In Hungary (and, it seems, in many of the surrounding countries), May 1st is a national holiday. It sounds like it’s the equivalent to Labor Day in the U.S. When holidays in Hungary fall on a Tuesday, as this one did, the Monday before is also given as a holiday (usually with a “working Saturday” scheduled sometime before or after this to make up for the lost day). This meant that we had a nice 4-day weekend together, and we decided to make it our first trip together since we moved here. Richie’s had a few guys’ weekends, and I took a ladies’ daytrip to Vienna, but until this weekend we hadn’t actually travelled together at all!
Since Richie is working here, and I’m not, trip planning landed on my plate. People who have travelled with me before know that this is not my area of expertise. Literally every trip I’ve gone on has had an itinerary planned entire by someone else. I didn’t even plan any weekend trips during the study abroad program I did in the summer before my junior year of college – I just asked what other people were planning and said, “That sounds fun, mind if I tag along?” I like to claim it’s my easy-going, low maintenance nature, but if Richie were reading this he’d probably snort and say that it’s because I don’t like to make decisions. I’ll meet him halfway on that and say it’s a combination of both 🙂
Luckily for both of us, we already had a Rick Steves book on Croatia and Slovenia that we had bought for our May 2011 vacation with the Bowmans, so planning our trip to Ljubljana and Lake Bled was a breeze. Plus, we have lots of friends that have taken trips there, so I sent out a few emails for suggestions. A few clicks on Expedia later and we had hotel reservations in both cities. Pressing the button on my own made me really nervous, so I e-mailed Richie about 2-3 times just to make sure he was okay with the choices I’d made. I’m probably going to have to work on that.
Both of the hotels we selected allow dogs, so we decided to make it a “family” trip, especially since the main fun in Lake Bled is walking around the lake and enjoying the beautiful lake and mountain views. We figured the dogs would be in heaven with all of the sights and smells, and we were definitely right. They wore themselves out chasing ducks and swans and people. As in Hungary, Lexie was a big hit. Apparently standard poodles are popular in all cultures, because we had several people from Italy, from Slovenia itself, and from Japan coming up to us to ask if they could pet her.
Our trip was not without its (small) hiccups. We have a GPS, but due to difficulty in getting the GPS to recognize that we’re not in the US anymore, Richie had also printed out directions from Google maps, and we were primarily following those. All was well until we hit the border between Slovenia and Hungary. Google told us to keep left at the fork just after crossing the border and to follow signs for the A1. Well – no such fork or signs existed, so we kept traveling on the A5 – which is what we needed to do all along, as there is no connection to the A1 there – but it was a tense twenty or thirty minutes while we tried to figure out where we’d gone wrong and what to do next. Luckily, the GPS chose that moment to start working properly, so we made it to Ljubljana without incident after that.
I could go on for days about how beautiful Slovenia is, but that would be really boring, so I’ll just let you peruse the photos I took 🙂 That link has all the pictures from my camera, so be forewarned that there are probably 50 photos that look exactly the same of the lake and the island. As you’ll see, we had perfect weather for our vacation – it was sunny, with a nice light breeze during the day and temperatures in the low 70s most of the time. I still haven’t converted my mind to Celcius. We’ll get there one day, probably right before we move back to the US.
And now it’s time to start planning our next trip! We are going to try to do approximately 1 per month, of course depending on Richie’s work schedule, so we’ll mix in small weekend trips with larger vacations. Our next destination will probably be Poland, specifically Krakow and perhaps another city. Since it’s not far, we will likely go see Auschwitz. I’m not looking forward to that, as it will be really difficult to see, but I think it’s important to remember and honor those that died there. If anyone has suggestions on Poland sites to see or things to do, please let us know.
With that, I’ll leave you with my favorite picture from the trip. I’m not as good a photographer as Richie is, but the camera he gave me for Christmas makes me look okay 🙂