It’s been a long time since we’ve really “travelled,” and we’re pretty excited to be back at it again. Since COVID came along we’ve been on a few trips, but this is the first time we’ve set out on a real adventure since we completed the big one 3-1/2 years ago.
We love New York, but we love it less in July and August when oppressive heat and humidity set in. So this year we decided to take eight weeks off for some of the old travel adventure. We began our trip here in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. We’ll spend the eight weeks in Slovenia, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, plus one little corner of Italy.
Why Slovenia? It’s a lovely little country on the edge of the Alps that we’ve just never managed to get to before. It takes a bit of effort to get here. Now that I’ve finally made it, this leaves Belarus as the only one of the 44 countries in Europe I’ve not been to. Jim will be able to make the same claim after we get to Norway in a month.
We’ve looked forward to this trip with some lingering concerns. Will we like this kind of travel as much as we used to? Or will it feel like a chore? Are we jaded after our big adventure a few years ago? Are we now just checking boxes, trying to squeeze in places we didn’t get to before?
Our concerns were quickly abated by Ljubljana’s oversized charms. For a little known capital, it’s got a really nice vibe. A compact historic core is packed with classic architecture, lovely cobbled streets, and buzzing nightlife. The river Ljubljanica is lined with lively cafes and restaurants. And there is an impressive foodie scene.
We had surprisingly great food at every meal in this town. But our last dinner was the best. We went to a place called Çompa. It was a bit removed from the pretty streets that line the river. It was in a grittier part of town, the place looked comparatively downscale, and it was packed with locals. Çompa is renowned for its meats — including beef, pork, and horse. We had some of all three, and we were blown away by how delicious everything was. Pics below.
One of the highlights of our visit was an evening with two fascinating locals — Zoran and Daniça Kus — who were introduced to us by our friend Kiša back in New York. Zoran recently retired from a long career working with the Slovenian government and international organizations as an expert on environment and climate change. Daniça is a photographer who travels the world to capture great architecture. She is currently commissioned to document the work of Jože Plečnik, the Slovenian architect who rebuilt Ljubljana in the early to mid-20th century, and whose fingerprints are on everything in this town.
This has been a lovely start to our summer mini-adventure. Now we head toward the Julian Alps in Northwestern Slovenia.
Hi Mark and Jim! I love your posts and I would live in Slovenia as I loved everything about this country. Enjoy your time there and have a great vacation!
Heather Caruso, your Iron Ranger friend!