Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Koper, Slovenia

We woke up fairly early on Tuesday morning since we had an early tour scheduled to see Slovenia. We were very excited for the day's adventures, but started to worry a little when we stepped out on our balcony and saw this:

The weather was not looking so great. We got ready and headed down to the gangway to leave the ship. A few people had already gotten off, but just as we were ready to go, the wind picked up and they closed the gangway because it was too dangerous to go down it with the wind. The cool sites we were going to visit and our planned adventures flashed before my eyes. We waited around hoping the wind would die down. Soon they made an announcement over the ship's loudspeaker. The gangway was closed until further notice because of the weather. We continued to wait, hoping and hoping that we could get off the ship.

After what seemed like forever, but was probably closer to 20 minutes or so, the wind died down enough for them to open up the gangway and we were off! We met up with our tour guides and headed off to the first stop on our itinerary, Lake Bled and Bled Castle. We hoped the weather would improve as we got closer to our destination. The scenery while driving was absolutely gorgeous. There were little towns nestled into the hills and they all had a little white church with a tall, black steeple. Very picturesque. At last we arrived at Lake Bled and continued to be impressed with Slovenia. The weather was a little better. It was absolutely freezing, but the rain and wind had stopped and the sun was making serious efforts to break through. We drove around the lake, stopping in a couple of places to take pictures.

Look at how cold we look:

The building on the hill in this next picture is Bled Castle and that's where we were headed. You can see the snow on the mountains in the background. I'm telling you - we were freezing! Our guide told us that it was way colder than normal and that just the day before temperatures were up in the 70s and it was sunny and beautiful.

In spite of the chilly weather, we were having a great time and thoroughly enjoying the beautiful countryside as we made our way up to the castle. And as we enjoyed the spectacular views from the castle, the sun came out and warmed us up.

You can even see in this panoramic that Mr. Frisby took how the clouds were still moving back and only part of the landscape was sunny.

One of the great things about traveling with other people is that it's so easy to find someone to take a picture of you. Here we are at Bled Castle:

And here is the view from the other side of the castle. Not too shabby. We were seriously liking Slovenia.

After leaving the castle, we made one more quick photo stop along the lake.

Then it was off to Vintgar Gorge. From the pictures we had seen, we were really excited. But, because of the weather and our late start, we were short on time. We had to shorten our visit and could only walk part way through the gorge. The abbreviated version was still gorge-ous. Pun intended.

After our short hike through Vintgar Gorge, we headed to a small medieval village called Radovljica to have lunch and to tour a gingerbread museum. We were supposed to eat lunch in the restaurant where the gingerbread museum was located, but when we got there, the man in charge told us it wasn't open for lunch that day. He said he would still give us a tour of the museum and to head downstairs. When we got downstairs and saw the very small museum,

we opted to skip it and just poke around the town instead. The weather had improved dramatically and we enjoyed checking out the town without jackets and scarves.

We went to another restaurant for a quick lunch and Stella thoroughly enjoyed Aunt Julie's Fanta.

After lunch, we headed back to Koper. Our guides said that if we got back with enough time, they would give us a quick tour of the city before we had to be back on the ship. It was during the drive back that Mr. Frisby realized that, while he had remembered to pack his suit and tie for the formal nights on the cruise, he had not remembered a white shirt. Since the first formal night was that evening, our primary goal upon arriving back in Koper was to find him a shirt. Our guide said she would point out some good stores for us. We got back and went for a short walk through Koper with our guides.

After walking through the old part of town, our guides took us to a store called OVS (or Oviesse - both were correct) where they said Mr. Frisby could probably find a shirt. They told us how to get back to the ship from there, we parted ways, and then Mr. Frisby and I dashed into the store to see what we could find. We were able to get a nice, white shirt, in his size, on sale. And a new tie on sale to boot. Our guides were great!

We then headed back to the ship and enjoyed our first formal night on the cruise. I think we all agreed that Slovenia was awesome. We loved it and I could easily go back and spend more time there. However, it was a very full and busy day and after four very full and busy days in Venice, we needed a little bit of a break. Thank goodness our next port was a little more low-key.


Dalene said...

I love walking through your vacation with you. You guys did SO much. With a two year old! You're amazing! Our friends just went to Slovenia and loved it (he served his mission there) and now I see why. BEA-Utiful!

MomandDad said...

Good shots of Slovenia and good memories. A beautiful country.

Sharon said...

Super beautiful. I think this is the part of your trip that appeals to me most!