Back in 1995 when Tera and I were dating, we took a summer trip with Tera's family to Europe and on the way north driving from Italy to Austria, we took a short detour into Slovenia. We spent about 30 minutes in the country (much to Tera's mothers dismay, since she feared for our safety due to the ongoing war in Bosnia). We wanted a fuller experience, so we returned to Slovenia for a few days, before going to Venice prior to our cruise adventure.
1. Piran seaside town in Slovenia -
2. Beautiful Slovenian countryside views
3. Skocjan caves
4. Venice in all its glory
5. Dinner with an old friend
1. Construction noise in the airbnb in Venice
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Wednesday November 9: We awoke early in Bologna and took a train to Venice Mestre station. I left the wife and kids at a café and travelled to the airport by bus to get the rental car. Then I returned to the train square and picked up the family and luggage and we began our drive to Slovenia. We drove through Trieste to Piran (2 hr) and walked around the seaside city. We had lunch and walked to the main square and then up to the castle. Then we returned to the car and drove to Ljubljana (2 hr) to check-in to the Airbnb in the old town.
Thursday November 10: It was a rainy, drizzly day and we slept in and did some work in the apartment until the free walking tour at 11:00am. After the tour, we had a late lunch at a local place, rich stews in bread bowls. We spent some time continuing to visit the sights of the city, including the Ljubljana Castle and main cathedral. It gets dark at 5:00 here, so we turned in to more office work and seminary and dinner at the apartment.
Friday November 11: We drove north to the Vintgar gorge ( 1 hr), which was unfortunately closed for the season. But we drove back to Lake Bled and hiked up to the surrounding viewpoints – Ostrica Bluff. Then we drove to the Bled castle for cream cake and museum visits. Our next stop was Bohinj Lake for a short hike up to the Savica waterfall (more impressive than the pictures). Then we drove back to Ljubljana and our comfortable Airbnb.
Saturday November 12: We took a morning drive to Kranj village and walked around downtown. It was election season, so there were lots of people and political parties out and campaigning on the streets. We drove next to Skofja Loka, and walked up to the castle, which happened to be closed for renovations. We walked around the gardens of the castle, and then old town for a bit, and then got back into the car to drive to our hike, Polhograjska Grmada. We drove through numerous old villages and then hiked to the local peak (3.5 miles – Polhograjska Grmada). We had about a 45-minute drive back to Ljubljana, and then had dinner with the missionaries at a Slovenian taco shop.
Sunday November 13: We went to the Ljubljana branch and had a wonderful church meeting. After the meeting, some young women came up and asked Megan to stay for the 2nd hour, so we all stayed. After church, we drove to Predjama castle, and walked around the outside without going in. Then we stopped for lunch at a burger joint in the countryside, then travelled to Skocjan caves, which were glorious to behold. Thereafter, we drove to Venice (2 hr) and I dropped Tera and the kids off at the train station to take a train into Venice to go to the Airbnb. I drove back to the airport to drop off the car, then I took the water bus to the island, and walked in the pouring rain to the Airbnb to reunite with the family.
Monday November 14: We awoke to jackhammers on the wall, ridiculously loud noise. We headed down to the streets of Venice to have breakfast, and walk on to Piazza San Marco where we met up with the Martins. We toured all aspects of the Basilica di San Marco, with its stunning mosaics. Then we went up to the top of the clock tower for views of the city. We stopped in at the Chiesa di San Zaccaria, which housed the corpse of Zaccheus, father of John the Baptist and descended into the crypt. We lunched together at a local trattoria, when took a gondola ride, and walked together to the Rialto bridge and parted ways back to our separate airbnb’s.
Tuesday November 15: More jackhammering this morning. We took the water taxi out to the Murano, looking for some live glass-blowing demonstrations. Alas, it was not to be. Murano was a bit of a downer, with every shop pointing us in a different direction of where to see glass blowing. We returned to the main island to catch the free walking tour, but decided not to go and sat for a leisurely lunch instead. We returned to the Airbnb, and I later caught the train to go to Vicenza to meet my old missionary companion Sergio Giolitto for dinner. Tera and the kids went to a concert that evening.
1. Piran seaside town in Slovenia - Venturing into Europe one will discover more than a few old narrow cobble streets downtowns, and Slovenia was no exception. This little gem of a town sat directly on the sea, with an old fort above, and rocky beaches and ancient brick buildings below.
2. Beautiful Slovenian countryside views - with Lake Bled and Bohinj Lake and Predjama Castle and Vintgar gorge, and little farming villages and mountains venturing north to the Alps, Slovenia was not short of beautiful views and country hikes. We took full advantage and visited as many nearby places as we could. The snow-covered alpine mountains in the distance were indeed beautiful.
3. Skocjan caves - this place was utterly amazing. The truly massive scale of the cave was wonderous, with an underground river and river canyon that would have felt large anywhere, but to think it was fully underground was awesome. They told stories of the original cave explorers and the decades that went by before the full extent of the cave was discovered. There were remnants of old underground flood levels, and sheer cliffs that needed to be scaled by the early spelunkers to find hidden rooms. There may still be nooks and crannies and maybe massive caverns that we haven't even found yet!
4. Venice in all its glory - Venice is simply a singular city in the entire world. There is no other place like it that I've ever been, with it's canals and walking streets and boat transportation culture. It is an awesome place to visit to soak in the atmosphere and vibe. We more time in the main parts of the city, and less time getting lost in back-alleyways. I walked the streets so much that I felt like a really knew where I was in the city this time.
5. Dinner with an old friend - I reached out to an old missionary companion and we connected up for dinner. It was so good to see him, and hear about his life, for good and for ill.
1. Construction noise in the airbnb in Venice - The hammering and construction noise was almost unbearable, with no warning from the Airbnb host. He offered no compensation, which was dissappointing. It was a good thing we spent most of the day away from the apartment.
Fall Semester 2022
Here we go again! Our 8 Suitcases have been whittled down to 4 suitcases as we take a four month world trip with our two youngest kids, Megan and Jacob. From Canada to Europe to islands in the Indian Ocean and finally to South Africa, from Sep to Dec 2022, here are our travels and experiences.