When we planned this trip, all we knew was that we wanted to spend a couple weeks in Italy, then travel west to Vinkovci, Croatia, where Jim's grandfather was born. We didn't even realize that there's this whole other country, Slovenia, in between the two.
We had knowledgeable help with our basic plans from our travel agent, Liz, of Dolphin Travel in Fort Lauderdale. I've known Liz many years thru membership in Women's Executive Club. She arranged for our Eurail pass and she recommended the 2 country, 10 travel days, pass. But, uh-oh, we're actually traveling thru 3 countries. That's ok, she said because Slovenia/Croatia count as one! And, she said, I think you should stop in Ljubljana, it's the Capitol of Slovenia and there's lots to see.
Thank you Liz! You were so right.
Although Liz made all our basic arrangements, flights, rail pass, and hotels upon arrival and departure, we left all the details in between wide open. Jim mostly used trip advisor and booking.com to find places to stay. In Ljubljana, he found our first "apartment." How great! It had a bed, couch, desk, bathroom/shower, a kitchenette, and even a washing machine so we could do our laundry. All this for 40 euros-about $50/night. And it was 1/2 block from the river and the old town, less than a mile from the bus/train station. It wasn't pretty or charming and it didn't have a view, but it was clean and functional. And it had free Wi-Fi that was pretty good - 2Mbps down, 1 up. Jim originally booked two nights, but we added a third when we found we enjoyed Ljubljana so much.
We traveled to Ljubljana by bus from Trieste. Using google maps to guide us, it was a beautiful walk from the bus station, along the river, to our apartment. We arrived about 5pm and immediately made arrangements to take the river cruise.
One of the sights that were pointed out to us were the glasses encased woken boxes that sprouted in several places on the grassy slopes of the riverbank. These boxes hold books. It's a lending library on the honor system. Take one, leave one. Read lots. Ljubljana is a UNESCO City of Literature. How cool is that.
We also saw these lending libraries during our walk thru the beautiful Tivoli park. I'd love to come back sometime, just hang out, and read books!
Slovenia is a Slavic country. The language sounds so very different from Italian - so close in geography. I could imaging being able to learn Italian, given enough time. Slovenian - no way. The only word I learned was Thank You = Hvala and it is pronounced more like kevala. Luckily most people we met spoke some English. Not much though, and there were many - even in the restaurants - who spoke no English. This is well off the American tourist path. We used our Google translate app a lot. We even downloaded the Slovenian language so we could use it offline.
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