Slovenia Part 3

Day 39: April 20, 2018

Danny’s Birthday!!! We slept in this morning and I made eggs, sausages and veggies for breakfast. The sausages here are spiced just right.

Birthday breakfast outside

We went into Illirska Bistrica, the nearest town, for groceries. We ended up going to four different places to get what we wanted. I decided I should try some antihistamines to see if it is allergies that is making me feeling so awful. When we got home Danny went for a shower and I quickly wrapped the gift of Pringles and chocolate in my scarf. Danny opened the gift and read the card I had made.

Danny’s birthday present

For a couple of days I had been telling Danny I wanted to draw his portrait. I told him the story of how in Grade 7 art class I had to draw one of my class mates and I can still recall her face when I showed it to her. She politely said, “Oh, good”. I could not draw so I imagine the image was quite shocking to her. In the art class we learned many skills about how to draw a portrait. At the end of the class we had to re-draw the same class mate and I was very impressed with how much I had improved! I wanted to see if I still had some of those skills so for Danny’s birthday I drew his portrait. It ended up looking human, but maybe not like Danny.

Marta showed up to try to get the wifi working, but it seems the signal is too weak because her neighbour and her share. She told us that we could come to her place if needed to get wifi. Before she left, she brought out some crepes filled with plum jam for us.

After she left we put our swimsuits on and walked up to the “fountain” for a dip in the water. I walked in and the water was freezing cold. A guy that we had seen ride in to town on a bike came over. He said that he comes to this pool every day and dunks himself a couple of times. After he dunked a few times. I walked in and dunked myself under. The weather had been so hot the water was refreshing. After much thinking Danny finally jumped in for a birthday dunk. I went in once more, but it felt much colder the second time. We walked up to the field and sat on a picnic table and dried off. We sat talking about our future plans of gardening and bee keeping. My skin started to burn slightly so we walked back to the house.

Out for a dip in the pool at the “fountain”

I baked some brownies for Danny’s birthday cake and Danny made pasta for supper. We sat up on the balcony on the second floor and watched the sun go down. I found a tall, red candle in a holder downstairs and stuck it in the brownies. I carried it upstairs, lit it and sang Happy Birthday. Danny drank some wine and we ended up eating the entire thing of brownies. Overall I think Danny very much enjoyed his 30th birthday.

Happy 30th Birthday
Day 40: April 21, 2018

Today we visited Piran on the coast of Slovenia. We parked and walked down to the cathedral. There was a very nice view of the Adriatic from there. We continued walking down and strolled along the water viewing a couple of sculptures along the way.

Sculptures along the waterfront in Piran

We walked to Tartini Square where there were quite a few tourists and shops.

Tartini Square

We walked along then Danny wanted to walk on the dock. He was telling a story and I guess I cut him off because I felt we shouldn’t be standing there. We both ended up getting mad at each other and stomping back to the car in silence. Again the things we fight over sound ridiculous when I write them down.

Piran was a very pretty town. The old town had narrow, steep streets to walk around, but it really didn’t take much time to see all we wanted to see.

We drove on to Strunjan Nature Reserve where I thought you could walk along a trail and learn about the salt mine. I think we started in the wrong place because the walk we did mostly talked about nature. We walked along the beach and stopped for lunch. We continued walking along the shore and came to a nude section of the beach filled with mostly older people. It felt very awkward walking through with clothes on. We walked up a narrow, steep path to get back to the main one. It led us to a view overlooking the Adriatic and then up through some orchards with grape vines and olive trees. It was incredibly hot and there was no shade along the road passed the orchards. We think it was around 30 degrees Celsius. I ended up with a bit of a sun rash on my chest and arms.

Strunjan Nature Reserve

On the way home, Danny wanted to drive to a church that we kept seeing off the highway. We drove into one town, but at the end of the town there was no church. We decided we needed to come from the south rather than the north so we drove back around to Škocjan. We continued to Matavun and found the Church of Sv. Kancijan with a bell tower. There was a better view from the highway.

Church of Sv. Kancijan

We drove back home and realized the fridge wasn’t working. We messaged Marta, but were unable to find the fuse box based on her description. Her husband ended up coming over to help. The fusebox was hidden behind a picture! He explained that using the washer and oven together blow the fuse. Before he left, he brought in some pastries filled with Nutella. We are too spoiled!

We had burgers topped with cheese and eggplant with broccoli on the side. I chatted with a friend on FaceTime for a bit and then we headed to bed.

Day 41: April 22, 2018

We slept in an hour more than we were supposed to. The no schedule is getting to us. We drove down to Pula, Croatia for the day. Danny had seen a picture of the arena in Pula in a book of off the beaten path travel destinations. In the book it compared the Pula arena to the Colosseum in Rome.

Danny thought we might need cash for the toll roads once we went into Croatia, which uses the Croatian Kuna, so we went in search of an ATM. We crossed the border and headed to Pula. We parked just up from the arena. The Pula Arena is the 6th largest amphitheatre in the world and could host 20,000 spectators in it’s glory. It was built in the 1st Century AD.

Inside Pula Arena

We walked around in the beating heat, but very much enjoyed the view.

Inside Pula Arena

Beneath the fighting ring there was a subterranean chamber for animals and gladiators. The people there didn’t look much like gladiators.

Subterranean chamber of Pula Arena

There were very few people visiting which made it feel more special than the Collosseum. You also didn’t have to line up for hours to get in. It was smaller than the Colloseum, but definitely still impressive.

Pula Arena

From there we walked into the Old Town to view some Roman structures. We saw the Temple of Augustus which was built between 2nd year BC and 14th year AD. Beside was City Hall that was built in 1296.

Temple of Augustus

We walked up the hill to the Kaštel which was built in 1630 and learned some of the history. In the 1st Century BC the Histri would have had a hill fort there. In 177 BC, the Romans took over with a military camp. Then the Venetians moved in and built the current fort in 1630.

We visited the museum inside that discussed the rise of fascism in the area and the events from WWI to the end of WWII. There were a lot of cool artifacts including uniforms, guns and items from concentration camps. We went back down to the main part of the Old Town and saw the Arch of the Sergii which was constructed between approximately 29-27 BC to commemorate three brothers of the Sergii family.

Arch of the Sergii

We walked back to the car and drove to Park Prirode Vôka. There was supposed to be a very nice viewpoint. We followed a path that said 5 min walk. We reached a viewpoint looking into the valley. It was very beautiful, but not the right one.

View into the valley in Park Prirode Vôka

We drove up a narrow and windy road. At the top was a tower and a view to the Adriatic. You could see quite far from there. There were lots of people hiking around the area.

View towards the Adriatic in Park Prirode Vôka

We drove back down and stopped at a restroom then headed back to Mereče. Danny made steak, potatoes and vegetables for supper. I called my parents and talked for a bit, but the connection wasn’t that great. We enjoyed supper and tea outside.

Day 42: April 23, 2018

We slept in then had eggs, sausages and bread for breakfast. Have I mentioned how amazing the sausages are here? Delicious! We went into town for groceries. I wanted to make a couple of salads so we ended up going to three different grocery stores to get the veggies that I wanted. There doesn’t seem to be as much variety here. We’re not sure if it’s because they are smaller stores or if they just prefer all local produce so they don’t import as much. Danny was feeling a bit dizzy so we drove home and he laid down for a bit.

I made a cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado, chickpea and feta salad. The feta here is delicious. We had part of it for lunch and I put the rest in the fridge.

We drove to our host, Marta’s, for 1:00 pm so that we could use her wifi. We arrived and she immediately asked if we wanted some soup. We sat in the garden and she brought out soup broth with some sort of dumplings. Upon research I believe they were farina dumplings. It looked not so great, but was pretty tasty. Then she brought out salad and a pan of potatoes with sausages and a tomatoey sauce. Her husband came out for a chat then went in for a nap. Marta brought out some wine telling Danny it would make him feel better. The wine was very good. We sat and chatted. Marta brought out a photo album showing her daughter’s art exhibitions. She was so proud. We went inside and had tea. Danny booked things for Croatia and I worked on our Russian visa applications.

Around 5:00 pm we thought we had over stayed our welcome so decided we should head home. First Marta’s husband showed us his studio. His artwork was inside along with some of his daughter’s. Danny showed some of his dad’s artwork from Facebook pictures. Then we met Grandma and her little dog that apparently bites. She offered coffee and Danny agreed not wanting to be impolite. She brought out cookies as well. We chatted with Marta interpreting.

They thought their son might be home so we left and met him. He works at Postljana Cave. His English was very good. Marta offered for us to come and sit, but we said we’d better get going. We think she would have fed us supper as well.

We came back happy that we had some family time, but missing our own families as well. We made our own pizza for supper and sat outside to plan the next day. Our neighbour doggy came for a visit as he does every night.

Travelling as a couple sometimes you forget you are a couple. You spend all of your time together so there’s no “excited-to-see-you” moments. You don’t hug or kiss each other good-bye or hello and at times you just think of them as the person next to you. There’s moments however where you reconnect and remember that you’re not just fellow travellers; you’re lovers too.

Day 43: April 24, 2018

We slept in again and then had a quick breakfast. We drove north two hours to Kobarid Museum. The museum gave an overview of WWI at the Isonzo Front between Italy and Austria-Hungary. There was a short documentary at the beginning and then we walked through the exhibits. There were lots of photos, uniforms and weapons. There was also a diorama of the mountain ranges showing where the troops were located. It gave a good overview so we would understand what we were going to see.

We ate lunch in the town square and watched a ticketer write parking tickets. We had salad, boiled eggs and puffed wheat crisps.

We drove on to Kolovrat Outdoor Museum. It is part of the Walk of Peace which shows different areas along the Isonzo Front. Kolovrat Ridge is where the Italian army built a third line of defence for the Isonzo Front.

View from Kolovrat Ridge

Commander and observation posts, machine-gun positions, caves and networks of trenches could be seen. The fights between Italy and Austria-Hungary along this region began in May 1915 and ended in October 1917. The Italians launched 11 failed offensives to get through the front. The 12th offensive was by the Austro-Hungarian with the German troops supporting. They succeeded and the fighting moved west into Italy. Walking around the trenches and caves was very cool. We were the only people there.

Covered trenches on Kolovrat Ridge

It’s the first time I’ve been to a WWI site and it did make you think; a battle 100 years ago still scars the landscape.

Danny walking in the trenches

We took our own path and spent about two hours climbing around. The drive home was long. I think we’ve spent too much time driving recently.

Day 44: April 25, 2018

We slept in….again. We had planned to catch the 9:00 am cable car up to Velika Planina, but decided the 10:00 am would be just as good. We had breakfast and drove north to Kamnik. In retrospect, we should have spent a couple more days in the north of Slovenia. It would have cut down on the recent long drives.

We got stuck in a bit of traffic around Ljubljana, but still made it to the cable car at 9:45 am. The cable car was packed on the way up.

At the exit of the cable car there is a chair lift to take you higher, but it was closed this early in the season. We walked the 30 minutes to the top. Along the way, we stopped and looked at a couple of herdsmen’s huts. The herdsmen don’t arrive until June so all the huts are closed up.

Hike to the top at Velika Planina

We stopped for lunch overlooking one of the settlements. There were lots of purple wildflowers and some of a muted pink.

Wildflowers of Velika Planina

We walked into the settlement and around the huts. We went up to the church, but it wasn’t open. There was a hut you could stay at up there and it looked like you could rent out some of the huts.

Herdsmens’ huts of Velika Planina

We walked back to a canteen and then through another settlement until we found the path back to the cable car. There was still some snow up there. It would have been interesting to see the area filled with herdsmen and cattle. We stopped and stretched at one of the huts near the cable car and caught the 2:00 pm ride down.

We drove into Ljubljana to go to the only Apple store in the country. We bough a SD card adapter so that we can take the pictures off Danny’s camera.

We do really love each other, but we also get really pissed off with each other sometimes. While we were in the mall, I got upset that Danny didn’t like the idea of me clothes shopping and he didn’t like that I made him sound controlling. Angrily, we grocery shopped for a couple of items. Then we got upset trying to talk about it in the mall. We drove out of the city. After driving a bit, Danny said “I love you” and I said “I love you too”. We talked through it and tried to figure out a solution. Being around someone all the time those little things do start to annoy you. I get annoyed that I can’t just do what I want. When we’re together I can’t just go shopping because Danny doesn’t want to do that. Our only solution is more alone time which doesn’t seem to be working out very well, but at least we were able to talk about it. We stopped in Illirska Bistrica for some ice cream and then went home, had supper and chilled.

Day 45: April 26, 2018

I woke up not feeling so great: runny nose and sore throat. I’m not sure if it’s still just allergies or I’m actually sick. I slept in until 9:00 am and Danny brought me breakfast in bed. We lounged in bed for awhile then did some laundry. Danny really needed a hair cut so I tried cutting it with my bikini line razor. It didn’t cut it at all. I think I just took out one chunk at the back.

Around 1:00 pm we drove into town to find a cafe for some wifi, but they don’t seem to be very popular here. We drove back to the previous town where Danny had seen a sign for wifi at a restaurant. I ordered four cheese gnocchi which was delicious and Danny had a burger stuffed with ham and cheese. The internet was good for a bit, but then stopped working.

We drove back to the ice cream shop and sat on the benches. There was free wifi so we really should have gone there first. Danny booked some things for Corfu and I FaceTimed my mommy. I managed to talk Danny into getting more ice cream then we came back home. We got back home and packed our bags. Marta came over because she couldn’t read our message about check out. We think she just likes visiting us. She brought over some bread then offered to make us breakfast tomorrow morning before we go. She also offered to take us for ice cream, but we politely declined.

Marta is not someone we will forget. She was very kind to us and made us feel very special. Nothing was overly special about her place, but it had a lot of love. Slovenia made us feel very comfortable and we were able to do some of things we love: skiing and hiking. Next is Croatia, which has become a very popular tourist destination in the last 5-10 years. We are looking forward to the coastline views and beaches.