>Travel Pictures


Christmas trip 2004

Slovenia was the pleasant surprise of our whirlwind trip through central Europe.  The scenery is lovely, the pizza fabulous, the wine plentiful, the beer cold, the roads good, the mountains stunning and the history amazing.  We went through eastern Slovenia on our way to Vienna and drove through the central part of the country on our way home to Belgrade.
Reflection of the Ptuj old town waterfront in the river Drava.  Alea found these extra special as she had just been a swan for her holiday school program.

Ptuj (pronounced Ptooyee - really!) is an old medieval (built on Roman ruins) town along the banks of the Drava River.  The whole area abounds with springs and the Roman affection for spas is telling in the communities to this very day.  The hill-top castle in Ptuj is also the regional museum. It held a fascinating array of armor and weaponry.  It also had a very interesting display on the history and evolution of the piano.

As we hiked up to the castle/museum, we gazed over the Ptuj town tower, which has stood watch under many moons since the 13th century.

Breck's naturally curly hair grew a bit since you last saw him:)

Alea loves the Magic Tree House books and one of the first ones she ever read was about a Knight.  She was enthralled with the ones she 'met' in Ptuj. 

Breck's keen eye for dragons kept us safe the entire tour of the museum.  He spotted this chandelier all by himself from another room. 

We marched through the Old Town at night which was (at the same time) an eerie and delightful experience.  It didn't take much imagination to see why people not so long ago were superstitious and prone to fantasies about what dwelled around the corner. Around one corner we ran into a real Santa handing out lollipops to the kids and around another we found him practicing his 'through-the-window' routine!

Our first night stay was in the town of Maribor, Slovenia.  It is Slovenia's second largest city (and most industrial), though we couldn't tell that by walking around its pedestrian old town area.  Our hotel was smack in the middle of the walking street. We had pizza at the Anchor - a great 'brick and vines' kind of place.  This part of Slovenia boasts a 2,000 year old wine making industry. Our travel guide said that one vine has been producing grapes for over 400 years.

After Christmas in Vienna (where we broke our new camera, these are all taken with a disposable), we went to Lake Bled, a lovely resort area just north of Ljubljana.  The lake has an old monastery on an island in the middle of it and a medieval castle perched on an outcropping of cliff overlooking it.  We were expecting snow and skiiers, but found only rain and spas. So, we joined the trend of others adjusting to global warming and hit the water amusement park instead.  There were four heated indoor pools; one with zero-depth entry and toddler fountain, one with a slide and waterfalls, one with access to the outdoors and one with mirrors and trees all the way around it.  We had three hours of tremendous fun and were all prunes by day's end.

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia.  It is a lovely city and we were all very impressed with its history, architecture, markets, waterfront and 'feeling'.  It feels much like Paris (a lot more in control) with gorgeous Rococco and Art Nouveau buildings riding either side of the banks of the Ljubljanica River.  There had been so much rain we were not able to take a night cruise, though it sure made crossing the famous Triple and Dragon bridges that much more interesting.  We were fortunate to enjoy Ljubljana's christmas markets, as well, given they were still open for those who celebrate Orthodox Christmas on January 6.  The photo on the left shows Castle Hill towering over the old town.

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