Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

And so it’s here!

The last post that I’ll be writing about Slovenia.

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that my stay in Slovenia was lovely.

Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia!

If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!

Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but smashing!

And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

It was my second time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, and why is that?! Here’s what you missed:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

Myself in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do soooo many things.

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!

We didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

‘Remember how I told you about 51 things to do in Ljubljana? Well, one of those things to do was to eat. Actually, if I’m really honest, about eleven (11) of those points, were connected to food, and here’s why!

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SLOVENIA OR SLOVAKIA!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Honestly speaking, most people have never previously heard of Slovenia.

In fact, most people mix it up with Slovakia! 

Hmm!

A historical castle in Slovakia!

Isn’t Slovenia somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both, surely?

Being a British European means being widely travelled.

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Eek!

Don’t worry.

Breathe!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as a country in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South-East Europe too!

One of the best types of sausages in Austria – A most wonderful hotdog. In Vienna!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Slovenia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

And this is reflected in it’s food!

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So let’s get started:

WHAT IS SLOVENIAN FOOD?

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese from Velika Planina – which resembles a female bosom!
©Klemen Brumec

Slovenian food is defined by the diversity of Slovenia’s landscape, climate, history and neighbouring traditions, as well as it’s religions, towns and villages. And each region has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!

In fact, present-day Slovenia is heavily influenced by food from Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary!

The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food. Or even better, indulge yourself on a guided food tour so that you can get inside knowledge from local experts!

We were invited to join the Taste Ljubljana culinary tour as well as lunch, during our daytrip in Kamnik!

I even took part in a tiny TV slot for the Taste Ljubljana Culinary tour, as part of a video about tourism in Ljubljana for Slovenian commercial TV! I’m only in for about 5 seconds. See if you can find me!

And why?

Because food. Yum!

Slovenian sausages & wine, as part of our “Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.”

I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Slovenia was no exception!

The major characteristic they have in common is that they are made from locally produced ingredients.

Most ingredients used in Slovenian food would be:

  • cheese
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • sausages
  • pork
  • fish
  • vegetables
  • beans
  • grapes
  • oils
  • honey

Take a look below:

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

I could write pages and pages of what Slovenian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!

We stayed at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

In order to encourage sustainability and environmental consciousness, we stayed at a very nice hotel aptly named hotel – Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green – located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, situated in the middle of a leafy park, and mere minutes away from Metelkova City – an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms, and it was enormously comfortable.

We were on the 12th floor and had a fantastic view of Ljubljana from the window, along with a wide desk, a huge wardrobe, an en-suite bathroom, sustainable bathroom shower gel, plenty of fluffy towels, and of course, most importantly, free fast Wi-Fi!

Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

They even had a fridge but sadly, no kettle so that I could make myself a cup of tea!

The service was warm and friendly.

The variety of nationalities visiting the hotel were wonderful, ranging from a tour group of elderly ladies from France, a busload of young Americans travelling with Contiki, and a Bollywood film crew from India!

Prices are from €70.00 per night, including breakfast. For two people, easily €35.00 a pop!

Awesome!

I couldn’t make myself a cup of tea, but the views were fantastic at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

Book Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green here or here!

But OMG!

Our breakfast was awful!

Eek!

BREAKFAST:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

After the wonderful delights in both Sweden and Croatia, we were so disappointed.

We were looking forward to:

Slovenian home-made bread, butter & milk
Sadly, we got this bland piece of toast!
Although the jam was quite nice!

Sadly, what we got was a bland continental breakfast, that could have been from anywhere.  But if you’re desperate for a cup of tea….

If not, skip it!

Skip breakfast and have lunch instead!

As soon as we told the various Slovenian locals about our breakfast experience, they made it their duty to ensure that from then on, everything we ate, was some of the best, that Slovenia had to offer!

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SNACKS:

If you’re looking for traditional ingredients, you can get everything you need at a local street market!
  • For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!

Apparently, horseburgers are very popular in Slovenia!

The very famous horse burger in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

The Tall Young Gentleman was eager to try it so went to the doner and falafel restaurant that specialized in horse burgers, about 5 minutes from our hotel!

It was “quite OK,” and then he had another one! Bought at Šeherezada in Ljubljana. Cost: €4.00

A few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We had a few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese, with olives (yuk!) to start! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €3.00

You can also have:

  • Polenta with cheese
  • Ajvar with Slovenian bread
  • Bacon bread
  • Buckwheat bread or Ajdov kruh
  • Crackling bread or ocvirkovka
  • Pumpkin bread with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and whipped cream
  • Sweet rye bread or razeni kruh
  • Serbian baked beans

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LUNCH:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

We had a mass of delightful lunches, while we were in Slovenia, and the highlight in my opinion was the gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall!

There weren’t any prices on the board, but it’s Eastern-Central Europe, how bad could it be? The food was fantastic and the service attentive, so we decided to spend the rest of our money!

A delicate crispy white, cracker, a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A foamy cream sauce, with herbs in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We both had a delicate starter of a sort of crispy white, cracker, a foamy cream sauce, and a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals. It was made especially for us ‘cos of my nut allergy, so isn’t on the menu! It was delicious and light. Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.00
Venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry & spruce buds in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I had the venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry and spruce buds! It was most delightful! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €28.00
Boar, mushrooms, and grapefruit in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared a platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €10.00
I absolutely adore anything to do with water!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

A few days later we went on a daytrip to Lake Bled!

All around us were people noshing on the Original Bled Cream Cake, but we were starving, so we had a proper lunch instead!

A platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese at Lake Bled – Slovenia!
  • I had the platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese and olives. Without the olives! It was very nice and the view over Lake Bled and the Julian Alps was stunning. But the service was slow! Bought at the Hotel Park restaurant at Lake Bled. Cost: €13.90
Pasta with chicken and young spinach at Lake Bled – Slovenia!

One of the great things about being a respectable travel lifestyle expat blogger is that you get invited to many things! As a result, we were guests of Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.

Some of the things we had were:

You can’t go wrong with sausages, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Klobasa sausage – You really can’t go wrong with a traditional Slovenian sausage, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun. Yum! We were invited to a complimentary lunch via Klobasarna. Retail price: €3.50. Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!
Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears via Vodnikov Hram. Retail price €19.50. Food tour all-inclusive
Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer. They had to make something different for me ‘cos of my nut allergy, so I can’t remember what everybody else had. Sorry! It was a very nice place though, via Druga Violina. Retail price competitive! Food tour all-inclusive. With beer!
Fried chicken with garnish and remoulade sauce in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Fried chicken with garnish. Notice the remoulade sauce! It was a fancy restaurant via Restavracija Romansa 1971. Retail price: No idea! I couldn’t find the menu in English! Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!

You can also try:

  • Burek
  • Boiled beef tongue
  • Ljubljana cottage cheese pancakes with tarragon
  • Klobasa sausage and Kisod Zelje sauerkraut
  • Dandelion Salad
  • Sour turnip soup or jota

Book your hotel here!

DINNER:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

For dinner, we always strive to patronise interesting traditional-inspired restaurants. For this, we don’t scrimp, but use the opportunity to sample all that is good in Slovenian cuisine.

I have to tell you. Pretty much every evening meal that we had, was a win!

On our very first evening, we strolled around, and less than 10 minutes, we found a long narrow street with table after table outdoors. We managed to nab a table for two and opted for a lovely restaurant a few minutes away from Dragon Bridge!

I was a bit nervous, as the menu seemed to be centred on beef, and although I’m not a vegetarian or vegan for that matter, I’m not fond of beef at restaurants!

I wasn’t to worry as the meat used is free-range and grass-fed, the staff were great, and attentive, and made sure that our platters were delicate, and not in the least chewy!

And you know what?

I was astounded and most impressed!

Just look at this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this succulent piece of meat, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared the meat platter. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €12.50
A platter of pork chops in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • And then we shared a platter of pork chops with squares of creamy butter, paprika, and shallots. Yum! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €15.00
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaaazing!

A highlight of traditional Slovenian food were the meals that we had in Kamnik!

After our hiking adventure at the Velika Planina and in the valley of the Kamniska Bistrica, we had quite a large appetite for a traditional meal, and boy were we given the red carpet.

We were taken to the family-run inn & restaurant Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, where home-cooked meals are made the traditional way, and had a chat with the owner and chef – Janez Uršič – who was delighted to have us as his guest!

The food was absolutely fantastic!

Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs & spices in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Soup with a dumpling in it, garnished with petals, in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, and probably veal in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs and spices, soup with some sort of dumpling in it, garnished with vegetables and petals, and Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, bacon, probably veal (but I can’t remember), broccoli, and a creamy sauce!

We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!

You can also have:

Eating frogs – Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Frog legs
  • Palacinke – thin pancakes filled with nuts or jam and topped with chocolate
  • Potato dumplings  or njoki
  • Jota  – a meat and vegetable stew
  • Black or blood pudding
  • Klobasa sausages
Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Seasoned venison with smoked bacon and huckleberries
  • Sweet and sour boar, with prunes, chocolate and red wine
  • Zavitek or strudels
  • Goulash or golaz
  • Buckwheat porridge
  • Slovenian sour pork kidney served with vinegar, sour cream and bacon
  • Ox tail
  • Tripe served with mint, cheese and bacon
Baked potatoes with cheese, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Baked potatoes with cheese. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €1.00

Oh yeah!

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SEAFOOD:

Our seafood meal in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

I absolutely adore anything to do with water. I live in water cities, I spend time visiting places just because they have a river, and I’m weirdly drawn to river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other, to lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and seas!

And since we spent a huge amount of time on Lake Bled and Ljubljana, it seemed only prudent that we try out the seafood.

We chose our seafood meals at a restaurant on the river-side. We practically found it by accident, but once you poke in and out of the various bridges in the Old Town, you’ll find it directly below the Triple Bridge, facing the Central Market!

Fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast & a side salad in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I ordered the Seaman Plate which consisted of fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast, and a side salad. I was really looking forward to some seafood, but I didn’t really like it! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.60
Bass fillet, bacon, baked potatoes & rucola in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
We chose our seafood meals on the river-side, but neither of us really liked our meal! We probably should have ordered frog legs instead!

You can also have:

  • Seafood pasta salad
  • Crabmeat and broccoli

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DESSERT:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Dessert in Slovenia was pretty wonderful. I had to watch out here and there, ‘cos of the nut factor, but I was able to have about 75%!

If you’re on a diet, forget it, and indulge!

Štrukli wth cream, raspberries & raspberry compote in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Štrukli (I think!) with cream, raspberries & raspberry compote. OMG. So delish! We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaazing!
  • Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries. We were invited to a complimentary lunch in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
Lake Bled cream cake in Slovenia!
© 2017 Rear View Mirror
Walnut and raisin potica cake with a digestif liquor! I couldn’t eat it of course, as it had almonds in it!
  • Walnut and raisin potica cake – One of the other famous cakes in Slovenia. Of course, I couldn’t eat it, as it had almonds in it! We were introduced to ours as part of the food tour which I’ve already discussed above, via Kavarna Nebotičnik (Skyscraper) building. It was a really cool place and great for a nightcap! Retail price: €2.00 – €4.00. Food tour all-inclusive. With a digestif liquor!

You can also try:

  • Gibanica – a layer cake with cottage cheese, walnuts, poppy seeds, and apples
  • Jabolcni zavitek  – a type of apple pastry
  • Siroy zavitek  – a type of cheese and raisin pastry
  • Upside down pie
  • Blue lagoon cake or torta plava laguna filled with hazelnuts, almonds and breadcrumbs
  • Waffles
The Tall Young Gentleman & his almond-covered ice-cream in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Having a most scrumptious ice-cream at the Triple Bridge!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
The first thing we opted for at Lake Bled – Slovenia, was an ice-cream, and then we had another on the way back!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
  • Who doesn’t like ice cream?!!

I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate!

The huge portions above were bought at this really lovely place on the riverside, opposite the Central Market in Ljubljana. They were so huge that I  couldn’t finish mine, so they packed it for me in a box! Bought at – Kavarna Cacao. Cost €6.40 and €7.60 respectively.

The others were bought at little ice-cream shops in Ljubljana and at Lake Bled. Cost: About €2.00, depending on toppings! Yum!

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DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

Ice cream in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

The food culture in Slovenia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.

You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great.

So why shouldn’t you indulge?

A glass of wine taken in the Old Town, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A delicious mug of cold craft beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

Here’s a most delicious mug of cold craft beer! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €2.50

My gin cocktail in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

p.s. Don’t forget to hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks one night, and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!

Note: Taste Ljubljana Culinary Tour includes tour guidance, the tasting of five traditional dishes, the tasting of five different drinks, and a digestif. Each participant also receives a brochure containing recipes for typical Ljubljana dishes, and a small gift.

Cost: €38.00 for adults, €28.00 for children up to 12. €0.00 for children under 2!

Wow!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel!

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the marvellous food that we noshed on, are my very own!

I’ve got plans for Autumn.

Find out next week!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Have you ever had Slovenian food? Would you try a horse burger or boiled beef tongue? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

Sloooovenia!

What a pretty little country it is!

We visited Slovenia in June and it was utterly new, making the countries that I’ve visited (not that I’m counting you understand!) to be 37 countries in Europe, 12 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands! 3 countries (so far), have been new in 2017.

That makes a grand total of 64 countries and 5 continents!

I pledge to travel and to share others how to do so too!
#ExploreMore2017

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but an utter pleasure!

And the locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

And the locals in Slovenia have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful!

If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Dragons are everywhere in Slovenia!
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

  • You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina
  • You can go hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik
  • You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled. More about that in a few weeks!
  • You can go to the beach or even go wine-tasting!
  • You can get off the beaten path and discover the unknown parts of Slovenia

Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do that, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

This week, I’m going to tell you about the charming time we had in Kamnik!

KAMNIK

The Little Castle / Mali Grad in Kamnik – Slovenia
©A. Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

Kamnik, otherwise known as Stein in Oberkrain, is a town in northern Slovenia, beneath the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Kamnik was first mentioned in 1229, when it was an important trading post between Ljubljana and Celje, thus making Kamnik one of the oldest towns in Slovenia!

In the Middle Ages, Kamnik was one of the most influential centers of power for the Bavarian Counts of Andechs, and developed into a charming medieval town. Sadly, the only remnant of the Bavarian nobility are the ruins of two castles near the town center, and the Franciscan monastery!

Kamnik – Slovenia still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights in the Old Town!

Having said that, Kamnik still retains it’s rich history and many cultural sights with the Old Town still very much present in the Austro-Hungarian style, as well as it’s surrounding area, representing a starting point for the numerous outdoor activities such as hiking through the valleys, hills, and mountains around Kamnik, and the breath-taking nature of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps!

Courtesy of Ljubljana Tourism, we were invited to go on a day-trip to experience what it was like to be a craftsperson for the day, how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina, and to do a few hikes up the Alps, mountains, and waterfalls in Kamnik!

We took the local Kamnik bus in Slovenia!

We were supposed to take a local bus and make our own way to the city of Kamnik.

At first, we were a little confused as the bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! And we thought we would be meeting our guide in Ljubljana, so we spent a bit of time wandering around and wondering where our guide would be!

Once it clicked that we were to meet in Kamnik, we found many a bus going in that direction. Our ticket was just €3.10 each, and the journey took about an hour!

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Our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!

Once we got to Kamnik, our smiling guide – Matej Hribar – was there to meet us!

We shook hands and then drove through the village in his car to the next meeting point, which was to the Velika Planina cable car, and also to meet our lady cheese guide!

Unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. ‘So sorry!

Going up the Velika Planina cable car in Kamnik-Slovenia

The aerial cable car usually takes just five (5) minutes from the Kamniška Bistrica Valley at 560m, to the Velika Planina’s Šimnovec at 1419m above sea level, which we had to go up to!

Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia! With incredible views!

Even though we were in Slovenia in June, the weather was visibly cool and even rather foggy and misty, but the view was incredible!

And stupidly, for some strange reason, I opted to wear my nice orange suede shoes rather than my hiking shoes!

I mean, I knew that I was going hiking, and took my hooded jacket and rain coat, but it just didn’t occur to me to take my hiking shoes too!

I’m still smiling, even though my suede shoes were utterly ruined on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia!

Well, I paid for that, as my suede shoes were ruined and utterly soaked through!

Oops!

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WHAT IS THE VELIKA PLANINA?

A shepherd on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Aleš Fevžer – Ljubljana Tourism

The Velika Planina, otherwise known as ‘big pasture’ is an independent settlement of herders and shepherds on the Big Pasture Plateau, in the Kamnik Alps of Slovenia!

In fact, the Velika Planina is one of very few herders’ settlements of this scale, and is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

The Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia, is the largest shepherds’ settlement in Europe!

Wow!

It is distinct because of the homes which are scattered around the Velika Planina.

The wooden huts and barns on the Velika Planina, are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low!

The wooden huts and barns are single-room dwellings with oval roofs covered with pine shingles, and extended extremely low, so that space is created for livestock to be inside the huts too!

Nowadays, there are very few permanent residents in the settlement, but every June, the local herdsmen bring the cattle to the Velika Planina, move into the herdsmen’s huts, and stay there until September, to tend to grazing cattle!

Grazing cattle in Slovenia!

Sadly, we arrived at the beginning of June, and were a little too early to see them all!

And so the hike began.

On the ski lift in the Slovenian Alps. But I won’t be doing it ‘cos I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic!
©Andrew Lloyd – Slovenian Tourist Board
The empty chair after I fell off the ski lift!

There is actually a chair lift that takes you from the highest summit in the Velika Planina at 1666m, and is used during the skiing season or for cycling and running competitions!

I don’t like chair lifts as when I was younger, I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic! It wasn’t pretty, so hiking down the mountain it was!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

On the way down we saw many more huts, and hiking trails for brisk walking, trekking, sprinting, and mountain biking!

Ahoy! The path is rocky on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

But do be careful, as running down the mountains and valleys could lead to breaking your ankle, as the path is rocky!

Follow the signs on the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

And if you’re ever lost, just follow the signs!

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The cheese lady, myself, The Tall Young Gentleman, and our guide – Matej Hribar – at the Preskar’s Hut Museum, on the Velika Planina – Slovenia!
©Matej Hribar

As part of our hike journey, we went to Preskar’s Hut Museum!

Preskar’s Hut Museum is a hut that exhibits the life of herdsmen in the 19th century. We were far too early in the season for the traditional herdsmen and workshops, but our guide – Matej – had the key, so we could venture inside!

And what an exhibition. Take a look at the photographs!

Shepherd’s tools at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s churning jugs to make cheese, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Hut Museum on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

 

In front of Shepherd’s traditional clothing, at Preskar’s Cottage on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!

We continued our hike and by this time we were pretty peckish, so to the Zeleni Rob Lodging House we went!

And in this lodge, we not only had a bite of lunch, but we also learnt how to make cheese!

Not your typical hard cheese but a Slovenian speciality called “trnič.”

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HOW TO MAKE TRINIC HARD CHEESE!

How to make Trnič hard cheese on the Velika Planina in Kamnik-Slovenia!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

Cheese making has a long tradition in Slovenia and the Velika Planina is particularly known for Trnič, which many consider the most romantic of Slovenian cheeses!

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese from Velika Planina – which resembles a female bosom!
©Klemen Brumec

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese made in the Velika, Mala, and Gojška Planina, in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which resembles a female bosom!

In the 19th century, “Trnič” hard cheese was only made by the herdsmen, and was a symbol of love, given to a sweetheart as a sign of faithfulness, and also a promise of marriage! They were always made in pairs and decorated with the same ornaments.

The herdsmen kept one of them and presented the other to their beloved. If she accepted this gift, it meant she agreed to his courtship!

Our lady cheese guide showed us how curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!
First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

First, the curd is made from heated sour milk, and cream or salt added!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into the shape of a female bosom!

Next, the clumps are shaped and kneaded into a dough. We found this difficult to do, as the dough is kneaded into the shape of Ahem!

A female bosom!

Afterwards, the trnič dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!
©David Lotrič – Slovenian Tourist Board
My own effort at decorating the trnič dough, wasn’t quite as good!

Afterwards, the dough is decorated with patterned wooden sticks!

The trnič dough is left to smoke over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark, airy space!
©Jošt Gantar – Slovenian Tourist Board

They are then left to smoke in the shingle over an open fireplace or dried in a warm, dark and airy space for about two (2) to three (3) weeks!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated which you can just about see!

Finally, the trnič cheese is grated and sprinkled on risotto, porridge, pasta, soups, salads, or very thinly sliced and sprinkled with honey, pepper, olives, pumpkin seeds, or butter!

Phew!

Now for a bite of lunch!

We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaazing!

‘Remember when we had Štrukli Truffles in Zagreb – Croatia?

This time we had the Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries.

It was amaaaazing!

We needed to work off some of that delicious snack so more hiking was necessary, and a drive to the valley of the Kamniška Bistrica!

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THE VALLEY OF THE KAMNISKA BISTRICA!

The Valley of the Kamniška Bistrica in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The Kamnik Bistrica, otherwise known as Kamniška Bistrica, is an Alpine river in northern Slovenia.

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica Valley is named after the Kamnik Bistrica River, which is 33 km or 21m long!

The river is one of the cleanest in Slovenia and boasts a series of natural attractions.

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

I wasn’t able to hike on the Koželj Trail ‘cos of the wetness of my orange suede shoes, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” did a short version, with our guide!

Look at the lovely gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj in Kamnik – Slovenia!

The valley of Kamniška Bistrica plunges from the south, into the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and is a very popular starting point for outdoor activities such as the gorges of Veliki and Mali Predaselj, and the 30 metre high Orglice Waterfall, otherwise known by the locals as Worglše, Orglice, Orličje, Orlišče, or simply, the eagle!

Look beneath your feet! It’s the beauty that is Slovenia!

What can I say!

Next, we had even more food!

I think I’ll postpone it and tell you all about it in a few weeks!

Myself & “The Tall Young Gentleman” on top of the Velika Planina in Kamnik – Slovenia!

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

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HOW TO VISIT SLOVENIA: INTRODUCING KAMNIK – A TOWN STUFFED WITH MOUNTAINS AND CHEESE!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!
©Tomo Jeseničnik – Slovenian Tourist Board

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the trnič cheese that we made, are my very own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

Will you?

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!

Have you ever heard of Kamnik? Would you spend your time hiking, being a shepherd, or eating cheese? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Having a most scrumptious ice-cream at the Triple Bridge!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Yoo Hoo!

So Slovenia!

What a most beautiful country!

Last week, I wrote a five (5) minute introduction to Slovenia!

I hope you like it?

Myself in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

I was intrigued to be visiting Slovenia so we based ourselves in the capital city of Ljubljana and spent a whopping seven days.

Seven (7) days!

And you know what?

It wasn’t anywhere near enough!

I know!

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Yay!

SO WHAT WERE WE DOING IN LJUBLJANA?

Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!

Slovenia is a very green country and like Croatia, amazingly beautiful. I wanted to spend some quality time with The Tall Young Gentleman, and I think Slovenia was the perfect place to do it.

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51 THINGS TO DO IN LJUBLJANA. THAT’S RIGHT!

Dragons in Ljubljana – Slovenia, can be seen literally everywhere!

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and has a population of just 278,789 people!

It was first mentioned at the beginning of the 12th century and was the historical capital of Carniola, a Slovene-inhabited part of the Habsburg Monarchy from the Middle Ages, until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918!

The symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon!

The dragon is believed to be adopted from England’s patron saint – Saint George – who is also the patron of the 15th century chapel in the Ljubljana Castle!

The dragon is found on the top of the tower of Ljubljana Castle, on the Ljubljana coat of arms, on the Dragon Bridge, otherwise known as Zmajski Most, and can be seen literally everywhere!

We had a very fine time using the Ljubljana Card.

We wanted to spend some time rambling through the cobbled streets and running from one museum or local attraction to another, using the Ljubljana Card.

Thanks very much!

Here’s what we did:

We rushed out & went for a stroll & a bit of a ramble in Metelkova City in Ljubljana – one of the most successful urban squats in Europe!
  • Ljubljana is tiny. Go for a walk! After checking into our hotel – Hotel Park – Urban & Green – we rushed out and went for a stroll and a bit of a ramble around the local area, poking into every nook and cranny!
  • Eat Slovenian meat!
  • Check out Metelkova Mesto! Metelkova City is an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!
  • Go on a Ljubljana city tour. We were lucky to have a private guide so that we could get inside knowledge from local experts on the things that interested us. However, regular Ljubljana city tours usually include a walk around the historical city centre, exploring major attractions, an opportunity to taste traditional Slovenian dishes as part of a brief tasting session, a return funicular ride to Ljubljana Castle, and a visit to the outer part of Ljubljana Castle!
  • Visit street and food markets! One particular evening, we were passing through the Central Market and saw one person pick up a fiddle, and start playing! And then a few people just sort of joined in and started dancing! We were the only tourists present so I didn’t take any photos, as it felt slightly intrusive!
At one of Ljubljana’s most iconic points – the Triple Bridge by Jože Plečnik!
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism
  • Do a walking tour of Plečnik’s Ljubljana: Jože Plečnik was a native of Ljubljana and considered one of the world’s most important pioneers of modern architecture with buildings not only in Ljubljana, but Prague and Vienna too!
  • Make sure to visit the Triple Bridge: You’ll see why!
  • Go to the Town Hall: It’s one of Ljubljana’s most striking Baroque monuments and if you’re lucky, you might even see one of the guides dressed in Slovenian traditional costume!
  • Visit the Antique Flea Market: It’s held every Sunday on one of the bridges further down the street!
  • Take photographs of the splendid buildings in the Old Town!
The Tall Young Gentleman & his almond-covered ice-cream in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Have ice-cream! There are many ice-cream parlours and the servings are huge! Yum!
  • Get free WiFi! You can have free wifi access anywhere in the city for up to 60 minutes a day! In fact, if you have the Ljubljana Tourist Card, you can have free access for 24 hours with the code on the card! Mind you, we found logging into the WiFree Ljubljana network directly on your phone far easier!
  • Explore the history and architecture of Ljubljana which you can see all over the city!
  • Join in the free open-air festivals! We went in June and saw the biggest festival of all!
  • If you’re broke, make your own independent walking tour, go to any of the two Tourist Information Centres (TICs), pick up maps, and as many booklets as you need, then take off!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” at the elegant 19th century University of Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Be impressed by the elegant 19th century University of Ljubljana!
  • Visit the very grand-looking national museums and galleries. And if you use the Ljubljana Card, many of them are free!
  • Marvel at the many palaces, not only in Ljubljana, but in the surrounding area too!
  • Hike up the 900 year old castle hill, and be amazed by Ljubljana’s main attraction!
  • Or take a ride up the funicular, and take in the city view
One of the costumed characters / castle guides at the Ljubljana Castle in Slovenia!
  • If you do nothing at all, make sure you go to the Ljubljana Castle. We spent half a day there and really had a fantastic time. It’s free with the Ljubljana Card!
  • One of our highlights at the castle was a costumed characters castle guided tour of the Ljubljana Castle. We went on the Behind Bars tour, and it was great fun! It’s not included in the Ljubljana Card, but we only had to pay €4.00 more!
  • If you’re at Ljubljana Castle and have a bit of time, I highly recommend the Museum of Puppetry. Even though I was travelling with a teenager, he found it interesting and fun. And so did I!
  • Have a gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall! Whilst there, we noticed a fancy restaurant – the Strelec Restaurant – and decided to spend our last night spending the rest of our money! The food was fantastic and the service attentive. I’ll tell you more about it in a few weeks!
  • Fill up your bottle with fresh water! Unlike many countries in Eastern / Central Europe, you can actually drink water from the tap!
Hang out with the guides & locals in Ljubljana! Good times!
  • Relax and take a break at Ljubljana’s largest and most beautiful parkland at the Tivoli Park!
  • In fact, if you’re really into stuff, you can go on a guided tour of the Tivoli Park too ‘cos it’s huge!
  • Hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!
  • Have a seafood lunch! Ljubljana is surrounded by water and restaurants that give you a front-side view of the river.
  • If you’re worn out after all that excitement, call for a free ride using Ljubljana’s electric-powered vehicles referred to as Kavalirs, which are a free city centre public transport option! Cool or what!
Slovenian sausages & wine, as part of our “Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.”
  • Indulge yourself on a most delicious food tour with the Taste Ljubljana culinary tour. Because food. More on that in a few weeks. Yum!
  • For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!
  • Splurge on cocktails. Prices are cheap. Oh go on. You know you want to!
  • Help yourself to a couple of cold beers at the many Slovenian restaurants and bars
  • Try as many Slovenian dishes and delicacies as you can. Prices are low and won’t hurt the bank!

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Sail across the waters on a river cruise in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Experience many of the numerous museums & galleries in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Experience many of the numerous museums and galleries. If you use the Ljubljana Card, entrance is free!
  • Make sure you check out the Museum of Illusions that turned out to be one of our favourite museums and such a lot of fun! Go there, and you’ll see what I mean!
  • Go to the City Museum of Ljubljana and learn about the history of Ljubljana, which we enjoyed very much, but had to rush as we had spent too much time at Ljubljana Castle!
  • Check out the National Museum of Slovenia and learn about the oldest musical instrument in the world which I told you about last week!
  • If you’re looking for something different go on the Union Experience Brewery Museum and tour! We didn’t go, but I believe families are welcome!
Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

  • You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina. More about that next week!
  • You can hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik. More about that next week!
  • You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled. More about that in a few weeks!
  • You can go to the beach or even go wine-tasting!
  • You can get off the beaten path and discover the unknown parts of Slovenia. Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do that, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

And lastly,

  • You can do all the activities above and more, or do nothing at all, and simply enjoy the moment! Why not?

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TAKE ME THERE!

Travel through Europe by FlixBus – the bus-coach company!

The best way to travel to travel to Slovenia depends simply on where you’re coming from!

If you’re flying in, Ljubljana is connected by air with flights from most major European cities flying into the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), also known as the Brnik Airport!

If you’re coming from Italy, Austria, Hungary or Croatia, you can either take the train or drive.

I like excitement and making things more difficult for myself, so we decided to take the fourteen and a half hour (14.5) hour journey by FlixBus – the bus-coach company!

OMG!

BY BUS!

I must be mad!

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Myself at the coach-bus stop in Austria!

And I am because the coach-bus was delayed in some places, although we had a nice stop-over in Austria!

I’ve written about the FlixBus company already and even though the very long journey was quite enjoyable as it was sunny, it’s also quite exhausting!

I’ll continue to take bus journeys. But shorter.

Or trains!

She says!

51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

Book your hotel here!

51 THINGS TO DO IN LJUBLJANA. THAT’S RIGHT!

The padlocks of love on Butcher’s Bridge in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the tremendous time that we had, are my very own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

Will you?

A busker at the Triple Bridge – 51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Have you ever been to Ljubljana? Was there any activity that surprised you? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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