In life, sometimes, we take bad habits; vices that consolidates with the passage of time, to which we are particularly attached and do not want to leave. One of them is the road trip that I usually do in June, on the saddle of my sidecar “El Andador”, with my two women: the ever-present wife, with whom we celebrate an important anniversary, and Princess Luna, my white little boxer, both lovers of the Harley rumble. This time we depart for Slovenija, a one-week short trip to discover this country, which is rich of history and warlike past.
Slovenija. Walking tours in Ljubljana
Lying on the banks of the Ljubljanica river, Ljubljana is a modern capital but retains, at the same time, a relaxed atmosphere typical of a provincial town.
The castle on the hill (Ljubljanski Grad) is the main attraction: an imposing well-restored fortress that dominates the plain below; today it represents the city’s cultural center, where are hosted cultural activities of various kinds.
The tour continues along the river banks, the real living room of Ljubljana, penetrating then in the alleys to discover the most famous monuments:
- Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Stolnica Svetega Nikolaja), with its green domes;
- Triple Bridge of Tromostovje, a structure composed of three separate bridges;
- Preseren Square (Prešernov trg), invaded by street artists;
- Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most), with the four green dragons put at the ends of each side;
- baroque Church of the Annunciation Franciscan (Frančiškanska Cerkev), with the pink facade;
- Bridge of Butchers (Mesarski Most), with love padlocks;
- Bridge of Shoemakers (Šuštarski Most), with the characteristic columns;
- majestic park Tivoli, at the edge of the old town.
Novo Mesto and Bogenšperk Castle
Not worried at all about the storm that would await us in the afternoon, we decide to mount on our iron and leave to Novo Mesto, a town built on the Krka river bends.
The relaxed atmosphere makes it very pleasant to walk in the old town; we admire the Town Hall, the old houses, the Capitoline and Franciscan churches.
We continue with the visit of Bogenšperk Castle, a cultural monument of national importance, which is very popular for weddings.The expected downpour releases all his vehemence on us but the rain equipment allows us to face the bad weather and to reach our stunning residence.
The wine town of Slovenske Konjice and the former Charterhouse of Zice and Maribor, where the oldest vine in the world is reflected in the waters of the Drava River, are the next stages of our trip.
We reach Brezje, the most important pilgrimage center in Slovenija. The Basilica of Mary Help of Christians (Marije Pomagaj) was proclaimed the Slovenian national shrine; the color of the facade and the peace that surrounds this sacred place, make the visit memorable.
We appreciate the historical center of Radovljica, one of the major towns in Slovenija: the medieval palaces, the imposing building that houses the beekeeping museum and the church of San Pietro.
Surely the picture that best represents Slovenia is the romantic island with its church that seems to float on Lake Bled.
Surrounded by mountains that seem sculpted, the island dominates the scenery, protected by the Castle built on the nearby hill, which is one of the oldest in the country.
The buildings of the castle, gathered around two courtyards, offer stunning views of the valley below. Before leaving this enchanting place, we cannot avoid to buy two bottles of the excellent wine, which is sold in the cellar by a very nice friar.
After a short tour of Kranj, one of the oldest Slovenian town, we reach Skofja Loka. The town stands on a terrace protected from the river Sora and the Castle that rises prominently on nearby hill.
Slovenija. Karst Coast
It is time to change the area: we head toward the coast Karst. Before reaching the coast we decide to visit the Gewerkenegg castle, which dominates the historic center of Idrija, which is known for the presence of mercury mines. Feature of this castle, aside from its immensity, are the frescoes with baroque ornaments around the arches and the windows in bright colors.
We reach then Piran, our base for the next two days. The picturesque fishing village lies on a strip of land that disappears into the sea, dominated by the baroque Cathedral of St. George with its high bell tower, surrounded by the remains of mighty walls. The main place is the wonderful Tartini Square, bordered by monumental buildings that still show the coats of arms of the Venetian Republic, representing the ancient annexation. Here the sea makes the rules, so given the heat we bring Luna to have a refreshing bath.
The last stop of this short trip is Koper. A walk in the old town makes us discover the variety of architectural styles that have affected the development of the ancient fishing village. The attention of the visitor is drawn by Tito Square, the main square of the country; on the sides are erected the Praetorian Palace, the Loggia, the Virgin of the Assumption Cathedral and the Town tower. From the square the Calegaria departs, the ancient way of trade and crafts. Finally we reach Piazza France Prešeren with Muda Gate, the main gate of the city, and the characteristic Fountain da Ponte.
The time available to us is finished, more than seven hundred kilometers waiting to be traveled to get home. We face them with the happiness of lived experiences, beautiful places and nice people that we met along our route. Slovenia, goodbye (Slovenija, zbogom).