Friday, May 31, 2019

Part Two of Europe: Slovenia

Hi fellow adventurers and travelers,

I realize this is well past the 72 hours I said in my previous entry.  Better late than never though, right?  Without further ado, Slovenia.  Our first stop: the capital, Ljubljana.

This town was all lightly colored pastels, ornate architecture, an old castle set high on a hill, inviting cafes, a slightly moody and dark (ish) undertone to the city.  All while the actual appearance was eye catching and bright.

In our first afternoon of wandering the city, the day chilly and gray, we stumbled on one of the restaurants we had put on our "must eat at" list for Ljubljana.  The name of which, Julija.  We walked inside to inquire about getting a reservation for later on that night.  To no avail, they were booked solid. 

However, they had free tables right then.  Did we want one?  We looked at each other and decided, snap decision, yes.  We would eat way early in order to sample their food, which we had read was top notch.

Maxx had the cheese dumplings, in a mushroom sauce.  I had the grilled sea bass with truffles and mashed potatoes.

The interior of the restaurant was gorgeous.  Cozy, exuding warmth, in shades of blue and cream.  Painted tiles, all unique and individual, lined the back wall.  I loved it.  Would absolutely eat here again.

Then, we wandered back out into the drizzly day and found ourselves heading uphill, toward the worn castle.  Initially, we walked a cobbled, quiet, seeming residential pathway, upward.  However, I noticed a fork in the road which led off into a quiet, far less populated, shrouded wood.

"Let's go this way!"  I exclaimed.

"But...that doesn't seem like the main path.  No one else is really going that way."

"Let's just check it out.  It's a path (I pointed).  If it's weird or not really a pathway, we can just turn back," I smiled at him.

And so, we walked through the woods together which, sure enough, led to the castle.  The views were great of the city below.  The mountains beyond, enigmatic silhouettes.

This is Wallace.  We noticed him, seeming to limp slightly, as he made his way around the grounds.  Maxx mentioned to me, speculating, that maybe he is like the birds at the Tower of London, of which they clip their wings so unable to fly away.  It appeared Wallace might be suffering from the same fate, as he didn't fly when it seemed other birds might have (for example, when people moved quite close to him). 

We watched him for several minutes, tracking where he went, both our hearts filled with empathy for him.  Discussing our disagreement with the practice of clipping their wings to contain them, how sad this was.

This was a neat bridge, dubbed, not surprisingly, the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana.  The statues of the dragons were fearsome, compelling, and way cool.

Then, we made our way to Lolita's.  A cafe I had read about and was dying to check out.  We hunkered down and stayed there for a solid 1.5 hour, enjoying a miniature cake each, people watching, relaxing, and chatting. 

The atmosphere and decor was quite cool.  Kind of seductive, colorful, whimsical, and candy dreams esque.  The cakes here, as you can see, are gorgeous, exquisite, and taste as good as they look.

Maxx and I watched several women come in, dressed to the nines and heavily made up, as well as an elderly man sitting in the corner and reading his newspaper intently, and then what appeared to be a few romantic couples come in and dine as well.

We had a chocolate mousse cake with mango puree in the middle, and a black forest mousse cake.  Plus, we both enjoyed a delicious tea.  Then, we headed back out into the gray, drizzly, chilly day to explore the city further.

Later on that evening, Maxx and I stumbled upon, by accident, a place I had read of online prior to our trip and remarked very much wanting to check out, Cajna Hisa.  They have on offering, over 100 types of tea.  As well as, a supposedly excellent breakfast.  Despite it being evening so without opportunity to try the breakfast, we decided to sit and sample a tea.  I was thrilled we had happened upon it.

See the photo above, which was Maxx's tea.  Way cool.  Cardamom pods, rose petals, and a plethora of other spices made up his tea, which smelled like Christmas morning, or winter nights curled up alongside a roaring fire, or cinnamon and spice, or coziness at it's utmost.  He said it was stellar, really tasty.

Lastly, we walked through the city further, in the direction of one more food locale which we were eager to sample.  The name of this restaurant: Most.  The picture below does not capture how yummy it was.  While the photo is underwhelming, if in Ljubljana, this spot is a must eat at.

The atmosphere inside is awesome.  I loved it.  Rustic, totally cozy and inviting, all wood accents, it was romantic, intimate, and oozed warmth. 

We had prosciutto wrapped goat cheese, with figs and a red wine sauce.  And then buckwheat dumplings with a shrimp, tomato, and piccorino sauce/topping.  Absolutely scrumptious, though the prosciutto with goat cheese was the standout dish, we both agreed.

This is a traditional Slovenian dessert, called Prekmurska Gibanica, which is a layered pastry of poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and quark filling (almost akin to a Greek yogurt or cheesecake like substance).  Maxx said, though decent, it was prettier than it tasted.  I had a silky, rich, decadent chocolate mousse cake.  SO good.

Then, we picked up our rental car and drove on to Lake Bled, about an hour away.  We stayed at a place called Garden Village Bled, and man, was this a unique, atmospheric, memorable place to stay. 

Rustic, trendy, airy, bright, tree houses and tents situated over a rushing river.  Birds chirruping in the background.  Everything green, intermingled with warm wood architecture.  I. Loved. This. Place.  It was glamping at its finest and most fun. 

See below for photos of their on-site restaurant, as well as the campground itself.

Here is a link to their website, if you wish to check out further details.

There are actual beds of grass on each of the dining room tables.  So cool!

Being led to our tent....

The campground was all wooden walkways.  Way neat.

Our tent was one of those two, extending out over the river.  Awesome.

And, the next few photos were the quiet neighborhood in which our campground was situated.

The photos below are the center of town, and Lake Bled itself, which is jaw dropping and totally gorgeous.  We spent a couple of hours leisurely walking around the lake together.  Stopping for photos, and even on a whim, clamoring our way up to the site of the castle (in the photo just below, the castle up on the cliff).

See below for views from the castle grounds.

And, last but not least, we were passing this spot alongside the lake, with a dock on which was affixed (as you can see below) this cheesy and random heart.  I scoffed at it, remarking to Maxx, "how silly is that?  Lame." 

Then, mere seconds later, I changed my mind and said, "you know what?  Let's take a fun photo inside the heart!"

I positioned the camera on a rock, set the timer, and ran to join Maxx, who was already waiting behind the heart.  "Silly poses, ok??"  I said. 

This was the result ;-)

Stay tuned, part three of our adventure, more Slovenia, will be posted in the next few days!!

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