A Travellerspoint blog


Emergency Vacation

25 July 2009

sunny 84 °F

Summer vacation is here for us...actually we decided a couple of weeks ago we needed an emergency vacation. Since we had just finished scuba class we were eager to use our certification. That's how we ended up in Croatia. Plane tickets seemed to be off the charts so we are making a road trip of it. This morning we started the 10.5 hour drive. I wanted to stop in my favorite european town, Salzburg, for some shopping and lunch.
View from Bridge in Kranj with Julian Alps.
We made it a few more hours into Slovenia to a college town called Kranj. So far we have had to pay 16 euro in tolls on the highway which is a little annoying. Hotel Creina had a room available for us and then we went out for some dinner. Not much was open so we had a jufka which is like a gyro with a tortilla and walked by the river.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:05 Archived in Slovenia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Ljubljana, Slovenia

A city full of architecture

semi-overcast 50 °F

For the first night in a hostel I slept way better than I expected. IT was cozy up in our little loft area. The only bad part is going down the hall for a shower in the morning. But the stay came with breakfast so we got the same old European breakfast before setting out for the downtown.
We saw some of the sites around the square like the statue of Preseren with his muse, Julia and the cetromerkur store. Next up was the market where we didn’t find any souveneirs but we did have lunch. I got a pizza burek which is sort of like a stuffed pizza and Curt got the minced meat patty that is like a hamburger. The market is right by the dragon bridge so the camera was whipped out and a few photos snapped. Most of the day was spent coming in and out of shops and seeing the sights along the way.
Happily at one point we ambled back by the tea house I fell in love with yesterday. I tried peach flavor today and Curt got cinnamon. It’s a great place to stop and rest for the afternoon. A trip by the library was in order which is Plecnik’s best work supposedly. He is the architect who designed most of Ljubljana. It has horse door handles! DSC01502.jpg
The Ljubljanica is the river that runs thru the center and is a beautiful place to walk and take photos.
After awhile we decided to head back to the hostel and rest up. Dinner tonight was going to be at the hostel which was okay food. Amazingly we got what we ordered because the girl that took our order seemed to have a difficult time with it. I got risotto with shrimp and Curt got curry ravioli. So there we were hanging around the bar area waiting for the cocktail party to start because supposedly from 2000 – 2030 there are cocktails for only 2.50 euro. I guess we didn’t read closely enough to find it was only one cocktail but we each got one and it was very good. It was called 5KA and had rum, sprite and Malibu rum and grenadine. A tasty way to end the trip. Of course much of the hostel stayed at the cocktail party way longer than we did.
So tomorrow we return on the train from Ljubljana to Ansbach via Munich. As it turns out Eastern Europe was not that hard to navigate and aside from a few rude people we came across was very enjoyable.

Posted by ErinDriver 21:34 Archived in Slovenia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Lake Bled to Ljubljana

Going to Jail!

overcast 50 °F

Ah, A Sunny Day!!! Finally – so we wake up at our hotel and have the breakfast downstairs. So the mission for today is to catch the bus and then hike to Vintgers Gorge. It is supposed to be a mile long walk along a gorge a short way from lake bled. But first of course I must take all new pictures of the lake, castle and swans now that the sun is shining. DSC01426.jpg
We catch the bus for the 30 min ride to the gorge at 1000 and arrive by 1030. Along the way we saw some of the hayracks that everybody is always talking about.
The gorge was pretty but chilly because barely any light is let in. The pathway is not very wide so a lot of times you are waiting on people to be able to pass. But the water is crystal clear and you can see the fish fighting to swim up stream. At the end of the hike there is a waterfall but you can’t see it very well because the bridge from the gorge is covering it. But we only had an hour and a half at the gorge before catching the bus back. This may sound like a lot of time to make it 1 mile out and back but remember I take pictures of everything these days. So at the end we had to speed walk a little to get back by 1200 and catch the bus. But we did and we made it back to town by 1230 with an appetite.
We found another pizzeria called Pizzeria Rustica. It took a little longer for the pizza today but it was slightly better. So now we are rushing again because we want to catch the 1405 bus to Ljubljana. So we get half our pizza to go and once again race back to our hotel where they are storing our bags then back to the bus station.
We end up there with 15 minutes to spare. As we get on the bus we are told we can’t take our pizza so that is a bit frustrating. But at any rate it is an easy 1.5 hour ride to Ljubljana. We found our hostel Celica, the hostel that is designed like a prison and used to be a military prison. We check in, find our cell which has a small table and cabinet downstairs and a “double bed” upstairs. It has a regular door but then a door with bars also.
We head towards the downtown and find the Cajna Hisa which is a tea shop. IT is my favorite place here so far. I get cinnamon tea and curt got a combo of blackberry and strawberry.
So dinner is a search for a place called Sokol which is supposed to have soup in a bread bowl. We are stuck on that after San Francisco. It is decorated like a Slovenian pub I guess and turns out to be a fun place to eat. I got a Radler that came in a bottle for the first time. Curt got his onion soup in a breadbowl ad gnocci and I got carbonara with noodles.
After dinner we window shopped on the way to our hostel to settle in for the evening. I traded a book and we tried to use the internet but it didn’t seem to be worth it. Goodnight from Jail!

Posted by ErinDriver 08:56 Archived in Slovenia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Lake Bled, Slovenia

photographing the lake

sunny 50 °F

On first look out the window it was again an overcast day but atleast not raining. We had breakfast downstairs and it was about the same as the Plitvice breakfast….cereal, bananas, yogurt, bread with meat and cheese.
Our first mission was to begin the 3.5 mile walk around the lake. Our hotel, Hotel Villa Bojana, is actually only about a block from the water so we got off to an easy start. At almost 0900 not many people were up yet so we had it mostly to ourselves and the dog walkers. The lake and island in the middle are just gorgeous and I snapped photos every couple of steps again. We passed the summer residence of Tito and the camp site we would have been staying at if the weather had been warmer and what looked like the finish line for crew races. About ¾ of the way around we stopped at one of the pletna boats and got a ride to the island –only 24 euro. It was a good deal for the rower because he fit us in like sardines. He worked for it though because it was about a 30 minute ride. The sound of his oars on the water was very relaxing. DSC01290.jpgDSC01350.jpg
At the island we made a beeline for the church to ring the bell and make all our wishes come true. We’ll see. We went down the stairs and back up again…I spared Curt carrying me up the steps. DSC01319.jpg
The Slovenes after they get married have to carry their bride up the 94, 98 or 99 (we heard all of them) steps to ensure they are fit for marriage. The island is great for photos again and we were pretty busy our whole 30 minutes here. After that we met up and got our ride back to the start point.DSC01323.jpg
Next mission – Lunch. I read about a cool place,where else but in Rick Steves guide so we headed there. It was called Gostilna Pri Planinca and was a pub downstairs and pizzeria upstairs. You can guess I was going to the pizzeria and we had great margarita pizzas before continuing the day.
Next was up to the castle for….more photos! It was a steep hike up and then another 14 euro to get into the castle. There was more to it than I thought with the courtyard areas overlooking the lake, a small museum, a video, a herb store and a wine shop. This was the best because team Driver got to bottle their own wine. A friendly monk helped us bottle some white wine from the region. I put the wine in the bottle from a big keg and then put the cork in. Curt sealed it in wax and put the label on. We got a certificate and our own bottle of wine for 10 euros. It was great fun.
Down the mountain we come eager for some of the cream cake that is famous here. The Panorama restaurant is the place to go so we had tea and kremna rezina. It a layer of cream and a thick layer of vanilla custard sandwiched between crispy crusts and topped with sugar. Very light and delicious. DSC01399.jpg
We were on the hunt for the beehive panels so we did a little shopping – the honey house didn’t really have one we liked but the store next door had a simple one with two wedding doves so we got that one. I liked it more than the others where a woman was getting cut in half or similar scenarios. The idea behind them is that the Slovenes would paint their panels on the beehives to help the bees find their way home. Now its mostly just a souveneir.
A nap and showers were next on the agenda and we headed back to the town without much of an appetite after our pizzas and cake. We strolled by some restaurants and walked a bit by the lake but still didn’t have much of a desire to eat. We ended up getting some chicken fried rice from the Chinese restaurant on the corner by our hotel.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:34 Archived in Slovenia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Croatia to Slovenia

depart Plitvice, arrive Lake Bled

overcast 45 °F

STILL RAINING when we wake up today around 0730. We packed up and showered before heading to breakfast. It was the same as the day before and we got some sandwiches to go also. Our bus was to pick us up at 1100 so by 1030 we checked out of the hotel (141 euro) and headed for the bus stop. The concept is that we stand out there and wait for a bus to come at 1100 that is headed to Zagreb. We buy a ticket from the bus driver and hope there is space for us. As it turns out the bus is on time and there is space but not much so I sit with a nun and curt with another woman. We were bundled up against the weather outside so the bus inside seemed stifling. We lasted the 2.5 hour ride to Zagreb bus station and found out there were no buses directly to bled – you had to stop in Ljubljana first so we headed to the train station – no one was real excited to get on another bus anyway.
Upon arriving at the train station on the crowded tram car we found the next train did not leave for Bled until 1800 and would not arrive until 2130. So disappointing but now we had 4 hours to kill in a city we didn’t much like the first time. After I pouted for awhile we left our luggage in the room with the guy (mistake cause it was 15 kuna each bag) and walked to the square for another strudel like we had the first time. After warming up, we went back to the train station to wait some more.
About 30 minutes before our train was to come we found out it was delayed by 30 minutes – JEEZ! It felt like we may never get to Slovenia. At 1900, about an hour after we were supposed to have left we finally moved away from the train station. We were continually checked, tickets, passports, customs….we spent about 30 minutes at the border of slovenia being checked again. Then once we started moving we had our ticket checked again and were told we were in 1st class. So we had to move back where we belong with the common people. At a little after 2200 we finally were dumped off in the dark, empty bus stop of Lesce Bled. I suppose I am not that good at “winging it” travel because at this point I wanted to cry. We finally realized we needed to be at the bus stop across the road and in a few short minutes a bus came to whisk us the last 4K into Bled.
Then started the hunt for a place to stay in the dark, empty streets of bled. I have to give it to Curt because he was completely calm during all of this. The first place we stopped was not open but luckily only the second place we went had a one room left. This is what he told Curt anyway but when we went to check in he asked us if we wanted a room with one large bed or separate beds?????
Anyway our worst travel day so far had come to a lucky end. The room was reasonable at 90 euro a night including breakfast. We are finally in Lake Bled!DSC01279.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 07:56 Archived in Slovenia Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

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