SLOVENIA- The Only Country With the Word LOVE In It! To be honest, I don’t know if that’s a true statement, I haven’t checked, but when I heard someone say that I thought, perfect!
Originally Slovenia was not one of the countries on my urgent must-see travel list. It was one of the European countries that slipped my radar until a Netherlands-Italy road trip a few years ago brought me right through the heart of the tiny and fruitful country. What a gem!!! Completely surpassing any expectations (or lack there of), Slovenia impressed me with its natural beauty and instantly became one of my favourite European countries. Of the eight countries we would visit on my “27th Birthday Road Trip”, I was most excited about returning to and getting a better taste of Slovenia. Hosted by the Slovenian tourism board, our time spent in this severely underrated country was beyond perfect. We were able to have wonderful and diverse experiences in the short amount of time we were there.
Our first night was spent out in the country halfway between Hungary and Slovenia’s capital cities, Budapest and Ljubljana, at a family run farmhouse called Firbas Farmhouse. We arrived the night of my 27th birthday. We were served a home-grown meal of chicken soup, salad, an oven chicken and buckwheat dish homemade by the owner’s mother in the restaurant that felt more like a family dining room. The owner, Bojan, had traditional Slovenian music playing in the background to really put us in the vibe. Now this is what travel is all about. Getting the real tastes and feel of home life in a country. After a long day of beating down heat, miles of walking and explore Budapest and hours of driving in a non-air-conditioned car, we collapsed with full bellies before desert.
The next morning when we got up for breakfast our host surprised us with my homemade birthday cake for breakfast! Homemade by his mother, I was amazed by how much they were spoiling us and partly felt badly for collapsing in bed without our cake the night before. We were given a tour of the property and I fell even more madly in love.
For a unique experience, or if you’re watching your pennies, you can sleep in the farm’s hayloft. Either IN the hay with a sleeping bag or swinging above it in a hammock.
Upon Firbas’ recommendation we found ourselves in a very quiet, nearby pumpkinseed oil factory, the most common type of oil used in the area. It was so fascinating (and delicious!) that I’ve written a separate article just on that.
We made a quick stop in the beautiful capital city, Ljubljana. I was pleasantly surprised by how much English I heard and how many tourists there were. I was so happy to leave with my first and only souvenirs of the trip. An adorably toothbrush holder and timer as well as a baby teeth box from the Slovenian tooth fairies. I guess I’m getting a bit carried away with this baby, it’ll be years before he’ll use either. But at least I’ll be able to tell him that he was there when I bought it.
Our final destination for the day was Lake Bled. We landed in super luxury in the Wellness Golf Hotel in Bled where we were treated to a half board package (we traded dinner for lunch!), all arranged by the tourism board, and dined on the hill at Bled CASTLE overlooking the stunning lake.
Pulling up into the parking lot of the Wellness Golf Hotel I couldn’t help but notice and smile at all the different license plates; Austrian, Dutch, German, Italian, Serbian, Hungarian and of course Slovenian. It’s such a novelty, especially for a North American.
Anita and I took a dip in the wellness pool, an extra luxury with its inside/outside access from within the pool and its view of the lake and castle on the hill. I easily could’ve spent a week theess G
Lake Bled Castle Restaurant is a MUST, not only during a visit to Bled, but to Slovenia. Exquisite quality in food, service, a million dollar view and the best part? It’s affordable! I cannot praise this restaurant enough and it may just be my favorite in the world. Yum, yum, yum. We felt so pampered there. After sunset when it started to cool down and get a bit windy up on the hill the server appeared with blankets to keep us warm. I wish I never had to leave.
For the grand finale, we spent the last day in Slovenia driving through the breathtakingly, drop-dead gorgeous Triglav National Park. We drove southwest from Bled to Bovec then north to Germany, passing through Italy and Austria for the second time. We marvelled at the high mountain views, valley villages and sporadic, intense weather changes as we went from sun to a heavy thunder storm within minutes.
We sat on the edge of our seats as Mom drove us up to an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft) on the winding Vršič Pass which boasts 50 hairpin turns in the Julian Alps.
Despite the worthy views, we couldn’t for the life of us understand the bicyclists peddling endlessly uphill.
All I could do was shake my head, “No, no, no, no. Why, why, whyyy?!”
“It’s unbelievable but I think he likes it,” says Anita. There are always people you find along the way who are crazier than you are!
Overall, another fantastic visit to Slovenia and it certainly won’t be the last!
Categories: Savannah Grace