Dobrodošli v Sloveniji! (Welcome to Slovenia)

 Dobrodošli v Sloveniji! (Welcome to Slovenia)
 
 
What you build easily will fall quickly.
-Slovenian Proverb

 

The minute we crossed the Croatia-Slovenia border on the train, I knew I was in a special place: Looking out the window, I watched stretches of rural farmland and pristine forests pass, interjected by remarkably green streams of water; Swiss-like chalets dotted the landscape and picturesque villages with towering central churches popped up every so often.  We had arrived in Slovenia.

Prior to planning a quick stop in Slovenia, I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know much about the country.  This is a tourist destination that definitely flies under the radar, and I have no idea why.  Slovenia is beautiful, cultured, affordable, pet-friendly, and green (it was recently declared the world's first "green" country).  This is particularly true of its canal-sliced capital, Ljubljana, whose city symbol is interestingly a dragon.  There, the food was delicious, the local shopping was good, and the people were friendly.  Being December, the car-free city center was packed with locals celebrating the Christmas season with hot spiced wine from the booths that lined the streets.  Life doesn't get better than this.

 

 

Ljubljana Castle:

This is one not to miss, as there is something for everyone on this hilltop attraction.  The castle features interesting exhibits for all ages, the best views of the city, historic artifacts, restaurant options, and even great shopping.  The Museum of Puppetry was downright adorable, and it was nice to know that the site allows dogs (I believe with a muzzle).  Fun fact: Recently, puppetry in Slovenia and Czechia were inscribed to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 

National Museum of Slovenia:

Beautiful gallery with drool-worthy interior architectural details and interesting exhibits.  Bonus: It's dog-friendly.

 

National Gallery of Slovenia:

This museum was about to close when we arrived, so we only did a cursory run-through of the galleries.  And boy did we have to run, because it just went on and on, then on some more.  Art-lovers will be at home here, and the rear of the building features a large modern addition as well as an interesting enclosed, park-y like area where the spectacular Robba Fountain was moved in 2008 to protect it from the elements.