Slovenia

I love Slovenia.

We had a shorter visit than I would have wanted – only two short days – but had a great time nonetheless. My first introduction to Slovenia was about two years ago, when I first visited Jess while she was living just outside Trieste. She surprised me and took me on a day trip to this incredible cave in Slovenia called Postojnska Jama. This time around, I wanted to go to Ljubljana and Lake Bled.

But first, Ljubljana.

We caught a bus directly from Trieste to Ljubljana which only took an hour. It’s very difficult to find accurate time tables online, so it’s best to go to the coach station directly (where they have all separate coach companies time tables together) and check the schedule.

We made it to Ljubljana before lunch, so had a chance to walk around the city before settling down to the first of many incredible meals. Mine was homemade buckwheat ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and truffles in a leek and shrimp sauce. Jack’s was barley risotto with octopus, prawns, artichokes and cherry tomatoes. How unreal does that sound? And cheap. And incredibly presented.

After lunch, we wandered the streets a little more and then made our way up the funicular to Ljubljana Castle for the city view. Beautiful!

There was a little shop selling Slovenian folk art, which set my heart racing, but unfortunately I decided to bide my time and see if I could find it cheaper and we didn’t end up having time. Beautiful items, though.

Later that night we went to a nearby restaurant and had the most incredible meal. The place was Restaurant Compa and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Ljubljana.

We given a Slovenian schnapps upon arrival then had fancy, cave-aged cheese, cured meat and olive board with a bottle of Slovenian red and a basket of their incredible, grilled fluffy bread. The restaurant we went to had an open kitchen within the same room you ate in and the menu itself was short and simple. Slovenia is famous for colt (yes, horse), so Jack, being the more adventurous eater of the two of us, went for that while I went for the beef. I did try the horse, though: a lot like pork. They brought it out on another platter also spread with grilled vegetables, cut herbs, wild garlic, etc. Incredible.

The next morning, we went on a day trip to Lake Bled, which is about an hour bus ride from Ljubljana. Buses go every hour or even more frequently between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. If you’re into hiking/mountaineering, definitely add Lake Bohinj to the visit and the Triglav National Park – accessible from the lake.

We caught the bus in the morning and then had a glorious day walking around the lake, enjoying cappuchinos and lunch from a terrace overlooking the lake, and renting a row boat to row out to the little island in the middle of the Lake.

The weather changed constantly, so went from hot to cold extremes and clear blue skies to dark fog.

There’s an 11th century castle also overlooking the lake, which we didn’t climb up to, but is stunning.

Not far away is Lake Bohinj where you can access the Triglav National Park and the highest mountains in Slovenia (near 3,000 meters).

We’d love to come back again and spend some time in the park – again, easy to get to from Ljubljana.

We were back in time for a late dinner, so went back to the ravioli place and stopped for drinks on the way home. After getting home fairly late, we realized that what we assumed were very regular buses were actually not, so although my flight out of Trieste was at 5:30 pm and Trieste was only an hour away, we had the option of a 7 am, 8 am or 3:30 pm bus (which would’ve caused me to miss my flight as it’s another hour bus to the airport) so we had to set very early alarms to make the 8 am bus. Bummer – would have loved that extra morning in Slovenia! Still, we had a very laid back day in the sun and by the canal in Trieste.

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