Winter is the Best Season

I love a lot of things about my home of Slovenia, but winter is probably my favorite thing about living here. I could never live somewhere that did not have a real winter, I would miss the snow too much and what it represents to me. It is my favorite time of year for one thing; I love the holidays and the way snow makes everything so beautiful. For another, there is so much to do.

We are blessed to live in such beautiful country any time of year, but the snow makes it look incredible. Straight out of a postcard or a storybook. If you don’t believe me, visit Lake Bled after a snowfall. Between the glass-like lake, the snowy mountains, and the church on its little island, you will think you are in a perfect painting. I have never seen anything to top that amazing sight.

Ljubljana in winter is lovely. There are so many holiday lights visible and they add an air of magic to the colder weather. Winter markets are the best for finding just about anything! These holiday markets make shopping for loved ones easy. It is also a great place to get mulled wine, one of my seasonal favorite drinks. It can really take the sting out of a cold day! I love to get some mulled wine and just sit near the river to people-watch.

We also love nativity scenes, and you can see those in a multitude of places. Even in the Postojna caves!

If you love to ski, as I do, Slovenia is a paradise full of slopes. There are many ski resorts and there are many options when it comes to trails. You can find everything from bunny slopes to kid-appropriate to advanced trails as well as everything in between. And we make it easy by offering a SkiPass ticket, which opens up your access to all the resorts! I recommend Cerkno or Kranjska Gora. Some of our mountains maintain snow cover until June!

If you find yourself at a ski resort but don’t much feel like strapping in and heading down a slope, you are still very fortunate. Lucky for you, most of the resorts are near towns—nothing out in the middle of nowhere here—so if you don’t like to ski but want to enjoy the beautiful scenery while you stroll through town as your friends are enjoying the slopes, that is also an option. There is also a lot of winter hiking, snowboarding, sledding, skating, and snowshoeing options if skiing is not your thing. Spa resorts are another great place to stay in the winter months! They are less crowded and so you can get better rates, always a good benefit in my book.

So if you like to be surrounded by beautiful scenery, love to shop, or are physically active in the summer, plan a visit to Slovenia. Maybe we can sit down with some mulled wine together!

A Visit to Ljubljana Castle

There are many castles in Slovenia but the most popular is the City castle in Ljubljana. It is a beautiful place to visit for tourists and those of us who live here. It is worth the visit just to see the view, since it is located at the heart of the city. You can walk there if you want to or you can take the funicular up to the top. While the outside of the castle shows a bit of its age, the inside of the castle has been renovated. Inside you find many things to look at. There are modern galleries, exhibits, a restaurant, a gift shop, and a café. It is also a cultural arts venue!

It is not a far walk if you are in the city but there is also a funicular that will take you up. They think the castle was originally built in the 1160s. But it was mostly torn down and rebuilt in the 15th century with towers and a wall – it needed more protection against enemies like the Ottomans. At several points, it was a military barracks and sometimes a prison. Oddly, the mayor had the city buy the castle in 1905 and wanted it turned into a city museum. Instead, it ended up becoming a home for the poor for over 50 years before renovations transformed the castle into a beautiful location for cultural events and as a tourist destination.

There are beautiful gardens. There is a nature trail starting over by the University Botanic Gardens that leads you to the castle, and you can walk it as part of a guided tour. Speaking of tours, they have them every day. This makes it easy for people to plan a visit. You can also do an audio guide. There is even an app. One tour is known as the Time Machine and you can experience life as it would have been during different times at the castle, including period costumes on characters to help you understand.  I liked it very much, especially the actors who played the king and queen.

There was a history of Slovenia exhibit and I did skip that one. There was also a puppet museum. We did not stay to see it but there was a performance later in the day for those who are interested. You can also watch a movie about the castle’s history, but we liked the tour better. It had a lot of the same information. We checked out the jail and the National Geographic exhibit, which was also very good. The signs were a little hard to find and follow but my friend and I managed OK. Sometimes there is music, too. There is a castle jazz club. We got to hear them perform and thought they sounded wonderful. The best place to go is the tower, though. You get a beautiful view of the area – even the Alps in the distance. It is very romantic to watch the sunset there.

Some people might find it a little too modern and not enough like a “real” castle, but we have several other castles in the city to visit!

Perfect Day at the Marketplace

We had lovely weather today and my friends and I did not know what to do with ourselves. It was too nice to be indoors but we didn’t have a lot of motivation to do anything productive like a hike or something like that.

Then we realized we were all looking to buy little things, a hat, some vegetables for a meal to impress a date (that one was not me, hahaha), a pair of pants, and some flowers. I was quite hungry, so all I wanted to get was something to eat. I did not care where we went!

As I said earlier, the weather was really nice so there were a lot of people at the market. Everyone seemed to have the same idea we did but that was Ok with us. It was still easy enough to walk around so the crowds were not a bother. We wandered around for a bit and looked for the things we needed. I became more and more hungry the longer we were out and the amount of walking we did certainly increased my appetite!

My friend looking for food was able to purchase the vegetables she needed for her salad and also got some fresh bread and pastry for dessert. She was very pleased and I am sure that her date is going to love it all. She is a nice person so I really hope the dinner date goes well, it is a big step that she is cooking for him!

We located the hat and the pants after some looking, but I think that is just because they were being picky. There was plenty of stuff that I thought was great, and I was very tempted to buy something for myself. I refrained only because it is still two days until payday and I wanted to be sure I had enough to get food.

By that time one of my friends was complaining her feet hurt so we finally decided to get something to eat. We got something to eat and then sat down for a bit. We talked, ate, and watched the crowds go by. Once we finished our meal, we headed back to buy the flowers. It was a gift for a friend’s mother, he said that she has not been feeling well and wanted some flowers to cheer her up. That made me happy to hear.

It was so nice to spend time with friends today even if they were all essentially running errands. I am glad that we went to the market to get all of that done so that we could be together for a bit. Everyone felt very accomplished (even me, because I felt very full) and as if we had used this nice day to our advantage quite nicely.

Now it is time for me to sit back and relax and put my feet up for a bit. I am tired from all that food and walking, but I just had to stop in and let everyone know about my lovely day!