Saturday, September 25, 2021


Krvavek is a popular ski resort in Slovenia and it lies between 1450 and 1971 meters above see level, that's roughly 4 to 6 thousand feet. Tanja had mentioned that hiking is a popular thing to do in Slovenia so when she asked if I would be interested in hiking at Krvavek, I decided to go for it. 

There are year round cable cars that transport you to up and down the mountains but we decided to tough it out by walking. The hike was challenging and I was panting like a dog but it felt so good seeing how high we had climbed from where we had parked.

The views were amazing of course and since it was during the week, there were no crowds. From the photos below I am not sure that you can tell how high we had to climb but I hope you get an idea, it was a physically tough climb despite my regular gym sessions that I thought would guarantee my endurance. 

After the hike we stopped at a local restaurant where Tanja encouraged me to take a shot and have some homemade apple strudel. I can't remember the name of the drink but I learned that it's customary to take a shot of it after hiking to kind of boost your energy. It was actually pretty good! 

That's it! Folks, my last full day in Slovenia was well spent and by the time I went to bed in the evening, I was tired but super happy that within a week I had managed to see and do a lot. This trip has been nothing short of amazing. I have two big trips in November so do check back for updates. Hopefully covid restrictions will not alter my plans.

Random Thoughts Of The Day

To enter Slovenia you need either a negative covid test taken not more than 72 hours prior to your trip, or proof of a covid vaccine.

Masks are required in all indoor places and some restaurants will require proof of vaccine to admit you in.

The local language spoken in Slovenia is Slovenian but English is also widely spoken as a second language.

Since Slovenia is part of the EU, they use euros, credit/debit cards are also widely accepted.

Slovenia truly is a gem and such a beautiful country, very clean too! I am so glad I decided to check it out. Folks are friendly and helpful too!

Kudos to me for updating this blog with my cell phone. I did not have an adapter to help charge my laptop, I was bummed at first but it actually worked out just fine. 

My connecting flight to the US was via France (CDG) and guess what? The flight ended up being cancelled so I was stuck in Paris for the night. The airline did place us in a hotel and gave us meal vouchers.

I had to take another covid test at the CDG airport because my flight cancellation messed up with the timing of the covid test I took in Slovenia prior to leaving. The test was so uncomfortable as they dig way up your nose.

On the subject of covid, airlines require you to wear surgical masks and not any other kind. Thank goodness they do provide you with one when you board the plane. I had a clothe mask so I needed to switch.

I have had my share of experiences in all kinds of airports but I have to say that CDG is the worst! Its huge to begin with, it's super confusing and it's crowded so expect long lines. 

I have been to Paris before but I was toying with the idea of checking out the city in the morning prior to my afternoon flight but I am so glad that I did not risk it. By the time I got through my covid test and border control, I had spent like 3 hrs. Had I decided to come 2 hrs prior to my flight like I normally do, I would have definitely missed my flight.

Right now I am seated at a cafe having had the best salad ever and so relieved that I have plenty of time to relax prior to my flight. A lot of people missed their flights coz they were stuck in the long lines at border patrol.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Lake Bled

If there is one thing I can point out about Slovenia, it's the natural beauty. This country keeps surprising me at each turn and my visit to Lake Bled was no exception. I had seen such beautiful pictures of the lake online and I knew I had to check it out to appreciate it in person. 

Lake Bled and the surrounding area is beautiful! And there are various activities that you can participate in while in the area. Let's start with taking a good walk around the lake. There is a well developed foot path that will take you the whole length of the lake. The distance is 6 km (3.3 miles) and it should take about an hour to complete. It's easily do-able.

After getting a good sweat from walking, I would recommend taking a boat to Lake Bled island which is in the middle of the lake. It's a small natural island with a church in the middle of it, I learned that a lot of couples like getting married on the island and the groom has to carry the bride up the steps leading to the church (I counted 100 steps but Tanja counted 98). 

Inside the church there is a rope that you can pull to ring a bell, it's believed that if you make a wish and ring the bell then your wish will come true. No harm in giving it a try. The boat ride to and from the island costs 15 euros/person. You can also rent a paddle boat to get to and from the island by yourself.

Once you leave the island, you can visit one of the souvenior shops in the area or stop by a cafe to enjoy the famous Bled cream cake. It's light and tasty if you enjoy pastries, you can even have it with a desert wine like moscato. They actually offer that combination and if you don't want to drink you can have the cake by itself.

After getting those calories in from indulging in the cream cake, you can make your way to Lake Bled castle which sits on a high cliff overlooking the lake and surrounding area. There is nothing fancy about the castle but the view you get is worth a visit. I almost forgot to mention that you can also swim in certain designated areas of the lake.

That's it folks! However you decide to spend your time in Bled, it's definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Lunch in Italy

I have never been to Italy so when my friend Tanja suggested grabbing lunch in Italy, I jumped at the opportunity. I mean, when will I ever have the next chance to have breakfast in Slovenia and lunch in Italy, right?!

We were visiting Tanja's friend in Nova Gorica (New Gorica), a town in the western part of Slovenia that borders Italy and Tanja's friend had volunteered to show us around since she grew up in the area.

The Italian side is known as Gorizia, these two towns were divided by the second world war but in the present day, cross border interactions are common and there is no barrier separating the two, you can literally walk back and forth between the two cities with the only notable difference being the language spoken on each side.

We walked right into Italy as Tanja's friend was giving us the history of both towns. I learned that a lot of young people move from Gorizia to bigger cities in Italy for better work opportunities and a lot of houses are going up for sale as people move away. The streets were pretty empty but then again, we were visiting during a regular work day so maybe folks were at work and kids were in school.

We grabbed lunch and had drinks before heading back to Slovenia. Now I can officially say I have been to Italy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Slovenia's Wine Region

Slovenia happens to be one of the top wine producers in the world and has a rich history of wine making. That being said, the country has 3 main wine regions: Podravska, Posavska and Primorska. For this post, I will focus on the last region as it happens to be where we visited.

Goriska Brda is a sub region of Primorska and is referred to as the Tuscany of Slovenia. Tanja had booked a one night stay in a hotel in the region and the plan was to do some wine tasting and visit a Vineyard. The area we stayed at was so pretty it actually looked like a scene from a story book, that's the best way to describe it. 

After we had checked into our hotel we went out to get some wine at a nearby winery. I am not much of a drinker nor do I know much about wine but I certainly enjoyed partaking plus Tanja was also schooling me. We drank, loosened up a bit then made our way to dinner at a restaurant close by. The food was good and we had more wine before heading to our room.

The following day after a hearty breakfast, we passed by a winery owned by a local family that has been in the wine business for several generations. We got a taste of several wines then we were shown the wine cellar which was pretty cool, as one of the owner's sons explained the process they use to produce wine. There is so much that goes into it!

We left the place with several bottles of wine and headed back to Lubjlana. It was an amazing experience indeed. Right now I am tired so I have tried to summarize the experience because I am feeling sleepy but I will leave you with some photos to enjoy.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Getting to know Slovenia

I can not begin to tell you how awesome it's been hanging out with my friend Tanja as she gladly shows me parts of her country. Nothing beats hanging out with a local as your guide plus her family is the sweetest and they have welcomed me so warmly.

The second full day of my stay, Tanja drove me to see the famous Postojna cave. The drive is about an hour from Ljubjana and since it's a Sunday, there was no traffic at all. This cave was discovered in 1818 and to date it has had 40 million visitors. I actually read that it's the most famous and best preserved cave in Europe.

The lowest point of the cave is almost 400 feet below the ground and the site is amazing. I don't think pictures really do it justice and I never thought visiting a cave would be this much fun and educational.

Temperature in the cave is always about 10 degrees celcius (50 degrees farenheit) so a warm coat is highly recommended because it is cold especially when taking the underground train that transports you deep inside the cave.

After we were done checking out the cave, Tanja suggested checking out a nearby palace that she thought was worth the visit. The castle is known as Predjama which means in front of the cave, yes! The castle is built in front of a cave halfway up a 127 meter cliff.

Predjama castle dates back hundreds of years and luxury or comfort were not important factors while building it. From the audio I was listening to talking about the cave, the main importance of the cave was the security it provided. Access to it wasn't easy and the cave behind it provided secret exit from the castle that any enemy in front of it couldn't see. Amazing, isn't it?

After getting our fill of the cave, we headed to our final destination of the day, Piran.

Piran is a coastal city in southwest Slovenia located in the adriatic coast. The city is small with a population of less than 5,000 people and is well known for salt production, spas and of course it's appeal to tourists.

Tanja's family has an apartment right by the main square (Tartini) so that's where we were going to spend the night. As soon as we got to the apartment, we refreshed ourselves then went exploring the city.

We strolled along narrow cobbled streets, stopped by cute cafes and restaurants to grab a bite and climbed one of the highest towers to get a good aerial view of the city. We even got lucky and saw dolphins in the ocean, I am talking many dolphins not a couple. It was so cool! Aaargh! I fell in love with this city and I could so see myself spending a whole summer here.

That's it folks! It was such a wonderful day and we covered a lot! I just gave you a brief summary. Tomorrow is another full day of exploration as we head to Slovenia's wine region. Do check back for updates.

Random Thoughts Of The Day:

I forgot my laptop at Tanja's place so i wrote this post using my cellphone. Now if that isn't dedication, I don't know what is.

As I am writing this, it's 4 am and I have been up since 2 am. My internal clock is still adjusting to the different time zone.

I have to say it's so nice not having to plan anything. With this vacation I honestly left it all to Tanja and I am going with the flow. She is the best.

So far people here have been friendly and helpful, English is widely spoken so definitely no language barrier here.

It's been years since I was last in Europe and I have to say, being in Slovenia brought a lot of memories and desire to see more countries in Europe that I haven't visited yet.

My greatest passion truly is traveling and the people I have met along the way have been amazing. I mean, look at Tanja and I, we met in Brazil where we had a wonderful time and here we are re-united after 9 years and having the greatest time in Slovenia. Isn't that something?!