Friday, December 9, 2011

oooohhh brrrr Ljubljana!

as I mentioned in earlier posts - when we went through a long tunnel between Zadar and Zagreb we changed climatic zones and left Mediterranean and went to continental - and lost easily 40 to 45 degrees of warmth!

but we sucked it up and went out for a nice dinner with four members of our group who were not going on to Slovenia and the next day boarded a bus for the transfer to Ljubljana Slovenia our base for exploring little Slovenia (so small you can't play the accordion in the country without invading a neighboring country- LOL)

it is cold and beautiful as we take our first stroll in lovely Ljubljana.  from now on I will simply write LJU for it since it is a tough one to type- reminiscent of Salzburg- there is a fortress/castle that looms over the old town.  the old town is now mainly a pedestrian zone and there are numerous cafes along the river that runs through town.  when the weather is warm here, this place must be overrun with tourists - it is absolutely a gem of a city.

a warm cream of mushroom soup (below) at a cozy restaurant (above)

in the three full days we had - we went to the Postojna caves and Predjama castle along with a day trip to Lake Bled - a beautiful setting fogged in with seasonal fog -

 after our trip to the island in Lake Bled we headed to a nearby town where we had a hearty lunch of sausages and a cute restaurant and also got to see a famous old cookie making operation...


these cookies are a perfect fit with the new Slovenia tourism ad campaign- I FEEL sLOVEnia with the LOVE written in large font- I hope it doesn't work too well as this lovely little country is worth returning to - especially before the hordes of tourists discover it!

a last night in LJU

then we were off the next day for our return flight to the US - arriving home at 8PM on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving... needless to say - we were asleep on Thanksgiving evening by 9PM... LOL - oh well - there's always next year...

but one final photo of the beautiful and mystical Lake Bled-

a fabulous getaway to celebrate my retirement... but more to come- as we plan our 2012 year of travel- I have trips with Jennifer (danger zone- Tunisia- Egypt- SARS travel buddy) to Cuba... alone to Bolivia and Colombia - with Phil to the Greek Islands and with Tom and Phil to New Zealand and Australia--- plus we want to squeeze in a Europe trip in the late spring and of course NYC as well - time flies - who has time to work? So watch this space for more travel news and fun retirement stuff.

as a matter of fact- I read yesterday in the AARP magazine in an article called Spend Now & Retire Later (?) that you cannot plan on retiring and then maybe returning to the work force as retirement is addicting-- tell me about it!


Zadar is a beautiful port - former Roman outpost and Venetian city and home to two of my favorite things on the trip.  along the lovely waterfront the city has created two art installations that are magical.

the first is called the Sea Organ and it is a series of pipes built under the waterfront that turns the wave motion of the water into an organ- it is so cool to hear - even on a calm day (like we had) it has the sound of the sea - something like the recordings you can hear of whale sounds.  And nearby is a visual installation called Greetings to the Sun.  it is a large disk set into the terrace that is covered with photocells which gather energy during the day and then play a beautiful light show beginning at sundown.

here are a few photos:

the town itself is lovely and although the pedestrian only old city was once an island it is now connected at one end to the newer parts of town (making it a peninsula at this point)

we enjoyed a lunch in town at a very nice place where we had risottos as mains and a lovely starter of local proscut and cheeses (for a change- LOL)

we were invited to the captain's table for farewell dinner so we couldn't consider eating our last meal off the ship-- and we were promised entertainment- LOL and before we leave the trip I wanted to add a few photos from our visit to the Bridge- and one last photo of our little ship docked along the quay in one of our ports.

tomorrow we will be headed to Zagreb for more than half of the two groups to get flights home to the US and Canada but 18 of us are going on to Slovenia for four nights.  so farewell to the main trip and on to the extension- Slovenia, a new country for me, Phil and my mom!