Entering once more into the adventure of travel, this time with my friends Jack and Melanie. Join me as I explore the Balkan world of Slovenia and Croatia with Roundabout Travel.
I am sitting on the top floor of a hotel, overlooking the old town and castle of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. I only slept 2.5 hours last night due to severe jet lag and am not sure how coherent this first travel blog after over 2 years will be.
Travelling is always an adventure but perhaps more so at this point in our global history: not only is there COVID restrictions and requirements to deal with but the airlines themselves seem to have forgotten how to operate efficiently. Although I had no problem on my totally packed Swiss Air flight into Venice, my accompanying friends, Jack and Melanie, both had significant flight delays on United, Lufthansa and Turkish Air and Melanie’s luggage was lost for over a 2 days.
Venice welcomed us with its usual display of its elegant past and brilliant food of the present. And after only a day in Italy, we were met by Mitja, our Slovenian tour director, and swept away on the road into the wine-growing region of Goriska Brda in Western Slovenia.
History has blurred the cultural and linguistic lines in this area around Triste in Northern Italy. For centuries part of the German-speaking Austrian Hapsburg empire and its seaport to the world, the northern and western provinces of Slovenia have been traded back and forth since WWI, finally achieving its independence in 1991 from the former Yugoslavia. And allowing the country of Slovenia to showcase once again its language and culture.
We drive into a fertile and luxuriant wine growing region, one of 4 in Slovenia which counts on its vintners for a major part of its economy. The vineyards stretch out, rich and luxuriously green in a land with abundant water, and we stop to visit the old historic village of Šmartno, resurrected to display the charms of former rural life. Cherries are just coming into season and we stop to buy a basket before heading off to other views of this land. An old farmhouse remodeled to a very beautiful high end hotel is a place where we relax a bit before having a traditional lunch in a nearby village. The canopy of an old mulberry tree shades us as we enjoy wonderful food. And then on to Ljubljana where we will be for several days.
Here is a photo of the three of us and more photos will follow when I get more sleep!