Did we visit Slovenia? I think we did. We might’ve visited Slovenia, but to say we have truly explored the nation would be a stretch. We set headquarters in Salzburg, Austria, and the plan was to first visit a few nice sites in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, then take a few more photos of the beautiful churches on the way. Then we would tour around Split, spending the night there. When we returned, we would first stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park, and then at Lake Bled, a picturesque lake with an island church in the middle.
And we were off. Our first mistake was waking up late. To complete our schedule, we would have to leave by 4:00. We left around 6:00. We drove through Slovenia, photographing it on the way. We saw churches, as well as the countryside landscape. It was clearly a beautiful place. We ate at a mall near the border after photographing churches near the Croatian border, and then went to cross the borders, but we forgot a paper at the mall. Croatia is one of the newest members of the EU. Therefore it has its own currency, the Kuna, and isn’t part of the Schengen zone, which is why we needed the papers in the first place. We had to go back to get the papers, and luckily, we were let into Croatia.
Which was a whole ordeal in itself. Split was amazing, and things were running smoothly (except for a delay in the morning, because we needed to photograph the beautiful view from our Airbnb) until we visited Plitvice Lakes National Park. To make a long story short, my dad fell into mud during a hike (it rained when we hiked), until he was waist-deep in mud when someone pulled him out. Unfortunately, the mud pulled the shoe in, and so my dad had to return home barefoot.
Because my dad lost his shoes, we needed to get new ones, and so we crossed the border, and shopped in Slovenia. But by now, it was nearing the end of the day, and we still hadn’t reached Lake Bled. Persevering towards Lake Bled would be pointless. In the end, we decided to return home to Salzburg, as we had activities planned for the next day. We decided to simply take photos in Ljubljana, and return to the Airbnb.
So perhaps we didn’t have the most exciting or action-filled trip, and perhaps we didn’t see much (except for a few malls), but we did learn a few lessons.
- Visiting Lake Bled: Instead of stopping by on the way to Salzburg, our plan to visit Lake Bled in 2020 was more solid. Visiting Lake Bled as a day trip would reduce the risks we ran during our visit to Slovenia, and the lake definitely deserves more than a few hours of photography. Unfortunately, our plans were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Slovenia is a different experience when compared to the rest of former Yugoslavia. It is the richest country in the group (GDP per capita), and when leaving Yugoslavia, it had a peaceful exit. Compare Slovenia to Austria, not Serbia.