I had forgotten I had been to Slovenia until having a good look at the map.
A few years ago I had flown into Trieste, across the border in Italy. There I waited for an afternoon drinking coffee, before taking a coach across the border into Slovenia, followed by a local bus to the small seaside town of Portaroz.
Weighed down by sailing kit, in the early hours of the morning, I found myself in a large marina with no idea how to identify the boat I was joining for a last minute delivery to Istanbul.
Help appeared out of the darkness in the form of two regular locals plying their nocturnal trade. Towering above in six inch heels and speaking perfect English; they knew where the boat I was looking for was. Only three berths down from their regular customer. Meetings with the world’s oldest profession at 3am are usually much harder to explain.
As is often the case with boats, paperwork politics was standing in the way of departure.
I spent the next couple of days with other skippers drinking Union, before slipping lines for Istanbul. What we should have done is walked the few kilometres to beautiful Piran just around the corner. But, as is the way of sailing, those involved had failed to navigate successfully beyond the nearest beer tap.
This time round…
Equipped at the airport with a very yellow hire car, my partner and I had a few days to try and get to grips with a country the size of Wales. Starting with the capital Ljubljana.
Hosted by an Air B&B promising an evening meal of Slovenian dishes, we were treated to far more than we could manage, accompanied by several home made alcoholic drinks. You can see Maya and Sayed’s place here. It’s our best Air B&B stay to date.
The following morning we walked up to the castle to work off something of the previous evening’s indulgence, before taking the feninclular railway back down again, and having a look around town.
The city was apparently planned around a star shape, which you can see from the top of the castle…
For lunch, we conveniently stumbled upon the burger and beer festival…
We found our ridiculous transport (complete with go fast stripe and spoiler, cheers Europcar) and headed for Piran. This time I was determined to spend an evening taking it in.
The architecture is venetian and the food noticeably lighter than inland, or at least it seemed it.
…before driving after dinner through the dark into the Adria Alps. Arriving late and leaving early, our overnight pit stop in a mountain lodge was just that. Early in the season, but with perfect weather for it, we hit the Cherry Blossom Trail early, finding we had it pretty much to ourselves…
…having developed a thirst for alpine scenery, we headed higher up into the Julian Alps for the final couple of days..
….where we walked around Lake Bohinj, the ubiquitous touristy Bled, and took a cable car a few thousand feet up to the ski resort of Vogel.
On each of our last two nights we found ourselves in deserted alpine lodges, complete with sauna, steam room, and everything needed to relax after a day’s walking. Due to it being low season, both offered incredibly good value and limitless supplies of clear alpine air. An absolute steal at less than £50 per night!
Slovenia in April is perhaps the best value short trip I have ever taken. It’s reasonably priced, the weather is perfect for some great walking, and there’s hardly anyone else there. Worth investigating.