Slovenian Skies

The most accurate word I can use to describe what I have seen of Slovenia is bucolic. Not withstanding the fact that it is over 60% forest, the most obvious feature is the patches of rolling farmlands spread between and throughout these forests and hills and mountains. It just feels peaceful and pastoral on the whole, and the people are friendly, generous and hospitable. Most of the photos I ended up taking are of the landscape variety because of the nature of the country (excuse the pun) and the particular regions that we visited, and it was blessedly quiet and uncrowded considering it was the peak of summer.

Our first port of call after Ljubljana was the oldest town in Slovenia, namely Ptuj (pronounced p’tooee which sounds very dismissive but Slovenians seem quite particular on its pronunciation and joke about it). The centre dates back to Roman times and has a small “old town” right on the Drava River with a castle and the ubiquitous church(es).

We then made our way closer to the Austrian border in the Pohorje region of low mountains and more forest and beautiful scenery, including the tallest tree in Slovenia near to where we were staying in Ribnica. Although the tree didn’t impress that much, what with being in a forest full of other tall trees and situated on a steep slope, whilst there we did meet a lovely Slovenian family. The tree is accessed through a farm and after showing us the tree, a young man from the farm then asked us back to the house where food and drink were layed on and we tarried for several hours. Our new-found Slovenian family invited us to visit them and as we had no pressing agenda, a few days later we accepted the invitation and spent the day eating, socialising and being shown a few of the local attractions.

The final week of our time in Slovenia was spent based in Radovljica, very close to Lake Bled which is probably the most famous and popular spot in the country. However, there are many more attractions in the region and we managed to squeeze in a few of them too, including Lake Bohinj (which is larger and much less developed or frequented and therefore more to our liking), the Vrsic Pass over the Julian Alps and some of the smaller villages to the south.

I hope the abundance of landscape images doesn’t get too repetitious, especially as we had so many beautiful and dramatic sunrises, sunsets and skies in general that I had to name this post after them.

As well as the people and the natural landscape there was one other feature that stood out in Slovenia - the local pumpkin seed oil. This luscious, aromatic, dark green oil is sensational on many dishes such as pumpkin soup, in salad dressing and even on vanilla ice-cream! Thanks to the Doliska family for introducing us to it, we now carry some with us.

After leaving Slovenia we stopped in Vienna for lunch (I had to drop that in, but in reality it could have been in any city in Europe for all we saw) before heading on to Bratislava in Slovakia, the country that will be the subject of my next update.

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