Rovinj, Croatia, to Ljubljana, Slovenia, to Bled, Slovenia
We were leaving our island paradise and heading for Slovenia, the final one of the seven countries on our trip. We breakfasted lightly. As I did yesterday, I enjoyed polenta with chocolate sauce, while Nick ate cake. We were both wide awake for the bus ride. This was one of the few times on the trip that our passports were stamped. And it was raining again.
We were to have what was billed as a “tour of Ljubljana with snacks.” We met our local guide, Mattea, who indicated the locations of places of interest as well as places to shop for specific items. Ljubljana is a city of bridges. It begins with the Triple Bridge at which three bridges connect and intersect. In previous centuries, the town’s cobblers supported the construction of the Cobblers’ Bridge, and the town’s butchers, the Butchers’ Bridge. The most iconic of the bridges is the Dragon Bridge. Built in 1888, there is a statue of a dragon on each of its four corners.
Our first snack was smoked sausage with mustard and horseradish that we ate at one of the many outdoor cafes. Then we went on to what Mattea called “a cow,” actually a machine from which milk could be bought 24/7. Mattea intended to take us into the church, but there was no entry except for those attending mass. The door was relatively new, because it had a likeness of John Paul II on it.
We tasted the next snack and were asked to guess what it was. It was covered with breadcrumbs, fried, and tasted like chicken. “Frog’s legs!” I shouted. I was right.
We walked on to the daily fruit and vegetable market. Our next snack was a kind of cake that featured layers of cottage cheese, apples, and poppy seeds.
We had some free time to explore on our own, but the rain kept us from wanting to stray too far. We ducked into a recommended pastry shop and found that many of our group were there as well. We saw a friend eating something spectacular: Black Forest Gateau with cherries and chocolate. We said, “We’ll have what she’s having.” It was fabulous!
Back on the bus, we left Ljubljana and proceeded toward Bled, but first, we made a stop in a village called Zabreznica to visit beekeepers. We saw the entire beekeeping operation, which included a magnificent replica of a historic beehive that had a hand-thatched roof. We tasted five kinds of honey, from very light to strong, and one mixed with chocolate. We learned that bread with honey and chocolate was a typical breakfast in the area.
On the bus once again, we continued on to Hotel Lovec in Bled. We decided to go to the restaurant next door for dinner where we joined another couple from our group. One of the specialties of the area was prosciutto served with melon. While it wasn’t prosciutto di Parma, which which we are very familiar, it was still quite good. For our main courses, Nick ordered tagliatelli with truffles, and he was amazed at the quantity of delicious fungi on his plate. I ordered a spinach pancake with cheese, which looked more like a bowl of spinach covered with cheese that had been put under the broiler. This may sound weird, but I loved it. One good thing about having dinner next door to our hotel is that it was just a few steps back to our room.