I recently had the pleasure of my parents’ company for 3 weeks. We had a great time and it was fun showing them where I have been living all these months. My mom did some research on this part of the world before they arrived. And when I say research, what I really mean is that she developed the ability to write her own guidebook on Budapest, without ever stepping foot in it. The woman is detailed. But I appreciated all her efforts – she was able to tell me about the origins of the statues we passed by, relate the history of several buildings and knew exactly what she wanted to see during their visit. My dad, husband and I were really just along for the ride on The Carolyn Roup Express – so much for my career as a travel guide!
On my mom’s list was the country of Slovenia, specifically Lake Bled. I’ve heard that Lake Bled is a stunning place and was more than eager to make that trip happen. So the four of us piled into the car, with Ross at the wheel, and made our way across the neighboring border and into Slovenia. Our first stop was the country’s capital, Ljubljana. What a charming town! Unfortunately we only spent a couple of hours there, just enough time for lunch and a brief stroll along the river. But it was enough time for me to make the mental note of “must come back and soon.”
By late afternoon we reached the town of Bled. Our first order of business was checking into our hotel, the Penzion Berc. We loved this little hotel. It was simple and quaint with very friendly staff that were always there to help you. The property consists of two small hotels (Hotel Berc and Penzion Berc), located side by side, that are run by two brothers. The houses have been in their family for generations and I could tell they took real pride in their business. There is free wi-fi, breakfast is included and they have bicycles you can borrow (for free!) whenever you like. Considering how much fun I had on the bike in Austria, I was very excited about this.
Let me just skip to the thing I most want to say… I loved Slovenia. I love Slovenia. Mmm, let me check – yep, still love Slovenia! I didn’t think it was possible to love a place as much as Hallstatt, but I found it. It seemed that everyone we met was born in Slovenia and never left. I can easily see why. They have everything – green mountains to climb up in the summer, snowy mountains to ski down in the winter, lakes to enjoy, good food – and dragons! Dragons seemed to be the motif of the country, depicted in ironwork and on bridges.
We saw many great things on our trip – the Castle overlooking Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge, the Postojna Cave, the Predjama Castle and ate wonderful food. I don’t know what is in the water but their bread is amazing and their signature dessert, cream cake, is to die for!
But my favorite part of the trip was our private tour with a local guide through the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park. Thanks to my mom’s diligent research, we booked a tour with a wonderful guy named Sašo Golub who, along with his wife, have a touring company that specializes in showcasing the beauty of Slovenia. I cannot stress enough how great Sašo was and how fantastic this day trip was! He picked us up at our hotel in his minivan and drove us through some of the most breathtaking landscape I have ever seen, all the while telling us about the history of the country, the geology, relating quirky stories and giving us little tidbits about everyday life in Slovenia. Below are some of the sights we saw along the way – the weather could not have been more beautiful!
Sašo was so personable that I felt more like I was taking a road trip with a buddy than on an official tour. We went up the mountain range and down the mountain range (a total of 52 road switchbacks, by the way), into churches and cemeteries and admired lakes and wildflowers. We actually drove through a tiny part of northern Italy on our journey. If any of you are planning a trip to Slovenia, and I highly recommend you do, you need to book with Sašo and his wife, Tina. You won’t regret it!
Slovenia was an amazing country, with friendly people and breathtaking scenery. I had a wonderful time there and it was such a treat to get to experience it with my parents. I am so grateful they were able to make the long journey over to Europe and I certainly hope it won’t be the last time!