This past weekend was a long holiday weekend here in Hungary and, luckily, I had a friend heading out of town on a road trip to Slovenia. I had never been, so I was super excited to tag along. On the way from Budapest to Lake Bled, where we were staying, we stopped in Maribor, for a break to stretch our legs and to see the world's oldest noble vine still producing fruit (complete with Guinness World Records certificate to prove it). We enjoyed a wine tasting (none of it from the world's oldest grapes, which is apparently reserved as gifts for presidents and the like, but not particularly tasty) and bought a few bottles of Slovenian wine for our stay in Bled before hitting the road again.
We stayed in a cozy guest house just a short walk from Lake Bled in a quiet residential area.
We spent our days exploring the area as much as we could, despite the fairly consistent drizzling rain and cold temperatures. I'm excited to see Slovenia in the warmer months, but the cold weather and rain didn't do much to dampen the country's beauty. The fog suited the landscape quite nicely and made it easy to imagine the locals bundled up around their wood-burning stoves in their cozy mountain homes with steaming mugs of mulled wine.
When the sun unexpectedly emerged, we quickly changed plans and decided to take advantage of the clear skies to enjoy the view from Bled Castle.
The next day, we headed to Lake Bohinj, Slovenia's largest lake, located within a valley of the Julian Alps. I could imagine staying in a cabin in the woods here, far away from civilization. Of course, it's usually a popular tourist spot, just not in the middle of March when it's cold and sleet is falling from the sky.
After checking out Lake Bohinj, we stopped for a traditional Slovenian lunch (which was hearty, delicious, and perfect for the weather) in the town of Srednja Vas v Bohinju at Pri Hrvatu.
After lunch, we wandered around the little town eventually climbing to the church at the top of the hill. Outside, the church is surrounded by a small cemetery where the town's locals have been buried for centuries. We peeked inside the church to find two men working inside. One of the men proudly told us about his church and even took us up to the bell tower just in time to hear the bells ring on the hour. He explained that when the town's residents are born or die, the bells ring to announce it to everyone in town.
On our way home, we stopped in Ljubljana to have a little break, eat lunch, and see a bit of the city. We stopped at the Museum of Illusions, which I would highly recommend even if you aren't traveling with kids, as we were. I'm looking forward to visiting Ljubljana again in the summer months with more time to explore. If you've been to Ljubljana (or anywhere in Slovenia), I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments below so I can start planning my next visit.