It was my first time to travel to Europe. Initially, I was hesitant to go because (1) it’s expensive, (2) food might not suit my taste, (3) taking a lot of vacation leave credits from work might not be worth it, (4) feeling jet-lag from long flights would be too troublesome, (5) I might not be able to stand the cold weather, (6) seeing photos in the Internet would be enough, etc. Like Lady Gaga in her song “Million Reasons,” I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away, but I just needed one good one—to be convinced and say yes: I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity to experience an eye-opening adventure with my better half, Louie. 😉
Trivia: Slovenia is the only country in the world with the word LOVE.
Among Europe’s dazzling artistic and culinary diversity, our first stop was Slovenia. Compared to the likes of Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, Slovenia is rather quite unheard of. It’s not a usual choice of first time travelers. In any case, we trust Mulan Travel Service Corp. for arranging our Balkan tour with the most impressive attractions for us to be excited about. In this post, I’m sharing the top 3 places we visited in Slovenia: Bled, Ljubljana, and Postojna Cave.
3 Places We Visited in Slovenia
With its brooding castles and verdant forests, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort. It features a glassy, emerald-green lake that is perfect for boating trips. We stayed in Hotel Park (Sava Hoteli Bled) located opposite to Lake Bled, a scenic body of water surrounded by the Julian Alps.
In the morning, we walked around the lake, rode the Pletna Boat to an island, and entered a 17th century church perched on a hill overlooking the town. This pilgrimage church is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and is decorated with remains of Gothic frescos from around 1470 in the presbyterium and rich Baroque equipment. There are 99 stone steps leading up to the building. Per tradition, it is considered good luck for the groom to carry his bride up the steps on the day of their wedding before ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church.
In the afternoon, we explored Bled further and reached Bled Castle. Clinging to a rocky cliff 130 meters above Bled Lake, this medieval castle boasts magnificent views of the Bled island, the town of Bled and the wider countryside of the Gorenjska region. Here we also saw a museum collection representing the historical development of Bled, its culture, and its population. A castle printing shop below got us acquainted with traditional manual technological procedures of printing and some artistic ironworks at the castle forge.
Next, we drove to Llubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Llubljana has a unique charm that makes it worth a visit. Its most noticeable symbol perhaps would be the myriad dragon statues that dot the streets. Besides the dragons, the city is packed full of gorgeous architecture that dates for the Baroque period. It’s also known for little squares that line the Old Town.
A major attraction is Tromostovje, or the “Triple Bridge,” where three picturesque bridges span the river right next to one another. To soak in the spectacular views over the city, we took a shortcut and went up to Ljubljana Castle via a funicular. During our free time, the foodie in us made us try McDonald’s chicken and beef gyros wrapped in delicious pita-style flatbread. Yum! 🙂
3. Postojna Cave
I was most in awe of the Postojna Cave. It comprises of 21 km of passages, galleries and halls with limestone sculptures that offer a unique experience of the underground world. We rode an electric train that took us into the depth of the cave where we found a spectacular display of stalagmites and stalactites. The caves are also home to the endemic olm, the largest troglodytic amphibian in the world.
Over 37 million visitors have been to Postojna Cave and I’m sure not a single soul went home unimpressed. The natural rock formations looked truly amazing. Note that Postojna Cave has a constant temperature of 9-10 degrees Celsius and almost 100% humidity throughout the whole year, so bring appropriate clothes and footwear when you visit. 😉
All photos were taken using Fujifilm XT2 + 14mm lens.