A Castle and a Park

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I have some photos for you, dear readers, because we took a day trip to Bistra Castle, which houses the Technical Museum of Slovenia. The castle was apparently founded in the 13th century by Carthusian monks!

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The castle has very pretty grounds complete with a river spring that powered their mills, an artificial pond overgrown with algae so it looks even more romantic (and it has ducks!) and an avenue of trees.

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We had a snack on a shaded park bench, wandered around the halls featuring crafts like woodworking and blacksmithing, and admired cars made long before we were born.

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There’s something steampunkish to these old machines, don’t you agree? I pretended they were used for much cooler stuff than paving roads or pulling train carriages. What would be the use for these two, do you think?

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Several years ago, we visited the Munich Technological Museum, which is so huge you can’t get through all the collections in one day. This one was much more manageable and even Kiddo admired the machines (making brrm-brrm sounds and pointing with his chubby fingers) and didn’t get annoyed at all.

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I made A. take a picture of me here because I thought it was the most beautiful path I’d seen in a while. There’s something serene in the ivy- and moss-covered tree trunks and the light was nice. (Can you see that I cut my hair? It’s quite short now!)

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Did you know magnolias made such freaky fruits? I Googled “magnolia fruit” and came up with even more interesting results but I was very surprised by this bulbous thingy. My grandparents (and my mother-in-law) have a magnolia bush in their garden but it never made this.

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See? Very pretty. I think we’ll be returning here for more strolls and perhaps a picnic once Kiddo is older and able to walk on his own (and once he’s old enough to understand he’s not supposed to touch the exhibits… that might take a while). The following photo, I think, shows the best view we encountered. I heard people get married here, which must be magical.

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If you’d like to see more castles we visited, try this and this and this!

Do you have a favourite museum? Is it technical or artsy? 

Do you prefer day trips or long vacations?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • SO beautiful. Great photos! I love castles so much – I’ve always secretly longed to live in a house with a turret. I wish the States had castles at least to visit:(. I guess it just gives me an excuse to get back to Europe one of these days!

    • Thanks, Stephanie! :) Ohh yes, I’d love to live in a house with a turret – and I’d use the turret for a library/reading room with a very comfy armchair. The States have plenty of other attractions, though! I wish I could visit your side of the Atlantic, too!

  • This looks so beautiful! I’ve never been to a castle before, it is certainly on my bucket list.

    • Thanks! :) We have quite a few of them in Slovenia, though they mostly belonged to Austrian nobles who ruled these lands up until the 19th century (well, or they were owned by religious orders like this one).

  • Maraia

    Wow, what a nice place to walk around. It looks like you picked the perfect day for it. I’m sorry I didn’t know about Bistra Castle when I was in Slovenia. I’m not a huge fan of museums, but those old machines do look pretty cool, and of course the grounds are gorgeous.

    Hmm. If I’m going to go through all the effort of packing and flying or driving somewhere, I like to stay for a while. But a day trip that requires no more than an hour or two to get there is perfectly nice, too. I do appreciate sleeping in my own bed. :)

    (I’m glad you mentioned your haircut, because I thought it might be weird to ask, haha.)

    • Bistra is not exactly the first touristic thing you find about when you come to Slovenia, there are other castles and nature sights you visit first, obviously. But it’s just 20min from Ljubljana, so it’s great for a day trip. Oh, by the way, “bistra” means “clear” (like clear water) :)

      Yeah, I prefer my own bed, too! :) But we’ve decided to go to Lille (France) in October, which I’m REALLY excited about. A. has a conference there and Kiddo and I are tagging along. It will be our first trip by plane since Kiddo, so I’m a bit worried about that, but we have to start travelling at some point. And it only takes about an hour by plane + 30 mins by train to get there, which is awesome.

      Ha, no, don’t feel weird about asking stuff like that :) It was REALLY hot when I came to the hairdressers’ and I told him to please take the hot hair away because I was melting. I mean, I’d been thinking about cutting it short before but I didn’t know that was the day until I was sitting in the chair. :) It’s not THAT big of a change though, you can see my hair wasn’t very long before (in the profile pic).

      • Maraia

        Oh, that is the perfect distance. You could even go for an afternoon walk without feeling obligated to stay the whole day. Thanks for the translation! That’s pretty. :)

        I just googled Lillie – it looks really nice! It think the trip will be great. If it makes you feel better, I went on my first plane ride at 6 weeks old. I think you’re right that you have to start at some point, and I imagine starting is the hardest point. You’ll appreciate it later if your kid is a natural at traveling!

        Hahaha, that’s the best reason to cut off all your hair. My first drastic haircut was a result of the exact same situation – I begged my German roommate during study abroad to please just get rid of it. So I understand. Actually, that’s sounding pretty good right now… :D

        • Yeah, that’s our line of thinking, too – the sooner we get him used to travelling, the better. I know there will be some bumps and crying along the way, but I hope he’ll enjoy most of the trip (they supposedly have a nice zoo, which might win him over) ;)

          But your hair is so long now, isn’t it? I don’t think I could go for SUCH a change – I went step by step, not that my hair was ever super-long. I went from a bit past the shoulders to a bob and then short. It gave me time to adjust, I think! :)

          • Maraia

            I would definitely take advantage of your son being young enough to fly for free. (Maybe a nice trip to Michigan? ;D) I’m actually surprised at how little crying babies do on planes. They’re hardier than we expect. I love going to zoos when traveling! I hope you go. Do you have a zoo in Ljubljana?

            It’s hard to tell how long my hair is (or what color), to be honest. It gets curlier the longer it grows, so it always ends up seeming the same length. I still don’t think of it as particularly long (my mom has what I would consider long hair), but I guess it probably is by most standards. When I got my first real haircut after my 18th birthday, I got about 12 inches cut off, and NO ONE COULD TELL. It was so disappointing! So I guess if you have straight hair, haircuts look more drastic. Have you ever considered growing your hair out really long? I think it’s so much easier to manage. (That might be another curly hair thing.)

          • OH GOD NO. I really do want to see the great lakes someday but a trans-atlantic flight with Kiddo is only happening if there is absolutely no way to avoid it :D Besides, he’s really not a *baby* anymore, he’s almost walking and only naps once during the day so he’d probably be awake for most of the flight because it would be super-exciting to crawl under the seats or something. NIGHTMARE! :)

            Yep, we have a zoo! It’s pretty nice, the animals look happy and they’re always expanding and building them new, larger pens. But it’s always nice to see other zoos, I loved the ones in Vienna and Munich (which were the only ones I’d visited – but that was pre-Kiddo).

            I consider any length of hair that goes past shoulders/boobs long :) (HOW did we deviate from castles to boob-length hair?!) What do you mean – you got your first REAL haircut when you were 18?? :o I had really short hair when I was 13 and then again when I was 15 – I also dyed it then and kept it dyed for years after, but it’s back to its natural color now.

            Umm and yes, I did consider growing it out but my hair seems to have a finite length before it falls out and renews itself – by which I mean that the longest hair I had was about boob-length :) My hair doesn’t grow very fast but I have tons of short new ones (and lots of fuzz!) so shorter haircuts are much better – and the hair looks happier, too. But I’ve never had to do LESS with my hair than I do now and it looks really good most of the time so I think that the longer-is-better doesn’t really hold for straight hair :)

          • Maraia

            The Great Lakes really are gorgeous. My state is so under-appreciated. But fine, I guess you can wait until he’s older. ;) I’m looking forward to hearing how your flight to France goes. I really think it will be easier than you’re anticipating. (Hopefully no crawling on the disgusting floor.)

            I missed the zoo in Munich, that’s too bad. The only foreign one I can remember visiting is the one in Berlin. The zoo here is also really great about having large enclosures. Of course, it means you often can’t see the animals, but it’s better than going to zoos where all the cages are tiny and you can *tell* the animals are bored out of their minds.

            Hahaha, I love our conversations. My hair is definitely boob-length. So, my grandpa trimmed the tiiiiniest bit off my hair once or twice when I was growing up, but other than that I never had a haircut. I inherited my dad’s insanely slow-growing hair gene, so I was always too scared to cut it. (Plus, the last time he got a haircut, it never grew again, so I was worried about that was well.) Anyway, in retrospect I should have gotten a haircut about 10 years earlier. It was SO much healthier. What color did you dye it? Black for your hard rock phase? ;) The only time I dyed my hair, I used henna because I wanted something natural. I had friends who used it, and it gave their hair a lovely reddish tint. But I didn’t think about the fact that my hair is way lighter, so I ended up with carrot-orange hair for a couple months. Not my finest moment. :P

            I’m picturing your hair going “alright, that’s enough” and all falling out at once to start over. I know they say hair doesn’t really grow faster when you cut it, but it certainly does seem that way!

          • Umm yeah, I dyed my hair dark brown – and also a reddish sort of colour (really dark). It did come out as black a couple of times, you know, when you’re home-dying hair that’s already been dyed? Anyway, I thought my husband (then-boyfriend) really should see me with my natural hair color at least once so I let it grow out (that’s when I chopped half of it off in order to shorten the horrible growing out period!) and I stuck with my natural color! It’s not that bad, really, it suits me better than dark, I think (I’m pale-skinned so black really made me look ultra-white) and my hair’s healthier. Plus it’s cheaper :D

            Ugh, don’t even joke about that. My mom’s hair was terrible after she had me and my brother so I was TERRIFIED I was going to lose half my hair after giving birth. I ate vitamin supplements and that seemed to have helped (I think) because my hair’s normal and all (it looked better during pregnancy, because hair tends to fall out less when you’re pregnant, did you know that? So weird…).

          • Maraia

            I’ve always secretly wanted deep, deep red hair, but I’m too much of a chicken to dye it. It’s nice that you’re keeping it natural. I don’t know why brown hair is considered so boring, anyway. There are so many shades that fall under “brown”, and I think they look quite nice. :) I also like when women let their hair turn grey/silver, rather than dying it some awful, obviously fake color.

            OH NO! That’s really scary. I’ve never heard of women losing hair after pregnancy. It makes sense that it would be healthier during pregnancy, though, just from all the hormones. My mom started losing a ton of hair when she hit menopause, so I’m also a bit worried about that. Her hair was SO long and thick, and now my once thin hair is thicker than hers. It’s weird how that works. I’m glad yours didn’t fall out. Yikes.

          • I think I’ll let my hair turn grey once I get there. My mom was grey really early, like in her late 20s, and she started colouring it. She’s thinking about growing it out, though.

            Eh, I think most of the post-pregnancy hair loss is due to the fact that your scalp is catching up for the 9 previous months – and possibly the hormonal crash makes women freak out more :)

          • Maraia

            I hope she does! At least to give it a try. We’re lucky that neither one of us has super dark hair, which means our grey hairs won’t be as noticeable. People with black or almost-black hair go grey so early.

            By the way, Sarah of The Reading Petal forced me to tell her my favorite blog (this was several days after I had already suggested she read your blog), and even though I hate playing favorites and it made me feel guilty, I had to tell her it’s yours. Based on the fact that we now have 11 comments on this post alone, I hardly think I had much of a choice. ;)

          • Ahh, thank you :) I know, I’d hate to name just one blog as a favourite – I go to several different ones for different things/genres/discussions. Maybe I could make a top 10 list if pressed, but I’d still be unable to put down everyone, I think. This is why I don’t particularly like the tags that are circling around the blogs, you have to “nominate” people and someone always feels left out…

          • Maraia

            Exactly. There isn’t any blog where I can honestly say I read EVERY single post. No one’s ever going to overlap perfectly. The more I talk to the blogger, the more likely I am to like the blog, so narrowing down my favorites is pretty easy. That list is still long, though. I agree about the tags. Not only are they annoying when they take over my Twitter timeline, but you’re right, someone is bound to feel left out. I think there’s already so much blogging angst, so those tags can either make you feel really great or really crappy.

  • I could walk around there ALL DAY! I would love to visit a castle sometime.

    I just Googled “magnolia fruit”, and I will NOT be making a Nutella and magnolia fruit butter sandwich anytime soon.

    • Haha, it’s a pretty small park, so I think walking around it all day would make you dizzy :) But it IS a really nice park so it might be worth it.

      They’re freaky, aren’t they? I was wondering how many people would Google the same thing, it’s weird. I think magnolias are native to someplace warm so they don’t often make fruits here or something.

  • Excuse me, how dare you with these photos. Too gorgeous. Slovenia why are you so far from me?! How cool is it that Kiddo could enjoy the museum (at least on this particular day, haha) and knows to do the brrm brrm noise? Babies and toddlers amaze me.

    I’m a museum and art gallery nut, I absolutely love them. I took a class in public history in undergrad – basically about museum exhibitions and how they’re funded/run/curated – and it completely changed the way I think about museums now. My favourites in Ontario are the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum (both in Toronto, of course). I’ve never been to a technical museum though! Steampunk looking creations = fab.

    Work that short haircut! The unbelievable heatwaves this summer definitely call for it. I recently cut my hair too (ten inches off…gah) and my head feels about twelve pounds lighter. The freedom!

    • Sorry :(

      What do you think happens every time I see photos of Canada? MAJOR wanderlust.

      Yeah Kiddo was cool, he’s fascinated by big things, I think. Large animals also capture his attention (though he started crying when a horse got too close when we saw some in a meadow a couple of weeks ago). He now makes all sorts of sounds. Most of what we’ve been trying to teach him are animal sounds :D “The cat goes – maaao” He’s pretty adorable. He manages “mama” sometimes but it’s usually hard to tell whether he’s calling me or saying “am-am” which means “hungry”. Eh. :)

      And yes, it’s really crazy how fast they grow and develop at this stage. He’s turning one in two weeks!! Gah, where did the year go?!

      I LOVE museums. My parents always took us to museums and art galleries when we were travelling so I caught the bug and then I had an art class for high school graduation and was completely hooked. I really considered studying art history at some point. Hmm, I don’t remember going to any museums when I was in Toronto :( I remember the one in Ottawa and a gorgeous one in Vancouver! I loved the Native American art, it’s amazing. I wish I could study their culture(s) but they’re really not well-known here, I’d have to be on your side of the Atlantic for that…

      If I cut 10 inches of hair, I’d just have to shave it all off. I actually considered that at some point but it would probably make me look extremely weird. Some people just have weird-shaped skulls and should never have uber-short hair, have you noticed that? I wonder what my head would look like without the hair… :D But yes, my hair now air-dries in about half an hour (the heatwave helped with that, too) and is really low-maintenance :)

  • Oh. Wow!!! I LOVE old castles! I wish we had old relics like that on this side of the pond! I think stuff like this is why I’ve always longed for Europe :) The grounds it’s on are absolutely gorgeous ♥ I want to be there NOW! Thanks so much for sharing these Kaja!! xxxx

    • Thanks, Micheline! :) Yup, this is one of the perks of living in Europe – but I envy you the gorgeous nature and the EXPANSES of land! What I saw of Canada only made me wish I could return and explore more of it. I like living in Slovenia but I get wanderlust every time I go on Pinterest :D

  • OHMYGOD this is beautiful. You’ve made me desperate to go on a day out now, Kaja! I think Europe is such an amazing place to live – what with all of our history, there are so many beautiful old houses/mansions/castles to explore. I remember visiting Chateau D’Ouze once with my dad (he lives in France, so we saw A LOT of French architecture growing up) and being completely spell bound. Apparently it inspired Charles Pirrault to write Sleeping Beauty, and you can totally understand why! In England most of our castles are ruins now, which is such a shame – they’re still amazing to explore, though!
    Beth x
    http://www.thequietpeople.com

    • Oh but English castles are so beautiful! I think it’s even more romantic when they’re crumbling a bit but that might be because of my love of all things dramatic and mysterious. :) French castles are something else, though. I’d love to travel through the Loire valley someday, the photos I’ve seen are gorgeous!
      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Gosh, the scenery and the castle look like they’re from a fairy tale! I’d love to spend the day in a setting like that. It’s kind of cool that they have a technical museum tucked away in an old castle– kind of unexpected. The last museum I went to was the big art museum in Chicago. It was the biggest museum I’ve ever been to, and I definitely didn’t get to take in all the art. I think I only really explored two exhibits thoroughly– modern art and art from the medieval period. My favorite museums are hands on science museums or history museums. I dream of visiting the Smithsonian museums or the Field Museum in Chicago.

    • I never used to like science museums because I’m not a very science-oriented person (I HATED physics and chemistry as a high school student, though I was really good at maths – I guess it all depends on the teacher…) but then I met my husband and he’s really good at explaining things that I didn’t understand so they suddenly became much more interesting. I returned the favor by raving about art whenever we went to an art gallery :)

  • so gorgeous!!! I’m totally jealous :)

    We don’t have old, gorgeous things like that in the states. We have pretty places, don’t get me wrong, but I have a love of castles and gardens and things.

    I lived near a fairy tale house once. It was this like $10 million house with like 8 bedrooms or something but the fashioned the outside of it to look like Snow White’s cottage with small turrets and, I can’t even describe the exterior. It wasn’t brick or anything – it was literally like molded to look like a fairy tale house in a movie. And it was on this tiny hill with stone steps going up and a big tree in the front yard. It was pretty cool :)