We were guided by flight costs, which during summer are sky high. Anyhoo, we decided some time in Italy would be pretty darn nice, mainly because I found a cheap flight to Milan via Istanbul. After a few changes, a bit more research and chatting to an Italian friend I thought I had everything set. We'd even throw in a few days in Paris and Amsterdam at either end - busy, but exciting.
Then I discovered super cheap flights with Air Serbia and suddenly Croatia and Slovenia came into the picture as we said goodbye to Paris and Amsterdam. I'd heard lots of great things about Croatia, especially the Adriatic coast, but the coast of Croatia wasn't really on the way from Belgrade to Italy. Then I discovered this little tiny country called Slovenia. My mum had been and said it was lovely. Another good friend had said the same thing.
So after a little research I booked in two nights on the way to Italy in Piran. We were floored at how lovely and relaxed and wonderful this little seaside town was. Pure magic. How could Italy compare after this little gem?
Then after we left our wonderful Tuscan abode, we drove to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Again we were blown away at just how lovely this city is. It's a small capital city with a population of around just 250,000 people. The centre of the city is all pedestrian access only so it's super easy to meander around the picturesque streets, and picturesque they are. Every corner of this city is pretty, there's not one grimy, yucky, grungy part. Every corner you turn is another postcard view. Best of all it's so relaxed. Everyone just meanders and stops for a coffee or a beer or a plate of something. The most laid-back capital I've ever been to.
We spent the few days we had here doing exactly that. Stopping for Slovene sausage or a plate of calamari. Wandering along the river soaking in the pretty. Then stopping again for a coffee. We took a boat ride up the river and felt the chilly summer air on our faces - "It's like winter in Dubai," Lil-lil said.
Skip declared that it was the most beautiful city he'd been to and I had to agree.
The thing I don't understand is how no-one seems to know just how nice this place is. Slovenia is definitely the secret gem of Europe and I'm so happy we got to discover it. We're hoping to get back again soon and discover the northern parts of the country.
Our last morning in Ljubljana the rain poured down and dampened my plans of taking the kids to play outside in the park for the last time for the next few months, the scorching Dubai weather making park play impossible. Instead we packed up the car, sad to be ending our Summer Europe adventure. Before it ended though we had to drive across Slovenia, Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia to catch our midnight flight home. It was my birthday so not too much celebrating, but the previous two weeks made up for it.
We're now back in sweaty old Dubai. Stinking hot and humid and set to hit 48 by the week's end. So for now, I'll look at these lovely picture and remember that cool summer breeze.
|All the pretty and all the colours!|
|The gorgeous centre of Ljubljana.|
|On the river!|
|The pedestrian-only streets make everywhere a top place to play.|
|What you find on your phone after a five-hour drive.|