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Report 2033: Alpine Journey 2012

By SL Jones from Illinois USA, Fall 2012

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Page 5 of 10: Slovenian Lakes & Ljubljana

photo by L J

Ljubljana

We headed for Slovenia, again no reservations, but with a tentative plan. I tried to stay a step ahead with Booking.com - the app on my iPad was fabulous. There was a complication at the border - the long tunnel to Slovenia was partially closed for construction. Big delay, as we waited for our turn to proceed as one way traffic. And another highway pass to buy for Slovenia. No complaint - I prefer these to tollbooths!

You just had to go to Lake Bled, the leading postcard imagine in Slovenia. It was lovely and indeed it looked exactly like a postcard! Sadly, that was about it. The town of Bled itself was rather soulless. We were lucky to stay in a quiet hamlet south of town, in a pleasant B&B - Pansion Pr Matjon (see my review) It had quick access to a good restaurant in a neighboring hamlet. We walked around the lake and admired the views of island church, castle and snow-capped mountains. We drove to nearby Lake Bohinj and back, taking a loop route that included some beautiful meadows and scenery. It was very nice but one day was enough. I think that if we had been into hiking, we might have felt differently. This place is on everyone's Slovenian itinerary, deservedly so, but we were ready to move on.

Next came Ljubljana. What a jewel of a small city. We chose to stay at the upscale Grand Hotel Union because of its location and its secure parking for the car. Great choice and a good value. (See my review) We arrived on a Friday, an outdoor market in full swing on a beautiful day. The whole weekend was great. We were surprised how uncrowded it was, especially in the evening. And there is a wealth of cafe tables along the river. We loved the abundant art nouveau architecture, and we visited the Plecnik museum (the home of well known local architect). The only disappointment was the castle. There simply wasn't much there. I was so unimpressed that I didn't even use my camera!

We ate very well, and like the rest of Slovenia it was a mixture of Italian, Slavic and Austrian. The people are friendly and relaxed. English is truly spoken everywhere. It is very clean and user friendly. In general, the prices are very reasonable (compared to Austria certainly). The central old area is much smaller than we thought it would be, and everything is accessible on foot. Some of the older streets almost have a small town feel. Slovenia seems less "prettified" than Austria, and that's OK. We were in Ljubljana for three full days, perhaps a little long, but we enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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