Way back when, in 2012, right before Hamish and I jetted off to the colourful Carnival in Rio De Janeiro and fell in love with Brazil and Argentina (more posts on this coming soon, promise!), some special friends suggested a weekend group trip to “somewhere in Europe”. Well obviously Hamish and I were in. The big question was, where would we go that none of the eight of us going had been before?! It may not sound difficult, but when London is literally on the doorstep of Europe, this actually poses a real (albeit first world) problem. Upon some research, the discovery was made that one of the only countries in Europe to not require a Schengen visa was Slovenia, and since one of our group was limited by that Visa, the decision was made and our destination was set.
To be completely honest, Slovenia was never on my radar. When we booked our flights to Ljubljana, the first thought that crossed my mind was: “Li-jub-what-what”. My expectations were non existent and with the excitement of our upcoming holiday to Brazil, I quickly pushed the weekend to the back of my mind and barely thought twice about it.
Turns out I was mistaken in my ignorance and I am SO glad we decided to go to Ljubljana (thanks Amanda and Pete for choosing!), not only did it turn out to be the quaintest little European city which led us to the beautiful hidden gem of Lake Bled but it also cured our Brazil post-holiday blues - which, after returning from sunshine and sand to the grey English winter, was no easy feat. Ljubljana for the win!
Overall we had a great time exploring this Central European jewel. Lake Bled was definitely the highlight of the weekend for me. Only an hour by bus from Ljubljana lies this serene, peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful lake and lakeside town. It is a magical little place which makes you feel like you have stepped onto the pages of a Disney fairytale. Needless to say, I would return in a heartbeat. We spent the day cycling around the circumference of the lake, rowing out to the picturesque island in the middle of the lake which was home to the prettiest little church, goofing around on said island, and pretty much just wandering the streets and exploring all Bled had to offer. A perfect day all round.
Returning to Ljubljana later in the night we enjoyed a scrumptious traditional Slovenian meal and did what most Londoners do abroad – we experienced the night life. Like most other European cities, it did not disappoint. Quite a few of the popular bars and cafés in Ljubljana are situated on the Ljubljanica River, which made for a beautiful backdrop while we sampled the delicious local beverages. We spent Sunday moseying around Ljubljana castle and feasting on the deliciousness that is soup served IN a bread roll bowl, yes you heard me. It is amaaaazing – you can even eat the “bowl” – which I may have done (but really, who wouldn’t?). All in all it was a great weekend. I truly believe that it’s the things which hold the least expectations that turn out to be some of the best memories.
* A pint of Beer in Slovenia costs: EUR 1.94