Trip Report: Tuscany & Slovenia

By CrustyCanucks - July 06, 2017

Ever since being bitten by the travel bug, taking a trip to Tuscany has been a very high priority for us. 

The wine, the food, the romance, Tuscany seems to simply have it all. 

In recent years though, while talking to fellow travelers at hotels around the world, we started to hear many good things about Slovenia as well and started to think it was a real hidden gem of Europe. 

So what are two Crusty Canucks to do when planning their annual summer trip to Europe? Combine the two that's what! And that is exactly what we did.

Our story starts in Spain though, as our flight to Florence connected through Barcelona, and since the layover was over 20 hours, we decided to spend the night. 

We enjoyed some sangria and tapas at this cool little hidden bar and then went to bed at a very reasonable hour. We woke up early the next day and that is where things went a little sideways. It all started with an alarm that didn't go off, continued with brisk walking from the hotel to the Metro station, jogging into the airport to save time and then eventually sprinting to make to the flight at the last second. It was a very stressful start to our holiday, to say the least. 

Luckily, it was all forgotten when we arrived in Milan a couple hours later. This time, we took no chances and used Taxi2Airport to get into the city, and soon we were on a 1st Class train to Florence, the capital of Tuscan romance. 

It was a beautiful day there and we just kind of took a brief walking tour to get our bearings checking out the major sites (the Duomo was just as gorgeous in person) and getting some delicious street food and some amazing gelato (hey, when in Rome, or some other Italian city, right?). 

Our guesthouse had a balcony overlooking the Duomo and the surrounding Tuscan hills and we just enjoyed the view and had a little Chianti and looked at our guidebook on the first night. 

We spent three nights at that hotel and in Tuscany in general, and we enjoyed a great walking food tour, trips out to hill towns, and even a cooking class where I think we mastered the art of pasta making. 

After that it was off to the capital of Slovenia, little known Ljubljana. 

As time had gone by, we probably ended up looking forward to this stop more than any on the trip, and it didn’t disappoint. Ljubljana is just enough into the former eastern bloc of Europe to give you a bit of that off the beaten path atmosphere.  

We arrived and went to the town center on Friday night and just hung down by the river and got to know the city. We were loving it, and one of us actually said “this may be my favorite city in Europe so far”, and then it started raining cats and dogs. 

Unfortunately, it kept raining throughout Saturday and into early Sunday morning. We tried to make the most of it on Saturday by walking around the town, shopping at the market, and walking up to the castle that overlooks the town. At the castle we checked out the 'virtual museum', which is a fascinating 3D video on the history of Ljubljana. 

The rain finally stopped a couple days later and we took advantage of the dry weather to go out to Lake Bled. Lake Bled is an amazing alpine lake about an hour outside of Ljubljana with a gorgeous little island in the middle with a church on it. 

We decided we would take the traditional row boat out to the island. Well, it turned into a much harder job than we thought it would and we pretty much just went in circles the whole time. At one point, the boat almost capsized! 

To add to the craziness we accidentally rowed into an area that was marked for swimming. So, safe to say we made a great impression on the Slovenes at Lake Bled. 

After that, it was back to the hotel and a great dinner at a restaurant that specializes in traditional Slovenian food with a modern twist called Gujžina Prekmurska Gostilna

Oh Slovenia and Tuscany, I miss you every day. 

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