I needed a vacation, a pause from this place where I live.
In the last few years I’ve travelled quite a lot – I mean, not enough, but I’m not sure whether I could ever say ‘I’ve travelled enough, let’s stay home’.
Yet, after my 40-day-trip last year (I may talk about it in another post) I hadn’t left Tuscany anymore, I had stayed here, in the small village where I was born and raised, for 14 months. 14 MONTHS!
So, I totally needed to move, to travel, to wander again.
Life circumstances (and my will) have led me to Slovenia, a border country to Italy which I had never visited before.
I have wondered about how to bring you my Slovenian experience, what could be the best way to share it.
And I’ve decided to mix photos and words in a 13-best-things-to-see/do list, kind of… my own personal and special one :)
So, here you are:
1. A Slovenian (vegetarian) wedding
On my first day in Slovenia I attended a wedding. Weird, right? :)
I was the only foreigner and during the ceremonies I couldn’t understand a word, but it was enjoyable anyway.
I was a silent observer, could see things from the outside. Interesting experience.
Yet everything changed when alcohol became part of the party: everyone was more relaxed and I got to meet very interesting people, first and foremost groom and bride. I danced and ate delicious vegetarian food.
All food was vegetarian, can you imagine? Never, never had it happened to me to be at a party/ceremony where everything was vegetarian!
I loved the whole experience, no matter the heavy rain and the cold.
2. Facing fears in Kamniška Bistrica’s spring
I’m not used anymore to do scary, or better challenging activities. I don’t know when I stopped doing them, I only know that I loved it and now I fear it, a lot.
But when you’re with the right people everything becomes easier, above all if they are sure you can do it and know how to lovingly push you.
So, on that late June morning when we went to Kamniška Bistrica’s spring (river Kamnik’s spring) I had to face some of my fears – of falling, of slipping, of getting dirty and wild, of doing out-of-the-ordinary things.
We moved from a wet rock to the other, under a light rain, we had our feet soaked in water and our eyes full of beauty. Hearts and souls were jumping in happiness.
I don’t want to deny this fullness to myself anymore.
3. Playing with the fairies in Brezovica
Into the woods, nature sounds, deep conversations.
Then the grassy clear, which one can enter through a tree arch.
Magic-full place, in space and time and out of space and time.
Almost solid magic all around and within. And love.
4. Living the dream at Slap Peričnik
Slap = waterfall.
I’m always amazed by the power and strenght of water, above all when talking about waterfalls.
As a witchy wild woman, I revere our sister Water.
As a forever-child, I get full of enthusiasm and playfulness.
Up up the stairs, legs burning, out of breath – and then into the rock behind the waterfall.
I had dreamt of walking behind a waterfall since the first time I watched Disney’s Robin Hood: do you remember that romantic moment when Robin and Lady Marian, surrounded by fireflies (and love) walk past the waterfall and behind it?
I’ve finally fulfilled one of my childhood dreams.
5. Walking on an unfinished bridge in Jezero Jasna
I was talking before about my fears and the fact that I rarely do any challenging activities anymore and that with the right people it becomes easier to go back to them.
Well, walking on an unfinished bridge in lake Jasna was one of this kind of things I did during my stay in Slovenia.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even allowed to walk on it!
Every step I took was a way to practice concentration (Dharana, in yoga): if I wasn’t focused enough I could fall into the lake, where the water was icy.
You know what? I enjoyed it, a lot.
6. Meeting cows on the way to Vršič pass
On our way to Vršič pass we had an interesting encounter.
First we saw two cows on the side of the road and we were like “Haha, look!”
Then one in the middle of the street and we were like “Woo!”
Then a lot of them, cows and calves, that didn’t want us to pass them and we were like “Wow! Haha! Incredible!” :)
7. SUP filming in Velika Korita
Velika Korita doesn’t even seem real for its beauty is heavenly. No word can really describe it but “green”, “icy water”, “heaven” could give you an idea.
Bathing suit on, rapid water dipping, SUP filming. All of this in heaven. Could I’ve asked for more?
8. Going to Italy to go back to Kamnik
I guess you already know, but if you don’t let me tell you that Slovenia is a very small country. One can go from the Alps to the seaside in a very short time. And in a very short time one could also go to Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary, its border countries.
So, we were in the Western part of Slovenia and my buddy said “Let’s go through Italy to go back home, it’s the fastest way“. I was so surprised, and amazed, and amused!
Italy is not the biggest country in the world but it’s still pretty big compared to Slovenia. I’m not used to be able to go from one country to another so quickly, so you can imagine my amazement when he said so. Fun times!
9. Feeling like a princess in Blejski Grad (Bled)
Bled lake and castle are pretty touristic and we didn’t plan to go, but then we did and I’m glad we went for it.
The view is amazing, the little island in the middle just perfect.
But what I’ve loved the most has been the castle. It’s the kind of castle that I could expect to see in France – or at least the kind of castle that in my imagination could have been a late medieval French princess’s abode. My favourite kind of castle.
And I felt and acted like a princess when I was there, moving with grace, sitting at the big window and staring at the lake in the sunset’s light… pure magic.
10. Vegan ‘breakfast’ at the Loving Hut, Ljubljana
If you are vegan or vegetarian and you happen to be in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city, you should totally try the Loving Hut.
Close to the train and the bus stations, all food is vegan. And veeery tasty.
It’s not a place where I could go for every meal, as food is pretty oily, but it’s definitely a must try!
11. “Diversity matters!”, exhibition in Postojna
While passing through Postojna we saw there was something in the main square. We could not not stop.
We had the chance to see the mobile exhibition “Diversity matters!“, made by Natural history Museum Rijeka (Croatia), that was hosted by Notranjska museum Postojna on June 20th-30th.
What an interesting exhibition!
Biodiversity, sea life, human responsibility, but also human chance to do the right thing.
The timing was perfect as we were talking about environmentalism only the day before!
If you have the chance to see it somewhere or at least read about it, go for it.
12. Playing the little explorers in Škocjanske jame
Have you ever visited or seen in pictures those big big big caves where humans seem but ants?
Škocjanske jame (Škocjan caves) are one of those incredible places. Incredible, because my mind couldn’t realize it was real.
Stalactites, stalagmites, big chambers, bats, an underground river called River (Reka, in Slovenian) – just too much for an adult mind. That’s when my inner child came out, openly and strongly.
We played the little explorers, we saw a shark, the Tower of Pisa and little dogs pent in stalagmites, we wanted to touch everything (above all because the big people said we couldn’t) and we continuously emitted fascinated “Oooooh”‘s.
When we got out of the caves the wonder continued: on our path back to the car we were surrounded by nature, we saw a triple waterfall with a rainbow and felt alive.
13. Wandering in Piran’s streets
The last day of my stay in Slovenia was also the seaside day.
We went in the direction of Koper/Capodistria, stopped for a coffee in Piran/Pirano, went through Portorož/Portorose and then bathed in Lucija/Lucia.
While in Piran we also walked around the town, having the Croatian coastline on our left and the Italian one on our right. We wandered within the town, walking in narrow streets where light played with shade.
Hair, fingers and eyes played as well, in the warmth of the Slovenian afternoon.
As you know it is not possible to put into words – and pictures – an experience: there are smells, contacts, sounds, tastes and even views that cannot be described and when we do the description is just a pale picture of what the experience has actually been.
Plus, there are emotions, feelings… and also very personal and intimate experiences that shouldn’t be shared with the larger public, and sometimes not even with the closest friends because they would lose their magic.
My Slovenian experience has been so much more than what I’ve written in this post but you will surely understand me when I say that I want to preserve the magic of these memories so I’ll keep the rest for myself.
Eleonora, your #earthandsoulwanderer