We left Kobarid this morning after breakfast, and we headed toward Tolmin. At the TI in Kobarid, Korika Tolminska (Tolmin Gorge) was suggested as a great place to stop. And it was a great suggestion. It only took about 45 minutes to hike through, but it was jam packed with gorgeous scenery (pun intended) and definitely made up for the fact that Vintgar Gorge was closed. (In fact, the woman at the TI said it’s better than Vintgar. I’m happy to agree, having no basis for comparison.)

From there we headed to Škocjanske jame (Škocjan Caves). In Slovenia there is a debate about whether Postojna or Škocjan is the better cave system to visit. We opted for Škocjan because it’s supposed to be less touristy. But despite the stunning and impressively large underground passages and chambers, it was far too touristy for our taste.

We decided to stop in Piran on the way to Rovinj, and I’m glad we did. It’s a charming seaside resort town. Unlike Potoroz, which we drove through after leaving Piran, it has retained its old-world charm while still offering all the gelato stands and bars and cafes and restaurants you could want.
Continue reading “Did I mention the sunset?”

It’s a struggle to identify a unifying theme of the day today. Ups and downs, as well as lefts and rights, probably is the best I can do. We made a wrong turn trying to get to the Plečnik cemetery, we got completely lost looking for the old town and the beekeeping museum in the small town of Radovljica, we went up and down over Vršič Pass, including making 50 hairpin turns, and we arrived in Kobarid after a day of overcast skies finally turned rainy, attempting to dampen our mood as well as everything else. But the ups of a day filled with glorious scenery, the steep climb through the mountains, the finally found and surprisingly enjoyable Museum of Apiculture, and the anticipation of a better weather day tomorrow win the theme wars.
Continue reading “Going up (and down)”

My circadian rhythms must have been all akimbo, because I simply could not sleep for most of the night last night.  After I finished yesterday’s post, I quickly conked out. When I woke up, I was wide awake, but it was still dark.  It turned out it was 12:30. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t fall back to sleep until 5:00, and then I only slept for another hour. I am hoping I will do better tonight. I tried to avoid napping this afternoon, but couldn’t help it, and I slept for a couple of hours before dinner.  I’m still very tired, but I’ll try to recount the day’s adventures.
Continue reading “Jože Plečnik and Friends”

If I remembered how awful it is to sit in an airplane for 9+ hours, I would start having second thoughts about my love of travel.

But here I am in Ljubljana, seeing the stuff I’ve been looking at pictures of, only it’s real! And it’s charming.

The flight from Seattle to London was long. And it felt long. Here’s how long it felt: I watched The Wolf of Wall Street, stopping several times for naps, and that movie is really really long.  And then I still had time to watch Frozen before we landed.
Continue reading “A flavor of Ljubljana”

i’m ready.

There are still two hours before I leave for the airport, but I’m all packed and ready to go.

The big pile has been squeezed into my Rick Steves convertible carry-on and my souvenir bag from being a Jeopardy! contestant.  Combined weight is 28 pounds, which is more than I’d like to be carrying, but except for my Surface, which I will use for my daily blogging, or a shirt or two that won’t really have a significant effect on the weight, it’s all stuff I am sure I will need.
Continue reading “Packed”

Hard to believe, but it’s just one week until I leave on my trip.

I started packing last night.  Well, not really.

I made a pile on my floor of some stuff that’s coming with me (including some stuff that most likely won’t make the final cut when I actually do start packing).  The pile will grow over the course of the next week, but I won’t actually start packing anything until next Friday night or Saturday morning.  My flight isn’t until 1:50, so I won’t have to rush out of the house first thing.
Continue reading “One Week Out”

I love shopping on vacation.

It’s not about buying souvenirs.  In fact it’s not necessarily about buying anything (though I often do spend my American dollars abroad).  Shopping on vacation is about seeing how locals shop, and how the things they buy and the way they buy them are similar to or different from how we do it here.

I should add that shopping on vacation is not necessarily about being out of the USA.  I love visiting shops and markets in other cities. Going to Fred Meyer in Soldotna Alaska, for instance.

The best vacation shopping is outdoor markets. A good market will have everything from fruits and vegetables to meat, fish, and dairy to flowers to arts and crafts to tacky souvenirs. If I’m lucky, or if I plan carefully, I can visit markets on my travels. So here’s what I have found.
Continue reading “Markets”

There’s only one artist from the countries I’ll be visiting that I’ve ever heard of: Ivan Meštrović. But I only just figured out why I’ve heard of him. For a while Meštrović taught at Syracuse University, where I (much later) went to college. And a number of his sculptures are displayed on the SU campus. The one I remember most vividly is this bronze sculpture of Job from 1946.

Meštrović lived from 1883 until 1962. Some of his famous monuments are in places I’ll be visiting.
Continue reading “Balkan Arts”