Well, this summer has been something!
Where have you been?
If you’re just joining, here’s really what you missed:
- How I met the future king of England – Prince William, Kate & the Many-Faced God!
- Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!
- Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!
- 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
- How I went on the radio for the BBC & was featured in Germany’s biggest Sunday newspaper!
- Marvellous news. I’m doing a radio programme with the BBC. And other stuff!
And a few weeks before that, I wrote this: Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!
I had a most fantastic time in both countries, and even though I wrote all about Sweden, I hadn’t actually got around to writing about Slovenia!
A 5 MINUTE INTRODUCTION TO SLOVENIA!
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!
From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell exhausted 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.
Where to start?
Slovenia, otherwise known as Slovenija or the Republic of Slovenia, is another tiny nation-state located on the northern Balkans, and described as being a country in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South-East Europe!
It has a mass of 20,273 square kilometers or 7,827 square miles and has a population of just 2.06 million people!
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY…
Not a lot of people know much about Slovenia. In fact, most people mix it up with Slovakia!
Now since this is a five (5) minute introduction as opposed to thirty (30), it’s only right and proper that I give you the low down:
The Slovenian people are a mixture of Slavic, Germanic, Romance, and Hungarian, with most being Slovene.
Slovene or Slovenian is the official language, and Hungarian and Italian, are recognised as co-official languages too. In fact, most people are also quite able to understand Croatian and Serbian, as previously spoken languages from the former Yugoslavia!
Slovenia is a tiny, but historically old country, stemming right back from the Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy in Austria! In 1918, the Kingdom of Serbia was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later becoming the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929!
Slovenia became a founding member of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia or the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and was the only communist country in the Eastern Bloc which never became a member of the Warsaw Pact!
In 1991, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country. In 2004, Slovenia became a member of the EU and in 2007, became the first ex-communist country to have the Euro!
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
- The tallest chimney in the world is the chimney of Trbovlje Power Station at 360 metres high!
- The oldest wooden wheel in the world was found in the Ljubljana marshes, is about 5,200 years old, and I think I saw it!
- The oldest grapevine in the world is in Maribor, and is about 440 years old!
- The oldest musical instrument in the world is the Divje Babe flute, otherwise known as the Neandethal flute, is made out of a cave bear bone, was found above the Idrijca river, and is believed to be about 55,000 years old!
- The first man to ski down the summit of Mount Everest was a Slovenian called Davo Karničar. And it was only in 2000!
- Not only that, but the first married couple to conquer Mount Everest together were also Slovenian – Marija and Anfrej Štremfelj. They did this in 1990, and make me feel ashamed that I couldn’t even conquer hiking up a live volcano, not to talk of Mount Everest!
- Slovenia has the one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe and is estimated to be between 500 – 700 bears! In a tiny country like Slovenia, that is rather a lot!
- The oldest written document in the Slovenian language is a Freising manuscript dated between 970 and 1039 A.D!
- The white horses known throughout the world as Lipizzaners, actually originate from a place called Lipica. In Slovenia!
- Postojna Cave – which sadly, we didn’t quite make to visit ‘cos there was a rain storm, is the most visited cave in Europe!
- Not only that, but there are more than 10,000 caves in Slovenia! 10,000!
- And. The oldest cave show – the Vilenica cave near Lokev – has had people visiting since 1633!
- The first printed book in the Slovenian language was published in 1550 by a Lutheran priest called Primož Truber.
- Slovenia is the only country in Europe that combines four (4) diverse geographical regions namely: the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst (spanning Italy and Slovenia), and the Pannonian Plains (covering Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Austria, and Slovenia)!
Isn’t that cool?
I mean, is it any wonder that I was intrigued to be visiting Slovenia.
Oh, and just so you know, the capital city is Ljubljana!
You heard me. Lju-bl-jaaaaaaaaaana!
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!
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!
We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!
- I wanted to spend some quality time with The Tall Young Gentleman, and I think Slovenia was the perfect place to do it.
- Slovenia is a very green country and like Croatia, amazingly beautiful. I mean, just look at the photography, so we spent quite a lot of time outdoors.
- Of course, we wanted to spend quite some time in Ljubljana itself as I like to get inside the soul of a city. I also wanted to prove people who say that Ljubljana only deserves a few hours, wrong!
- We wanted to go on a guided tour so that we could get inside knowledge from local experts.
- We wanted to go on a most delicious food tour. Because food. Yum!
- We wanted to go to the Slovenian countryside and spend a day among the shepherds on Velika Planina!
- We wanted to go on a river cruise.
- We wanted to explore Ljubljana’s largest and most beautiful parkland area at the Tivoli Park.
- 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.
- And to top it off, we wanted to spend a day at the stunning Lake Bled, not only surrounding ourselves with mountains, forests, and fresh air, but also the medieval Bled Castle.
Oh, and we did all this by travelling from Germany to Slovenia by FlixBus – the bus-coach company!
You might have noticed that there’s an image of a FlixBus on the side of the panel. I’m so convinced that it’s one of the best ways to travel through Europe on the cheap, that I’ve joined their affiliate programme so that you can share in the fun too!
As usual, if you book your journey via my link, there is no extra cost to you, and I get a little percentage for my trouble.
Find out more next week!
Just because Slovenia is a small nation, doesn’t mean that it’s “small!”
And I aim to prove it.
A 5 MINUTE INTRODUCTION TO SLOVENIA!
This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism absolutely all opinions, and the fantastic time that we had, are my very own!
I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!
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!