Off to Slovenia

The Istrian Peninsula is very near (a 25 minute drive) the boarder with Slovenia, a nation of two million. Slovenian is spoken and business is conducted in euro. Although we crossed from one EU country to another, we had to stop at the boarder and show our passports. I won’t even try to summarize why that is the case although Jasmina did a wonderful job of explaining it to us.

We drove through a soft rain that complimented the coolest day we’ve had so far and saw lots of trees which makes sense because 50% of Slovenia is forested. We passed charming little roundabouts that have small babbling brook sorts of water features; one had even incorporated a small waterwheel. Slovenia has one island off its 30-miles of coastline requiring a naval presence of one patrol vessel. We were surprised to find out the famous white Lippizaner horses originated here. Speaking of horses, the locals have it on the menu to include a burger. Slovenia is home to 9,000 limestone caves as well as the tail end of the Alps.

Two unique things we were on the lookout for were handmade lace and pumpkin seed oil. We, in fact, tried pumpkin seed ice cream with lunch. Very good. Speaking of lunch, Dan had goulash which was served in a hanging mini-cauldron made of copper and kept warm at the table with a tea light. Very cute. We tried pumpkin oil dressing on the salad and it was great.

Our destination for two nights was the capital city of Ljubljana (LubeLeeOnUh), population 300,000. It’s tallest building dates back to the 1930s and has 12 stories. History anyone? Even though the Romans arrived here 2,001 years ago to be exact, in the year 14, it has more of a medieval flavor with architecture strongly influenced by the Austro-Hungarians who ruled here for 600 years. It is built around a narrow river and is a combination of quaint, charming, edgy, impressive, clean, and beautiful. Overlooking town is an imposing fortress. We had a short walking tour and saw the remains of the original Roman wall, the medieval town center and the beautiful, colorful buildings that shout Austria was here. The interior of one church with its imposing combination of gold leaf, frescoes, and marble took our breath away. We lit a candle for Aunt Geri.

Tonight’s dinner was at a place that hosts a ‘traditional Slovenian evening’ with music and dancing. The performers were dressed in costumes from around the country. The musicians played the base and accordion. The evening started with a small glass of blueberry liqueur and dried fruit followed by a light vegetable soup. Next was a cold meat starter and homemade bread followed by salad, buckwheat Kasha, young potatoes, and a chicken filet with smoked cheese sauce. Dessert was dried fruit and a buckwheat ravioli with pear stuffing topped with roasted breadcrumbs. We enjoyed it all but got the biggest kick out of the audience participation in the traditional dancing part of the evening. Dan was tapped as a partner for almost every dance, so I had someone to root for.

Fun facts: a) Slovenia is second only to Italy in % of sons living at home with their moms. b) The average income is 1,000 euro/month. c) Catholicism is the primary religion. d) Slovenian is the only country with the word LOVE in the name.


5 thoughts on “Off to Slovenia

  1. So look forward to your posts Schele! Loved the photos especially Dan dancing! Talked to Ella today about your trip..she enjoyed hearing you two were having such a great time.


  2. I never knew that pumpkin seed ice cream existed!!

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