Slovenia : Part 2 – Piran

It rained on us during the two hour drive from Lake Bled to our next destination – Piran, Slovenia. The weather was gloomy, but as we neared Piran, the clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the sun shone brightly. Our hearts started racing with excitement and adrenaline – a feeling I always get when arriving at a new place I’ve never seen before. We danced and sang along in the car to the “LaLa Land” movie soundtrack, to a song called, “Another Day of Sun.” Perfectly fitting. Vineyards and olive tree groves dotted the hillsides as we finally reached what would become one of my most favorite places in the world . . . Piran.

 

As we entered into the village of Piran, one could feel that this place was full of charm. Fishing boats swayed back and forth in the small harbor, tempting one to step onto one of the boats and go explore the beauty of the sea.

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We reached our beautiful accommodation, Hotel Piran, that sat perfectly next to the Adriatic Sea. A classy, sophisticated hotel, we were supremely impressed, especially by the warm, friendly faces greeting us at the front desk. Our jaws dropped when we walked into our room and saw the breathtaking view of the blue sea from our private balcony. The sea was surprisingly still as glass, and there were a few people out on kayaks and SUPs, enjoying the calm waters.

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We ate a delicious lunch on the patio of the hotel’s restaurant, soaking up the sun’s rays and being enthralled by the beauty of the sea and of this ancient village.

Piran Pez Trolls

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Then, it was time for exploring. I’m not too fond of group tours, and so, instead, we found our own way discovering Piran. Tartini Square evoked a sense of wonder within me, as I love town squares because you could spend hours just people watching and letting time slow down.

Piran

My favorite part was wandering the streets and deserted alleyways and feeling wonderfully lost. We didn’t know where we were going – no map or compass to guide us, just our feet and hearts telling us where to go.

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We climbed the stairs up to Piran’s old town walls (dating back to the 7th century) and looked in wonder at the red-tile roofs below us. It felt like we were in Croatia and Italy all at the same time. Above us stood the old bell tower, which invited me to climb its stairs. I felt giddy at the prospect of conquering any fears of heights or claustrophobic spaces, and imagined the feeling I would have if I were brave and climbed despite my fears. And so, I did it! Climbing the 147 steps to the top of the Cathedral of St. George’s bell tower was nerve wracking, as the old wooden stairs would creak with each step you took. Adrenaline kept me going and the panoramic view of Piran and of the Adriatic Sea made the daunting climb worth every step.

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Piran - view of city pano from Tower

Piran - view of city from tower 2

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I will never forget our time in Piran, a truly off the beaten path place. It stole my heart!

 

Piran Hotel - Sunset 1 PanoPiran - walking and bikes along oceanPiran - Zivljenje Coaster

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Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.

~Isabelle Eberhardt

Slovenia : Part 1 – Lake Bled

Lake Bled, Slovenia is without a doubt at the top of our ‘to-travel’ destinations! Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia, where it adjoins the town of Bled.

From the moment we entered Slovenia, we were in awe of the natural beauty as well as the Eastern European vibe – something almost otherworldly about this fantastic county existed – it was wonderful!

We arrived in Slovenia via crossing over the northernmost Italy/Slovenia border, which turned out to be somewhat of an other worldly experience – there were no immigration officials, no cameras for security. . . completely opposite from every other border we’ve traversed, especially in Europe! Nothing was in place to check any travelers from moving from one side to the other. Well, nothing but an abandoned immigration control station which looked as if it hadn’t been occupied since 1970.

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Italia/Slovenian Border Crossing (Vacant Border Station Up Ahead)

MAP - border of Italy and SloveniaThe route from the small town of Tarvisio, Italy to Rateče, Slovenia then to Lake Bled was absolutely stunning – with antiquity surrounding us, through what appeared to be an endless route of vacant properties and villages.

 

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Departing Tarvisio, Italy on the Via Vittorio Veneto Road en route to Rateče, Slovenia

 

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the border crossing and Lake Bled. Enjoy!

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The traditional Pletna boat
Lake Bled - J playing with wolf
Just a wolf pup – friendly as can be!

 

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Lake Bled and view of Bled Castle

 

 

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Lake Bled and view of Bled Castle
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The primary establishment on the island is none other than the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja), built in the 17th century
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Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja)
Ojstrica hike - Lake Bled photo collage J & L
(Before and after photos of our hike up the Osojnica trail) – it was difficult! Straight up it seemed!

 

After such a grueling hike, a much needed relaxation was in order at the lovely Triglav Hotel.

Triglav hotel Pano Restaurant
Beautiful Hotel Restaurant on Lake Bled
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Beautiful Hotel Restaurant on Lake Bled

The trains move slow in this area of Slovenia, or don’t come at all . . .

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Awaiting the slow-moving train which never came