A cold (but not white) Christmas

This was Bryony’s first ever Christmas away from her family, but luckily the house full of new friends kept us from feeling lonely. Sarah had found an enormous house on air b&b – there were 12 of us and we all fitted into beds with only 2 on a fold out couch. There were 3 bathrooms and 2 kitchens which came in really useful for preparing the food on Christmas day. After a chilled out breakfast and nearly everyone skyping their family at home we set out on a walk to find some ‘snow’. Unfortunately there wasn’t actually any snow around, but the hoar frost in the icy places definitely looked like it.

Bryony and Tam bonded over crafting and made a wreath to decorate the Christmas table while Sarah and Cherie coordinated the Christmas dinner. In the background was plenty of beer and wine being drunk, and Love Actually and Knotting Hill being watched. It was a really cozy day, and we definitely didn’t dwell on being so far from home.

On boxing day we crammed into the cars (which without prior planning actually came with 2 extra fold out seats in the back for James and I) and drove about half an hour to Lake Bled. Sarah and Bryony ran around the lake, Nicole and James (not the blog hero, another James) up a large mountain in the background and everyone else enjoyed a walk at a leisurely pace. The whole place was packed with tourists, but you could see why. It was stunning and we were lucky to be there on a clear, calm day. It reminded us a little bit of Queenstown, especially the parking chaos.

Everyone except James and I were up bright and early to drive to Ljubljana and fly back to London. We took our time and caught our last ride with the friendly taxi man to Bohinjska Bistrica before taking the 2 hour bus in to Ljubljana. While we were waiting for the bus one of the woman who worked on the ski field spotted us and came and said hello and wished us well for the rest of our trip.

christmas-view-from-the-house

Our Air b&b host met us at the bus station in Ljubljana and helped us with our luggage to the apartment. Because everyone was flying with only carry on luggage we inherited the two big bags of leftover food which included 2 enormous cauliflowers so we had some strange meals! Robert was a super friendly man who bought us a coffee on the way to the apartment to talk about our travels and made certain we had everything we needed.

Ljubljana is a really interesting city, and the first city we’ve visited where we’ve been able to afford to do some of the touristy things like visiting museums. James chose the railway museum where we saw a huge shed full of old trains, as well as a display about the history and workings of trains in Slovenia. We also visited the contemporary history museum which covered Slovenian history from 1914 onwards. It was a well structured exhibition, although our unfamiliarity with European historical geography sometimes makes it hard to follow. There was a smaller display about very recent history of schooling, partying and holidaying which was especially interesting. We also visited the big brewery for a tour since we’d drunk so many Lasko during our trip. It was an interesting tour, especially the huge automated chilled storage warehouse.

One evening before dinner we walked up to the castle on the hill overlooking the city. There was a great view and although we didn’t pay to go inside the castle we walked around the outside to see the old walls. Back in the city there was a parade for Saint Nicholas (who is associated with the New Year in Slovenia we think) complete with a marching band, lots of people dressed as forest animals and a strange fairy thing plonking big silver globes onto people heads as they walked past.

We absolutely loved Slovenia, and plan to return with our bikes as soon as we can. The scenery is outstanding and everyone we met was so friendly. In fact the only grumpy person we met the whole time we were there was the German bus driver who picked us up for the ride to Vienna.

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