable English: "I don't know, we never eat out, my wife is an excellent cook!" and gave her a hug. In the end they were able to recommend a place within walking distance and we had an excellent meal.

I thoroughly enjoyed what we saw of Slovenia-- would love to come back sometime and spend a vacation in Bled! I think maybe I could even convince the rest of the family, especially if I promised S that we would keep the vegetarian restaurants to a minimum! ;-)


anno said...

Have to admit, after your synopsis of last week, I was exhausted & ready to go home. Glad you stuck it out for this reward. Sounds wonderful!

Goofball said...

Week 4 sounds mavellous....how many more weeks to go?

Betsy said...

We went home at the end of week 4. I've got a lot more to post, though, because we saw a lot in that week...