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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Szigliget Castle

It was now mid-May 2006.

We were excited when the insurance rules changed for our Eurodrive Clio on the 2006 trip and we could drive in the countries that were behind the "Iron Curtain" before 1990.
So we were looking forward to Slovenia.

It turned out to be both interesting and slightly disappointing. Effectively it became a pleasant drive between Italy and Hungary.

The countryside was beautiful – small villages, hilly farmlands, very similar to sections of Czech in the styles of town and village architecture, farms and their crops and animals. The non-EU countries have a much more diverse range of crops, something which stands out as soon as you cross into their countryside.

But mixed in with that were occasional grey multistorey living complexes in post-WWII villages which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere as though they had been put there by aliens. One thing that surprised us immediately were the shrines and churches. We expected those in Western Europe but had not expected them to have survived 45 years of communism so well in Eastern Europe.

We didn’t see a single Hotel or Zimmer Frei or anything similar while wandering the back roads through villages and farm districts from the Italian border. We decided to stay in Ljubljana but found that we seemed to have picked the wrong night to not book ahead. We tried several hotels with no vacancies, although there didn’t seem to be any festivals or other special events at the time. So we spent a pleasant hour wandering around the city centre, had a cup of coffee, and moved on. The city was interesting, but there was nothing that grabbed the eye or gave us the urge to stay. Maybe it’s just us and we were a little jaded after the glories of Italy and Greece; so I apologise if I have offended any Slovenians.

A few kilometres out of the city, heading East, we eventually found the Hotel Krona in Dormzole. It was comfortable and the food was good, but the style of the room gave me an odd feeling of nostalgia for my younger days living in RAAF accommodation. Later we often found that "military" style in many East European hotels. The owner gave us some little carved wooden gifts as we left – a pleasant touch.

The next day we continued to avoid the freeways and motorways and to wander via the villages. We came across a wedding party which seemed to be delayed for some reason – and sat outside this church for an hour. It looked pristine; a lot of work had obviously gone into renovation. Eventually the politest biker group I’ve ever encountered gave up waiting behind us and headed off down a side road. I’m glad they were polite – there were hundreds of them.

After the wedding (after about an hour we were starting to be annoyed at not being invited to the reception:-) we looked for accommodation near the Slovenian/Hungarian border. We drove through village after village without success. Twice we accidentally crossed into Hungary at tiny border crossings but were turned back because they were too small to allow non-locals through. The third time we were allowed, and decided to keep going into Hungary. Five minutes later we found a lovely little hotel in Lenti.

We would probably have spent a few more days in the country - but to be honest, we were looking forward to Budapest, so we decided to head on in that direction.

Cheers, Alan


  1. Anonymous10:22 am

    My wife and I visited Slovenia last year. Her maternal grandparents emigrated from SI before WWI. I was last in Slovenia in 1971, what a dramatic change in the last 35 years.

    Incidentally accommodation is not a problem. The government tourist office issues a fantastic book listing in very great detail accommodation all over the country.

    Family members took us to see some of the sights and we visited others on our own. It cost us just UKL 4 plus tax to fly from the UK to Ljubljana.

    There are numerous caves to visit and fascinating little places like Kostanjavica, Skofja Loka, and Bled that are must sees.

    The country is booming economically and foreigners are buying second homes there. We found no restructions on anything that we wanted to do and visit, and the people are some of the friendliest I've ever met.

    I used to live in Switzerland and Singapore, but Slovenia knocks them into a cocked hat for cleanliness and the way that they take care of their churches and architectural relics. Churches are maintained for historical reasons not for religious reasons. I never met a practicing christian, moslem or jew all the time that I was there. People seem to be secular and we felt completely at home there.

    We plan to visit again and enjoy some of the outdoor pursuits.


  2. It's a pity I didn't have that accommodation book or we may have stayed longer:-)

    Maybe next time...

    Cheers, Alan