Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia

Last summer, Bob and Rhonda had much praise for the people and countryside of Slovenia. Their recommendation was spot on.  Ljubljana had a vibrancy consistent with a nation’s capital.  Home to the University of Ljubljana, the streets and cafes were full of students.  Shops and cafes line the streets adjacent to the river.IMG_1180

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On our way to Graz, Austria, we visited Maribor, home of the Spec’s.  Aleksander, Natalija, and Marušam were great hosts. Natalija served croissants that had just come out of the oven.  Another treat was the best strawberries I have tasted.  They were picked that morning and were exceptionally juicy.  They are grown locally and must be eaten within a day or two.  Thus, they are not sold in supermarkets.

After the snack we headed for Pohorska vzpenjača, a ski slope, and the location of World Cup Alpine Skiing for the past 30 years.

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At the bottom of the World Cup Alpine slope, see below for what it looks like in the January during the World Cup competition.

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One of the retired gondolas and on the right is the former base for the the gondolas.

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Restavracija Villa Rustica.  In front of Villa Rustica is the foundation of a Roman country home.

We stopped at Restavracija Villa Rustica for a late lunch.  The Spec’s knew the owner.  Wonderful service and excellent meals.  Ella’s dessert is pictured below.  The size of the dessert is not exaggerated by the photo. Ella’s sister and her dad helped finish it.

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After the restaurant we followed the Spec’s as they drove through Maribor and pointed out some of the sites.  We parked our cars on by the river.  Standing on the edge of a very steep bank, the girls threw grass to the geese. Thankfully no one went swimming. Saying goodbye to the Spec’s felt like we had known them a long time.  Very nice people, that we hope we will see again sometime in the future.

 

Lake Bled, Slovenia

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Marcia and Jack at Lake Bled with Bled Castle 130 meters above the level of the lake. (photo credit, Sarah)
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Bled Castle with snow capped mountains in the distance.
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Marcia walking up to the Bled Castle
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We had lunch next to this wall.
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An aerial view of Bled Castle, courtesy of a google image search.  Marcia and I ate a wonderful meal to the left of the two trees at the upper level of the Castle.  The girls opted to stay back and have ice cream and soda under the red umbrella on the lower right terrace of the Castle.
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An demonstration of Rachel’s fascination with photographing birds and animals (photo credit. Rachel)

 

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Another shot by Rachel

During the first full day we were in Ljubljana, we saw a film crew shooting a movie.  We missed the opportunity to get photos.  Two days later we saw the same film crew at Lake Bled.  We were able to watch the filming close-up.

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The woman below was clearly the star of the movie.  We watched them do several takes of one scene.  After a take they would review and then make adjustments.