Five Weeks in the Former Yugoslovia

May 12th, 2019, 12:05 PM
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yestravel-It is crazy that we seem to follow in your footsteps. Maybe one of these times, we will get someplace before you (or maybe we have? I can't remember if you have been to Myanmar?). Anyway-we are off to Slovenia on Friday. I am loving your trip report. We will have three nights in Bovec and three nights in Ljubljana- not enough I am sure but then we are off to the Netherlands for eight more to see friends and family.
Have a hotel booked with points outside of the city center but am considering grabbing an airbnb instead. Was the parking really difficult? It appears to have been costly! Any favorite restaurants? If I am not mistaken, wasn't it you all who ate avocados and salmon everyday in Chilean Patagonia?
odie1 is offline  
May 12th, 2019, 12:47 PM
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Got to love those statues. possibly worth a visit for those alone
annhig is offline  
May 12th, 2019, 12:49 PM
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Your pictures are wonderful. I have not been anywhere near the former Yugoslavia but learned I do like Slovenian wine a few years ago in a wine bar in San Fran (Dobro!).

It's a great trip report - glad you all are having a great time.
denisea is offline  
May 12th, 2019, 01:06 PM
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Olde-too funny! Yes, we went to Myanmar in 2014. When did you go? Parking in ljubliana, just costly as you surmised. Google “parking Ljubljana” and see where the garages and lots are. We parked in a lot, Nuk, that wasn’t bad, ~€17 a day. That shuttle service is great if you’re staying in the historic district. You call and they come get you. Traffic isn’t bad at all. It’s a small city and easily walkable.
On the food tour they took us to a new place trying to push “fast food.” It was really good sausage and I’m not a sausage lover, it’s called KLOBASARNA. The food was uniformly good wherever we ate, but nothing outstanding. Lolita’s had good cakes and pastries. And yes, we ate salmon and avocados all the time in Chile. Have a great trip.

ann, if you’re into statues this is the country for you.

denise-thanks! The wines have been uniformly good and well priced to boot. Glad to hear you can get Slovenian wine in the States. I’ve never had it there, but will certainly be looking for it. Dobro is the only word we can say and it does come in handy! Actually anyone under 40 speaks English and they are super nice.

yestravel is offline  
May 12th, 2019, 07:00 PM
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Hello from Yerevan. Totally understand how you had one impression of Ljubljana when it was pouring and a different one when the sun came out to play. I find myself doing that often.
tripplanner001 is offline  
May 12th, 2019, 11:20 PM
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Enjoying this thread [who wouldn't!], and the number of statues in Ljubljana caught me eye.

I was there a few weeks ago, albeit only for the day. Beautiful Old Town.....but on the subject of statues you want to visit Skopje, the capital of Macedonia....

....a Theme Park of statues.
LancasterLad is offline  
May 13th, 2019, 04:08 AM
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Sounds (and looks) like a great city to explore! So true that everything looks and feels better with a little sun on it! Take heart that weather is similar here in DC at moment. Rained most of weekend and was cool. Great reporting as always.
glover is offline  
May 15th, 2019, 06:42 AM
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Tp- should be an interesting time in Armenian. I’m getting into the incredible cloud formations.

Loving the cloud formations in the absence of sunny days.

LL- you are making Macedonia more and more appealing.

glover- I keep hearing DC weather is wet and cool. Weird weather everywhere.
yestravel is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 10:20 PM
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I love the photo. Definitely heard about the rain back in DC, and unusually cold too. Weather in Armenia was perfect - 75 and sunny. Tbilisi, Georgia, is 85 and sunny but feels closer to the low 90s.
tripplanner001 is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 11:21 PM
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Breakfast this morning
TP-there has been some freak storms here, but I hope we finally turned a corner and will have better weather. Harbor in Rovinj
yestravel is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 06:18 AM
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An Ill Advised Adventure into the Alps
We left sunny, warm Ljubljana and headed north to the Logar valley in the Kamnik Alps. Our drive took us through several typical alpine villages with their onion dome churches and roadside shrines. We stopped for lunch in Luce and chatted with the owner. Our first premonition of what lay ahead came when the owner rolled his eyes at the mention of the name of our lodging. I had selected lodging on the top of a mountain seeking a spectacular view in spring weather, perhaps naively. Alarmed I asked, “what’s wrong with it?” Our new friend shrugged and replied, it’s just not near anything. That’s fine by us as we like isolation.

Our pleasant afternoon drive slowly deteriorated as we climbed into the mountains. Temperatures dropped. The roads narrowed and were under construction. In some places roads had been partially washed away. We became a little concerned but forged ahead. We reached our turnoff. Now the fun was a muddy, gravel road with snow lining the shoulders and down the mountain.

After two kilometers we hit a mud patch and gottravel gunned the car through fearing getting stuck. After another km and half of driving on a narrow road next to precipitatious drop off we finally arrived at our destination. What more could go wrong? We were greeted by a braying donkey, practically ran over the owner and spotted multiple pairs of children’s boots. Our lodging was indeed remote, high on a ridge top, overlooking a partially snow covered valley. The owner cheerfully informed us it had snowed 40 centimeters, about 16 inches, a couple days ago. Much of the snow had melted and left mud everywhere. We tiptoed thru the mud to the Pension and checked in and it was time to check out the area of the KamnikAlps.
We headed out, skidded again across the mudslide and headed higher into the alps. As we traveled up vegetation and guard rails became increasingly rare, but the views were stunning if nerve wracking. Shortly we arrived in barren, black mountains with snow filled crevices. We turned a curve and arrived at a defunct border station. We had inadvertently crossed into Austria! We drove on a bit, but the sheer drop offs and absence of guardrails unnerved even gottravel. In addition the sky had darkened and it appeared a storm might be on its way. We had a hair raising turnaround on a road slightly wider than a double bed.
We decided to head for lower altitudes and visit the Logar Valley Landscape park, “a place of peace and harmony.” Entry fee was €7. The Park started as a small, wide valley and narrowed as you reached the far end. Despite it being nearly empty we saw none of the touted wildlife. It pretty much looked like the area outside the park that you could drive for free. Afterwards, we returned to our lodging.

We faced a decision. We had booked for one more night, but bad weather - heavy rain - was coming and we had a feeling that we’d exhausted the local possibilities. We pulled out our maps and iPads. We searched for rain free alternatives, even including places as far afield as Trieste, Italy. After some debate, we settled for Piran on the Slovenian coast. We’d heard good things about this Slovenian beach town and the weather looked stunning for the following afternoon. We selected hotel possibilities and gave the kindly owner the news that we were leaving a day early. We’d paid in advance and were uncertain as to whether we’d receive a refund for the night we weren’t staying - not that it mattered, we wanted out.

Dinner that evening was a private affair - nobody else was foolish enough to have driven up there in the face of past and future inclement weather. The owner was out and we were served by her mother in law, who spoke nary a word of English. At one point, we had to request spoons - we looked up the word on line and gottravel’s pronunciation brought big smiles to her face. Our first course was a tasty soup, our second traditional cheese-filled dumplings with a fresh asparagus sauce. Desert was a dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce. All were good, all the ingredients (other than the chocolate) had been grown on site.

The following morning we began packing the car, only to discover that the left front tire was partially flat. After some panicked conferring with the owner, she arranged for her husband to reinflate the tire and contacted a garage down the mountain near Luče for us to stop at for repairs.

Before breakfast, the owner showed us her storage room for farm cheese and meats, a large underground room with several types of cheeses aging on racks, and numerous salamis and hams hanging from the ceiling. We were impressed. Breakfast itself was excellent and immense: Three types of cured meats, three types of cheese, three types of fruit flavored yogurt, bread, paté, home made jams, home made honey, coffee. There was an offer of eggs or pancakes that I refused. Again, almost everything was from the farm.

After breakfast we profusely thanked them for taking care of the tire, and the owner mentioned that she would refund me the money once she figured out how to deal with as she had not done that previously.

Off we went down the mountain, on the mud slick, half eroded roads in search of the garage in Luče about 20 km down the mountain. Once we found it, in less than 10 minutes the cheerful mechanic pulled out a stone of all and plugged the tire for the grand sum of €10. We looked at each other and swore off gravel roads.

if you’re looking for an isolated, simple pansion with helpful, friendly owners I can recommend Kmetija Marti in Slocava.

Last edited by yestravel; May 17th, 2019 at 06:32 AM.
yestravel is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 06:36 AM
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Alpine Village



Last edited by yestravel; May 17th, 2019 at 06:40 AM.
yestravel is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 01:26 PM
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that looks fun - if a tad chilly. and the pancakes would definitely be on my menu!
annhig is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 08:45 PM
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Glad your travails did not turn into anything more. The photos of the mountains are beautiful though.
tripplanner001 is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 01:39 AM
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Your description is wonderful and hysterical at the same time even though I already knew the ending!!
alison is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 02:43 AM
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Yestravel- Thanks, very much enjoying this. Heading to Slovenia/Croatia for 17 nights in September, so timely and enjoyable.

I've bookmarked snippets from this forum over the years, and recently Karenwo? and yourself planning this trip, I had even more stuff to read. So much fun to read through various threads when you decide where to stay.

We were in Osijek 2 years ago on a Vantage Danube cruise. Stood for 45 minutes in the central square, and the guide pointed at things, then a few minutes to buy stuff from the few vendors who were out. Pretty pointless, but it came after visiting with a family who had been displaced from their nearby home during the war. The family of Serbs who lived there for 7 years saved the Croat family pictures and religious items. When the Croats were allowed to visit their homes 5 years after they were displaced, they were given these things...2 years later they were able to return and rebuild.

We docked overnight in Vukovar, I was off the ship early, and headed up to the water tower. It had been a symbol of the Croat resistance, it was blasted throughout the war. It was amazing that it still stood, a big thing with a restaurant in it, still scared. The nearby church that lost it's roof had been rebuilt.

We later went to visit the church on the day's tour...but they didn't get to see the peacocks strutting about the place like I did at 0730!
bdokeefe is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 02:05 PM
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Love your report and photos about your misadventures in the Alps. The drive sounds scary!!!!
KarenWoo is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 11:39 PM
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Fabulous Plitvice National Park
Annhig-chilly has been a constant companion this trip☹️

Tp- mountains were indeed beautiful. It was amazing how much taller and how much more snow was in Austria. It looked like mid winter there.

Alison-glad you’re enjoying and following along despite knowing the outcome.

bdokeefe- fascinating story. Too bad you didn’t have more opportunities to explore Osjek. Glad you took matters in your own hands as you moved on.

karen- I hope your surgery is over and a success! I love driving in the mountains, but the snow and mud and lack of anything but a sheer drop next to the car was daunting, If I recall you are staying at Plitvice Miric? If so, when you book your online tickets for the park go for Entrance 2 as it’s closet to Plitvice Miric. Entrance 1 is only 5-8 minutes down the road and that’s the one we used not knowing which one to book. Also if you can I would try to go as early as possible even at 8 when it opens. It was incredibly crowded when we departed around 11 am. A quick peek above at what you will see.

yestravel is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 11:42 PM
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Simply stunning!
tripplanner001 is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 12:03 AM
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There is so much water in Plitvice at the moment... I saw some video of the above scene that yestravel posted, and it was craaaaaaazy.... they closed the park except for the upper path one day last week, so ticket holders either got a 10 minute walk with a view or a refund. And there is still a lot of rain in the forecast. Even in Dalmatia.
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