Florence Diaries: Hidden in the Fog

Slovenia is a relatively new nation, founded in 1991 after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Though the nation comprised only a small percent of the population of Yugoslavia, it contributed about 30% of all revenue. It continues to be a very progressive nation relative to its fellow former Yugoslav nations and I was pleasantly surprised by how modern and globalized it was in certain parts. We travelled to the capital, Ljubljana (pronounced loo-blee-ah-nah), and stayed in the center of town. We immediately tried some traditional Slovenian cuisine, which was delicious -- my favorite thing was the štruklji, cheese and dough rolls covered in a mushroom sauce, so yummy.

The next morning, we climbed to the castle above Ljubljana, which has been made into more of a cultural center, with a restaurant and events spaces. Unfortunately, the whole time we were in Slovenia we were pestered by the Emona fog (the old Roman name for the fog), and up higher in the castle we could just barely make out the city below. We were there in the midst of the Slovenian carnival, called Pust, and people everywhere were dressed up and parading the streets, very reminiscent of Halloween -- the holiday lasts for two weeks and is meant to "scare away the winter." Later, we took a tour north to Lake Bled, which is a pristine glacial lake with a fairytale-esque island in the middle. No boats are allowed on the lake other than rowboats, specifically a traditional type of rowboat called pletna which are passed down through generations. We went across to the island where we climbed the 99 steps to the top and stopped for some coffee and cake and then we headed back to shore, where we tried some more cake -- an infamous Bled creme cake (so delicious). The morning we left, Sunday, we went to see the Dragon Bridge, one of the main sites to see in Ljubljana. Apparently, in the hills above Ljubljana, Saint George slay a dragon and thus Ljubljana has dragons everywhere as a symbol of the city. All in all, it was an awesome weekend exploring a country I knew nothing about and learning all about such an interesting culture!

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