Devouring the enticing information presented for my destination, Slovenia, I imagined a delicious skip through gastronomic bliss against a backdrop of romantic scenery; pretty churches, quaint squares and misty mountains… Instead, I got light drizzle served as a starter, a torrential downpour main, followed by a dessert of angry thunderstorms. Slovenia weather ‘varies’ apparently – it was consistently bad for my visit! Abandoning notions of wandering through valley and over hill, the ‘wine tasting’ section of the guidebook goaded me with tales of the 11 mile long Jeruzalem wine road. If wine was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.
Linking Ljutomer to Ormoz, a labyrinth of tiny country lanes takes you past a string of vineyards, the problem is not finding one, but choosing one (or three). The indecisive will be tortured by numerous wine related road signs (vinska cesta, vinotoc, vinogradniska…) which feature a pretty picture of a half full wine glass, just in case you missed the gist. However, don’t be fooled into believing you can trot in spontaneously to sample their delights – you must ring ahead to visit. Thankfully for us, we pulled up to one vineyard just as a tour was beginning.
As we meandered around rows of barrels, our guide, Antonija enthused about the symphony of white wines Slovenia produces. She told us how the ‘Sipon’ wine became named so because of a French reaction that the wine was ‘c’est bon!’ and launched into how her father insisted she drink Kerner, a white reisling, with her evening meals from being a young girl. Finally, the time of tasting arrived. Six glugs of graded sweetness were presented, to which we all feebly tried to offer intelligent commentary. Antonija told us of the Slovenian proverb ‘speak the truth, but leave immediately after’ to which we offered, ‘mmmmmm….grapes!’
For visitors not fond of fruity pursuits, Slovenia still has plenty to offer. With its historic charm and natural beauty, a variety of 3-5 star hotels and all the cheap airfares available online, Slovenia is a must-see. The Predjama castle in the South West sits impressively built into the cliff face, former home of Slovenia’s answer to Robin Hood, Erasmus. Only four miles away, the Postojna cave, monument of Karst underground, has 12 miles of grottoes and tunnels awash with stalagmites and stalactites. This is a fantastic place to visit when the weather is distinctly hostile; an electric train steers visitors through miles of lit galleries, sculpted halls and chambers followed by a mile long guided tour on foot. The guided walk is made more spectacular by visitors who forget to bring warm clothes and swish around the cave, wizard-like, in hired felt cloaks.
We ran out of time, but apparently a Slovenian ‘must see’ for equine lovers is the Lipica stud farm, home of the white Lipizzaner horses renowned for their beauty and intelligence. We opted instead to head back to Ljubljana for our final evening, stopping at a gostilna (tavern) for a last supper of traditional Slovenian fare washed down with…grape juice.
Author Bio: Scarlett Redman
Scarlett Redman is a postgraduate social researcher with a heavily stamped passport, an empty bank account and a desire to eternally dodge the ratrace…
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Have you visited this magical little country in Eastern Europe? What did you like best? Isn’t Bled one of the most picture perfect lakes you have ever seen? What other highlights would you recommend? Please share your thoughts below and this post too if you liked it!