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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 46.3683, 14.1147
We woke before 6am and checked email (of course), then went down for brekkies just after 7am. The hotel offered a very complete breakfast, which was appreciated, as we had not had much to eat the day before. It had rained all night, and there was still a little drizzle when we left.
The drive to Ljubljana was easy. We stopped at the petrol station just before the border to pick up our "Vignette" travel pass, for use on Slovenia's motorways. The border crossing was easy, too: we pulled up the kiosk, handed our passports to the Croatia departure guy, who stamped them, then handed them to the Slovenia entrance guy, and then we were on our way.
We arrived at the Ljubljana airport a few minutes after the kids' flight landed at 10:45am. I dropped off Paul, then drove around the very small circle before finding a place to park. The airport is one terminal, with two baggage claim belts. With the kids and their luggage in the car, we returned to Ljubljana.
Parking near the downtown area, we walked around the charming old town, with its river and Baroque buildings. An oompah band played near the fountain of the four
rivers. The downtown was crowded with tourists, but festive. Since it was too early for lunch, we hiked up to the castle on the hill, which retains the Medieval walls and some internal structures but has added “event” areas with a much more modern feel. We climbed the tower for the great views of both the old Communist city and the charming downtown. The small theater offers a movie about the history of the castle – told from the perspective of a dragon that flies in from outside the galaxy? It was interesting to learn that the Romans were the first to build a city here, and that the oldest wheel with axle attached was found in the Slovenian marshes outside Ljubljana. We also visited the chapel, which was lovely, but funny, as the coats of arms of various nobility were painted all over the ceiling, and the museum of Slovenian history, from pre-Roman times to the present. Keegan was very excited to see that a poster he had written about in his Laibach paper was displayed in the Museum.
After the castle, we returned down the hill to eat lunch. We selected a restaurant along the river and sat on
the terrace, where we were amused by the small aggressive birds who loved the bread in the bread bowls. It was a bit chilly, but not too bad … at least for a while. Mid-meal, the wind rushed in dramatically. The people eating along the river were all shooed inside by the waiters, who struggled to get the giant umbrellas down before someone was hurt. Then the rains came – very powerful rains with a cold wind. Brrr. We lasted for about 30 minutes, but Paul and Keegan were just in short-sleeves, and I only had a light cotton scarf. We took the remains of our wine inside, and finished it, plus our coffee, there. The food was good, as was the service – a nice start to Slovenia.
It was still raining lightly when we decided we needed to leave. We rushed to the car, and arrived damp and chilled – but it was better than expected. The drive out of town was easy, and soon the sky had cleared. We saw dramatic snow-covered peaks near the airport – peaks which were completely invisible when we arrived to pick up the kids. It was a lovely drive. The town of
Bled, which we reached in less than an hour, is beautifully situated along the lake, surrounded by mountains. We parked and tried to find the place where we were to get the key to the villa. No luck, but we did some grocery shopping for brekkies. We finally decided to drive to the villa, then called the owner (Denis) from there. He had left a key, so we were able to let ourselves in. He arrived shortly afterwards and gave us a good briefing of the area. The villa is lovely from the outside and well-kept on the inside. You enter into a narrow hallway. To your left is the kitchen – quite modern. At the end of the hall is the large bathroom. Just past the kitchen, on the left, you enter the dining room and parlor – we all decided it was definitely the “parlor” with its dark furniture. Beyond the parlor is another bedroom. Upstairs is one small bedroom, which Paul and I took. It is cozy and comfortable, and it will be a pleasant place to stay for three nights.
After he left, we walked the 4.5km to town – a very pleasant walk along the
lake. The path is pedestrian only, far removed from any road, through the trees, with grand views of the water and the villas on the other side. The island in the center of the lake, with its perched church, is very dramatic, as is the promontory on which the castle sits. We took many photographs. Reaching town, we found a delightful little pizzeria and had a tasty, inexpensive meal. We walked home, arriving around 9:30pm, just as it was starting to get dark.
The kids were exhausted, not surprisingly, as they had short flights from the east coast to Europe, during which they barely slept, so they went to bed. Paul and I read and journaled before retiring ourselves.
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