It has been a full week now that I have been in Slovenia! Since I left on the 4th, two weeks ago, I spent most of a week in NYC touring around. I had some great food and caught up with some good friends, but nothing too special. Then last Thursday, I took an overnight plane to Zurich and then to Slovenia. The jetlag wasn’t too bad, the first night here I slept for 12 hours straight and that was about it.
Slovenia is a wonderful little country that has really surprised me with how beautiful everything is. I perhaps had some misconceptions about the country before coming here due its proximity to some not-so-modern Eastern European countries, but I have seen that it is quite a modern country and has some very smart people here. Most people I have met speak fluent English, which has been great for me, along with a bit of Italian, and German. I’ve picked up a bit of Slovenian too, I’ve been told it’s a very hard language to learn, but I haven’t had much difficulty with the pronunciation of most words. The Internet here is faster than most home connections in the US and I’ve found plenty of free or open wireless for my iPhone. Despite the old exterior on many buildings, they are completely new and awesome inside!
I am staying here with a good friend of mine, Vesna, from my study abroad in Germany. We kept in touch and now I am finally visiting her! She has been trying her best to get me out and around Slovenia, also filling me in with plenty of useful facts and history, since she studies art history.
Over the first weekend, we hung around Ljubljana, the capitol, and where she lives. They have a nice Christmas market in the center of town, overlooked by this awesome castle that has been around for hundreds of years. The castle is one of Ljubljana’s most famous landmarks.
Tuesday, I went to Zagreb, Croatia by myself. 2.5 hour train ride from Ljubljana, about 21 euros roundtrip. Zagreb was very lovely, nestled between two large hills, it gives the city a nice upper/lower split of houses and a very nice view from the hill. I’m planning on writing up another larger post about Zagreb.
Wednesday, we borrowed Vesna’s sister’s car and drove to the coast! Trieste in Italian, Trst in Slovenian, is right on the Adriatic Sea, used to be Slovenia before WWII, and is still quite Slovenian. Great coffee and pizza in Italy, of course. Many beautiful views as we drove along the coast, heading South, to the 48KM of Slovenian coastline. We drove out to Piran, a small and old city out on a tip of land. Very beautiful to watch the sunset from there.
Thursday, yesterday, we borrow the car again and drove to Bled, in the Northwest of Slovenia, where there is the only island in all of Slovenia. There is a big church on that island, with a huge awesome castle overlooking the church and the lake. You are up in the Alps by now and it is just gorgeous.
Today was recovery and planning. This weekend/next week is travel to Wien, Bratislava, and Budapest! Keep reading for stories from my travels.