Euro Trip 5 – Part One – Slovenia

Euro Trip 5 – Slovenia, San Marino, Italy

Slovenia

After some failed planning of a trip to some other countries a bit further afield Keith and I decided to go to Slovenia, the only country in former Yugoslavia we had never been to.
We wanted to do a bit of a road trip as usual, visit more concrete monuments and try and visit some other countries too. The trip took us from Slovenia, through Italy to San Marino, back through Italy (stopping in Rimini and Venice) and finally back to Slovenia.

Day One – Wednesday 7th June 2017

After a hassle free drive down to Stansted we parked in the Jet Parks car park and got the shuttle bus to the terminal.

Keith at Stansted

Keith at Stansted (we got moved on from here by the blonde woman in the background!)

The flight was delayed by half an hour but it still arrived on time!

I bought the Wallpaper Ljubljana guide book before the trip. It had bad reviews on Amazon “this book purports to be about the capital of Slovenia but, well, it’s really about finding just another bar , another ‘space’ in which to see and be seen. Which could be anywhere”. “…nigh-on useless. Fail.” I actually found it quite good, our idea of an interesting place or building doesn’t normally tend to be your typical touristy spot so it gave us a lot of inspiration of places to check out.

So we disembarked the aircraft to a gloomy, chilly, rainy Slovenia.

This was the first time either of us had used Air B&B. The apartment owner was pretty quick to reply to Keith’s messages. I pulled over and Keith went to find Dino in the torrential rain.

The apartment was pretty nice and only a short distance from the city centre.

It was late afternoon and the rain had stopped so we took a walk into the city passing some of them buildings in my guide book.

Ferantov Vrt Building

Ferantov Vrt Building

Cooperative Business Bank Building

Cooperative Business Bank Building

There were a couple of places we thought we would check out. First was Republic Square (Trg Republike), a big open space with two large tower blocks and a war memorial On 26 June 1991 the Independence of Slovenia was declared here. (pictures from the next evening and last day when the weather was a lot nicer!)

Trg Republike

Trg Republike

Towers #ljubljana

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Trg Republike

Trg Republike

Trg Republike

Trg Republike

Monument to Revolution

Monument to Revolution

To the north of the square is the parliament building.

National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia

We continued our walk spotting another interesting looking office block in the distance.

Slovenijales

Slovenijales

The rain was back. It was just spitting for now but it was only the start.

Our walk took us towards the railway station.

We passed another building from the guide book. The R5 residential building.

R5

R5

Coach and R5

Computer House

Wet evening in #ljubljana

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Rainy Ljubljana

We found ourselves in the centre of the city. It was time for food. We found a pizzeria and sat outside. We had to sit near the patio heaters at it was quite chilly. It was also raining torrentially.

Keith ordered a brie pizza which he decided was a bit too much by the end.
We got absolutely soaked on the walk back to the apartment are hoped for better weather in the days to come.

#pizza #ljubljana

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Rainy Ljubljana


Day Two – Thursday 8th June 2017

Thankfully the weather had changed, the rain was gone and it was sunny!

Everyone we had told we were going to Slovenia said we had to visit Lake Bled. So we did.
We set out fairly early and headed in the direction of Lake Bled but that wasn’t the first stop.

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše. The monument seemed to be very well kept compared with most of the others we’d visited, it looked quite new; though it wasn’t, it was completed in 1976, maybe it had had some restoration work done on it fairly recently, who knows.

In January 1942 the Cankarjev Battalion tried to stop Nazi German troops advancing towards the village of Dražgoše. They fought to prevent the deportation of locals. The village was destroyed by the Nazis who had lost over 100 soldiers in the battle. They shot 41 hostages and deported the remaining residents.

Cankarjev Battalion Monument #spomenik #slovenia #mountains #concrete

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Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

It was pretty cool as you could climb the stairs to the top and look over the mountains.

View from the top of the Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Cankarjev Battalion Monument #spomenik #slovenia

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Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

Monument to the Battle of Dražgoše

After spending a while exploring and taking photos we headed for Bled.

After a short drive along very windy mountain roads we arrived at Bled. We could see the lake in the distance as we drove through the town. It was not really what I was expecting, it was incredibly touristy and developed. I don’t know why but I was imagining a lake in the middle of nowhere.

We turned left and followed the road around the edge of the lake with no idea where to go or where to park. Probably should have done some more research before heading there but nevermind.

We turned around and drove back the other way. Still no idea where to park. Then saw signs for the castle so decided that would be as good as any place to park.

The castle was at the top of a hill. All the mountainous driving had taken its toll on Keith who was feeling ill.

We had to pay to park near the castle, 3 Euros for 2 hours but we were happy just to get out of the car.

The car park attendant said there was a free view point if we didn’t want to pay for the castle. So we headed for that. It gave us a nice view across the lake. Directly opposite I noticed something on the hill, something that I’d always wanted to try ever since seeing them do it on Coach Trip. It was a downhill tobbogan on a rail.

Lake Bled

I asked Keith if he would be up for it and he said yes if we could find it. So I got googling to find how to get there.

In the mean time we made the trek down the hill, along paths and stairs to the lake. Had a short walk but it was better from the top due to the various thing built on the lake edge.

The lake was nice but so touristy.

Anyway after a successful google we made our way to Straža Bled for some tobogganing.

It was cheaper the more go’s you have, we opted for two each (€11 each person).

After queueing up for a while we got on the chairlift which would take us to the start of the track.

The chairlift took us over a herd of sheep (or were they goats??).

slosanven (24)

Eventually we were at the top and ready for the next queue.

Idiot and view #slovenia #lakebled

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Finally we at the front. I went first. You literally push the lever forward to go faster and pull it back to slow down. It was really fun. On the second go I was going pretty much full speed the whole way and somehow the seat kept hitting in to my back every time I went round a corner.

Keith on a toboggan

Keith on a toboggan

Ski Toboggan

It was great. I bought a hideous photo of me taken by a camera on a bridge above the track. Thought I’d give it to my mum as a present.

After driving back and freshening up we headed in to Ljubljana city centre.

As the weather was nice we took our cameras and went back to a couple places we’d visited the previous evening.

Somewhere in the centre was a stage, the choir were singing Creep by Radiohead randomly.

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On our search for somewhere to eat we wandered around the old town. We ended up going to a pretty posh looking restaurant (Valvas’or ) after wandering around for ages and looking on tripadvisor.

I must have been talking quite loud about its rating on tripadvisor as while we walked as man sitting at a table told us the food was really good.

It was really nice; they brought us out a gazpacho soup and bread for a starter (which we didn’t order). I had sea bass, it was really good and it was nice not to have to pick it off the bones.
Not the cheapest restaurant in Ljubljana but still wasn’t that expensive.

slosanven (39)

A little bit more walking round then an early night ready for and early(ish) start for the long drive to San Marino.

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Day Three – Friday 9th June 2017

We were up, packed and out by 10am. Ready for the drive to San Marino…..


Day Seven – Tuesday 13th June 2017

We left Italy and headed back towards Slovenia.

Before going back to Ljubljana we had another monument to visit. It is within the memorial park in the town of Ilirska Bistrica. The momunment is dedicated to the fighters of the 4th Yugoslavian Army who liberated this area during WWII.

Monument on Freedom Hill - Ilirska Bistrica - 360°

Monument on Freedom Hill - Ilirska Bistrica

Monument on Freedom Hill - Ilirska Bistrica

Monument on Freedom Hill - Ilirska Bistrica

Monument on Freedom Hill - Ilirska Bistrica

Monument on Freedom Hill #slovenia #concrete #monument #spomenik

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Monument on Freedom Hill #spomenik #monument #concrete #hot #cube #slovenia

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M3A3 "Stuart" Light Tank - Ilirska Bistrica

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The sweat was pouring off us, it was so hot and muggy.

Peckish; we bought some random cheese bread from a bakery. It was a actually pretty good.

Our last apartment was at a different side of the Ljublana. It was fairly easy to find.

The apartment man never replied to Keiths messages.

We knocked on door but no answer. Keith phoned him and he came out. Apartment was really nice, though it had no curtains!!! We would have to improvise!

The apartment owner offered us bikes but we decided to walk into the city. It was so hot, about 32°C and it was 7pm. We walked through Tivoli Park.

The only place we hadn’t already checked out was the castle so that’s where we headed.

Some Chinese tourists were having a disagreement with the funicular railway ticket office staff when we arrived, they were really loud and annoying, we had to share the railway carriage with them.

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Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana castle

The view from the castle was really good.

View from Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana! #hot #sweaty #view #city #ljubljana #slovenia

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Funicular timelapse #ljubljana #slovenia #funicular

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The restaurant we ate at on the first night where we had to sit under the patio heaters now had water mist showering the customers because it was so hot! What a difference.

Our restaurant overlooked the river. We got small pizzas which were large!

Keith Pizza

There was a sign in the street warning of rain. What? Then we looked up and saw sprinklers hanging from a wire. I walked under it, refreshing!

weather

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Day Eight – Wednesday 14th June 2017

Earlier in the week The Libertines announced a tour of sea side towns in the UK, one been Lowestoft, on my doorstep. Pre-release tickets were being release today. Randomly there was a laptop in the apartment. I fired it up and tried for tickets, I got through straight away and ordered 4 tickets. The other 3 were in the UK and couldn’t even get on the website!! I was happy.

We checked out at 11am and drove to a shopping mall. We ate fish and chips in the Spar café!
The mall wasn’t great nothing that really took our fancy but we both managed to buy stuff in C&A.

It was time to head to the airport and return the car.

I had to have my case searched, they thought my 2L bag of Cedevita was drugs! (its powder to mix with water to make a lemon drink).

cedivita

Back in the UK we stopped at a skanky Burger King where there were more flies buzzing around than there were chips with my meal. This meal ended the the trip the same way we’d started it a week earlier.

Until next time.


Slovenia, San Marino and Italy Road Trip – Travel Vlog

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