Blogs from Upper Carniola, Slovenia, Europe

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Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Bled October 7th 2019

We awoke to a rather chilly morning in Kranjska Gora; our windscreen was covered in ice! After defrosting the windscreen / washing the ice away we set off towards Vintgar Gorge. The drive to Vintgar Gorge took about 40 minutes. After leaving the freeway and driving uphill for a while we ended up on a narrow road, which seems to be typical of the approach to tourist attractions in Slovenia! Eventually we reached the car park, paid our 5 euro parking fee and headed off to buy our 11 euro per person tickets for the Gorge. Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6km long gorge close to Bled. It’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in Slovenia, for good reason. We’d read that it gets really busy so to arrive early, but assumed that was only during ... read more
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Kranjska Gora October 3rd 2019

We departed Kobarid in much better weather than the previous day. Our first stop on the way to Kranjska Gora was Slap (waterfall) Virje. We turned off the main road onto a small trail which drove through a golf course and then into a small town. We weren’t quite sure we were going in the right direction but eventually encountered a couple of people walking the same direction we were heading and then saw a sign pointing to a car park. From the car park it was about a five minute walk downhill before we reached the beautiful waterfall. The waterfall was quite strange as the flow splits in two just before it drops off the edge. This creates a dual waterfall with blue ponds, which are connected by shallower water, at the base of each. ... read more
The drive from Kobarid
Slap (waterfall) Virje
The Great Soča Gorge (and actors)

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana October 1st 2019

The first stop of our five week trip through the Balkans was supposed to be Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. However, due to the financial challenges of Adria airlines we found ourselves stranded in Munich after two flights. We had booked the three flights directly through Etihad, and on the phone before we left they assured us that if anything went wrong they'd be responsible for sorting it out. Their tune changed when the flight was ultimately cancelled and Etihad were useless. Fortunately a very friendly and helpful man at the Lufthansa desk in Munich helped us out, first by trying to get Etihad / Adria to assist, but then by recommending alternative ways of traveling to Ljubljana. Flights were far too expensive / booked out, car hire was too expensive and hotels in Munich were ... read more
Austria from the train
Tivoli City Park
Tivoli City Park

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Bohinj September 24th 2019

On Sunday, we got up early and headed for the Sixt car rental at the train station in Ljubljana, hauling our suitcases and some food. We were in line behind a man speaking with an American accent, and we heard him mention "Seattle" to the employee. As we exclaimed that we too were from the Seattle area, the couple behind us chimed in, saying they were also from the Seattle area....really, what were the chances? I was the driver for this rental, since Bill had driven in Italy. A former student, Dan Thompsen, had given me a back roads route to Bled, where we would pay for our forest cabin, and buy supplies for our two night stay in the Triglav National Park. The route was beautiful, and I didn't hit anyone on the blind curves, ... read more
Three Seattle area guys in line at Sixt car rental in Ljubljana!
Beautiful views from the back roads to Bled
Beautiful views from the back roads to Bled

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana September 21st 2019

We used Saturday morning to plan the final weeks of our trip. We've decided to base ourselves in Split for ten days and take day trips or perhaps an overnight to an island. We will take a bus to Dubrovnik on the 8th and fly to Venice, where we overnight and fly to Boston very early the next morning. When we got tired of looking at airbnb possibilities in Split, we headed out to get bikes again, and ride to the Botanical garden. "Established in 1810, the Ljubljana Botanical Garden is Slovenia's oldest cultural, scientific and educational institution operating uninterruptedly since its foundation. The Garden contains more than 4,500 different species and subspecies. One third of them are endemic to Slovenia, while the rest originate from other parts of Europe and other continents." My favorite parts ... read more
Bill at the car show
Botanical Garden
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana September 20th 2019

On Friday, we planned to bike to the site of one of the pile dweller villages, in the marshes south of Ljubljana. We weren't sure about taking the the clunky and very heavy city bikes that far, but it is a flat route, and at 2 euros an hour after the first free hour, a bargain! We had a bike trail map, without street names, and google maps on our phones. With that combo, we made it out of the city and into the marshes on a gravel path. We only took one wrong turn, and didn't go too far before realizing our mistake and turning around. The bikes are so heavy that you can't lift them to turn them around! We rode on gravel paths for seven miles or so to the site. We stopped ... read more
Marshes or Barje
On one of the gravel trails we took today
Our only wrong turn!

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Bled September 19th 2019

"Standing placidly in the shadows of the Julian Alps, ringed by thick forests and guarded by a stern medieval castle, is Slovenia’s beloved Lake Bled. At its center is Bled Island, home to one most beautiful churches on the planet and the “wishing bell,” a 16th century chime consecrated by the Pope himself that is believed to grant the wishes of all who ring it." On Thursday, we took a bus to Lake Bled, where the quintessential Slovenian photo of the church on the island in a lake is taken...It was still cool in the morning, and the sun started to come out just after we arrived. We decided to walk around the lake on the 6 kilometer path and opted not to hike up to castle. Part way around, we came to the Olympic Rowing ... read more
The lake, with a mute swan
Bled Castle
The Lake

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana September 17th 2019

The blog title comes from a statement on museums from one of the many we visited on Wednesday. I love the idea! On Tuesday, we decided to use the city bike program to get around. We found the nearest location (only a block away) and successfully entered our codes, took our bikes and headed off into the heart of Ljubljana on two wheels! We dodged other cyclists, pedestrians, the occasional dog, and construction work, arriving safely at the triple bridges, where we returned our bikes, and headed to the funicular that would take us up to the castle. The Chinese have discovered Ljubljana, and there was a large tour group waiting for the funicular, so it took awhile. Slovenia and Croatia have been targeting China recently with travel promotions, and it is apparently working really well! ... read more
From the day before when it was above 80!
The oldest wheel in the world!
Neanderthal Bone Flute

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana September 16th 2019

Slovenia is a new and old place: It only gained independence in 1991. Slovenia has historically been the crossroads of Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages and cultures, and there are sizable Hungarian and Italian populations here. Nearly all of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 speak at least one foreign language and almost three quarters of them speak two!! This is the highest percentage in the European Union. Present-day Slovenia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is evidence of human habitation from around 250,000 years ago. A url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divje_Ba... read more
The castle and flags tonight
Bill on the Triple Bridge
Our living room

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana August 13th 2019

How lovely to wake up to glorious sunshine and a fantastic view of Ljubljana Castle! Breakfast is great again, and I find a lovely spot in the restaurant all to myself. (Mrs Anti-social!) I am reading my Kindle and still feel a bit guilty about reading for pleasure instead of MBA and business books! Soon after breakfast I head into the Old Town. It is only a few minutes walk from the Hotel Lev. On the way I notice a large department store with a Spar in the basement. If anyone reading this decides to visit Ljubljana, I can recommend this Spar shop for all your bits and bobs. It is spacious, quiet, well laid-out and air-conditioned. And inexpensive - for example, cold bottles of water cost 40 cents. You can stock up on wine, beer, ... read more
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