Category Archives: Trips & Travels

Summer by the Sea

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Today, I wanted to share a non-bookish glimpse into my life with you. If you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these already – but they are all nicely collected here.

We spent a week in Fažana, which is a small coastal town in Istria, a Croatian peninsula not far from Slovenian border. We visited other places up and down Istrian coast in previous years and we decided to book a place in this auto camp because it had nice, new mobile homes (they’re like tiny apartment houses with a verandah out front). My husband and I are very fond of camping (in a tent) but since I’m seven months pregnant, I really had no desire to sleep on the floor and to have to walk to communal bathrooms twice a night with a headlamp.

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The week began with some poor weather, so we took a trip to Pula, which is the largest town of the region (very pretty in its own right, we’ve often visited). But we needed a good entertainment option for Kiddo, so we picked the aquarium. I had no idea it was this large and well-appointed! It also has a sea turtle rescue center where they keep injured sea turtles (the big ones!) until they’re well enough to be released back into the sea.

Kiddo was very, very happy with this choice – especially since we’d just watched Finding Nemo yet again and we found a special tropical tank with Dory, Nemo, and several other fish from the movie. We also saw sharks, which were fascinating to him. For me, the best display was a lit-up tank of jellyfish, which I would be terrified of meeting out in the open sea, but they look so beautiful like this.

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We had a very nice lunch at the Fažana marina, where we could watch boats coming and going and some gulls looking for fish. The weather was so hot it was actually a bit tiring for me – pregnancy and heatwaves don’t mix well. But I spent the afternoon in the shade, which was nice. My husband is the best, he takes really good care of me and our kid.

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The last evening, I took some time to walk along the beach, listening to an audiobook while A. put Kiddo to bed (we alternate nights). It was still hot but not unbearably so and the sky was cloudless, so it was easy to take a series of slightly clichéd photos of the sunset. :)

Kiddo then stayed on for another week of the holidays with his grandparents (my mom and dad) while we returned home to get some free time. As I’m writing this, he’s still there and I miss him so much already but I’m also looking forward to sleeping in and having some time to really dig into my work.

srcek

Are you planning on visiting the beach this year? Does this mean the sea or a lake for you?

What are your favourite ways to relax during the summer?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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Spring & Sea

Piran, Slovenia by Of Dragons and Hearts.This weekend, we finally got to see some sun after two weeks of almost non-stop rain and snow (not the cool kind of snow that you can play on with kids, but the wet, soggy kind that makes you want to stay in). I’m all for quiet afternoons spent with a book but having a kid means you have to find some activity or they get bored out of their minds. A bored toddler = an annoyed toddler (fact).

piran2We drove out to the seaside, to Piran, which is one of the several small towns that dot the Slovenian coast. We only have some 47km of coast right at the top of the Adriatic sea (between the Italian Gulf of Trieste and the Croatian Istria) and I think it’s both quite pretty and quite underrated.

piran5The day was windy and sunny – the best kind of a spring day. Some of the fruit trees (apricots, probably) were already in bloom and there were seagulls and splashing waves and Kiddo had a great time making “woosh” sounds at the waves.

piran3We also visited the small but interesting aquarium – A. came up with the idea after we watched Finding Nemo with Kiddo and he loved it. We’ve seen it about 3 times now (in smaller sections, we don’t let him watch tv for an hour and a half) and he keeps saying “biba” (“riba” is “fish” in Slovenian). So we went to see the fish and he was so happy. He kept returning to one tank with a really large fish and yelling his version of “Hello, fish!” at it. I’d love for him to see a really big aquarium, so we’ll be looking into that if/when we travel.

piran4We’ll definitively be returning to the seaside more often in the spring, it’s just an hour’s drive away but it makes such a difference from the gray, wintery Ljubljana.

srcek

Do you ever go on day trips?

What are your favourite destinations?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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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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Blue

DSC_0021Last week, we spent four days at my parents’ weekend house. While it rained one day (YAY for Ikea and new stationery!), it was sunny most of the time, so we took long walks and I took photos. I didn’t even do anything to these photos (I’m trying to learn about photography and photo editing but it’s a process…). Some were taken with our Canon camera and others with my phone. This first one is a view of the Gulf of Trieste from Via Napoleonica, an old road that offers magnificent views and a shelter from the wind even in the middle of the winter (or so we’ve been told).

DSC_0005After one stormy night, the skies were washed clean and the clouds were amazing.

DSC_0028Look, a bear! (Or possibly a weasel.)

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They’re so fluffy!

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I really appreciate my husband. He kept the kiddo occupied while I played at being a photographer. (I mean, I obviously appreciate him for so many things but I can imagine stopping constantly can be a bit frustrating…)

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I love the burnt summer grass, the colours are pretty.

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That bottom one looks like a macaron/hamburger.

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And this is the lovely view from Vremščica, a hilltop near my parents’ house. We could see for miles and miles around, the air was very clear. We also found delicious wild strawberries and saw some donkeys and sheep!

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srcek

Do you get fascinated by the skies sometimes? 

Have you been taking any (day) trips this summer? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Venice in a Day

piazza san marco

Last weekend, A. and I left the kiddo at my parents’ weekend house and left for a day trip to Venice. It’s a two-hour drive only, so we had plenty of time. We’d been to Venice several times before (I believe I’m nearing double digits myself) but it’s one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to.

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The gondolas off Piazza San Marco / Canal Grande (taken from Rialto bridge) / Even the doorbells are pretty! / A street market full of yummy food

We spent several hours following the stream of tourists around the narrow streets, looking into the shop windows full of Venetian masks and slightly tacky glass ornaments.

beautiful garden

The usual fishy stink of the canals (often mixed with the distinct odor of the sewers) was somewhat tempered this time by the scent of jasmine. There are many little secret gardens in venice, either on the rooftops or in cool courtyards, and jasmine is everywhere – the little star-shaped blossoms really smell nice.

One of the side streets, so narrow! / One of the smaller (!) churches / A house between houses / Boats are the only sensible means of transport here.

One of the side streets, so narrow! / One of the churches (I think) / A house between houses / Boats are the only sensible means of transport here.

What you have to know about Venice is that it’s CROWDED. Even in the colder months, I suppose, though if you’re ever planning a trip there, I’d recommend waiting for spring because Venice is notorious for floods during the winter (the sea rises) and I would bet that it’s not really cool if you have to balance on the narrow, slippery wooden walkways they put up. At any other time of the year, however, this relatively small island is PACKED with tourists of all possible nationalities. We saw at least four gigantic cruise ships docked in the marina and I can only imagine how many more people arrived by car or train. So be prepared for waiting in lines for the churches or museums. We didn’t visit any of those this time but chose to have a more relaxed day instead.

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The view across the sea / The clock tower on Piazza San Marco / San Marco’s basilica / The campanille (the church tower) on Piazza San Marco

This is where most of the people end up, I think. Piazza San Marco is huge and beautiful and it’s supposedly the most expensive place to have a cappuccino. We didn’t test that theory! I remember when I was little and it was still allowed to feed the pigeons – they would flock in HUNDREDS and peck at the corn people threw at them. Luckily, the city authorities came to their senses (seriously, EW) and forbade people to feed the pigeons (they had to find alternative employment for several people who lived off selling corn to tourists!) because they pooped everywhere and were destroying the monuments.

bridge of sighs

One of the most famous spots in the city, the Bridge of Sighs, reportedly named thus because it was common for prisoners to sigh as they saw the light of day through its windows for the last time as they were being transported from the Doge’s Palace (the court; on the left) to the prison on the right. Some people also say it’s because lovers come to Venice and sigh at the sight of it. Who knows?

Libreria Acqua Alta / Ditto / Great homemade pasta / A saint eating ice-cream or singing karaoke?

Libreria Acqua Alta / Ditto / Great homemade pasta / A saint eating ice-cream or singing karaoke?

We did have two things on our itinerary: We wanted to find the “best known” bookshop in the city, Libreria Acqua Alta, and Dal Moro’s noodle shop. We found both, to vastly differing results. I didn’t particularly like the bookstore. It’s crowded and looks like a madman’s attic. There’s a gondola smack in the middle of it, it’s filled with ancient (in an uncool way) Italian books in a totally haphazard manner (my OCD tendencies sprang to life) and one of the shopkeepers was smoking inside. In a tiny space filled with (very flammable) paper. There is also some sort of staircase made of books outside, which I disliked because I don’t think any books, even dictionaries, should be treated like that. But the pasta was wonderful, totally fresh, and both sauces – amatriciana and pesto – were jummy. We sat in the shade by a canal, dangling our feet over the water and watching the gondolas pass by slowly. It was a very nice lunch and a much-needed getaway for us.

srcek

Have you ever been to Venice? Did you like it?

Do you prefer very touristy, crowded destinations or are you more of an off-the-beaten-track person? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

 

Spring Love

white-magnoliaI love spring. It’s my favourite season and this year, I’ve been even more impatient for it to come.

raindrops-spring-greenWinter was weird here, all freezing rain and piles of dirty slush and gray days. It bothered me that I had to bundle myself and the baby up like bears before leaving the apartment and some days I couldn’t go out with the stroller at all because 20 cm of frozen snow isn’t really easy to drive through (you’d think our capital city would arrange for sidewalks to be shovelled but no – they drive the snow off the roads onto the sidewalks).

ljubljana-springI also didn’t get to do all the fun wintery stuff that I like – skiing and sledding and all. But I did enjoy quite a few good books and cozy evenings at home, which is cool, too.

white-flowers-woodsThis is why I’ve been walking around as much as possible this past month or so, enjoying the warm days. If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of these already, because they were all taken with my phone (I may also have caught an UFO on the photo if you look closely at the next one…).

gradisko-jezero-springI love the warmth the spring brings – it’s perfect because it’s not too hot (summers sometimes feel suffocating, at least in the city). I adore the baby green leaves on the trees, the wealth of colour from the flowers, the birds chirping in the bushes. When I see my kid taking it all in for the first time ever, it feels even more special.

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srcek

What is your favourite season? What have you been doing this spring?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

srcek

Don’t forget to check out my birthday giveaway!