Slovenia 

Slovenia is much closer than you probably think. Our easyJet flight was just short of two hours. 
Ljubljana airport is less than half an hour from the city itself, a similar distance to the ski area and just a bit further to Lake Bled so you can have three different kinds of holiday less than an hour from the airport and the coastal areas of Portoroz and Piran within an hour and a half so within this tiny country a two centre is easily doable. 
We began our weekend at Lake Bohinj which is stunning even on a cloudy winter day. It is very peaceful as there isn’t a lot of hotels there and it’s a huge area. 
It was a trip back in time to Lake Bled and memories of Yugotours came flooding back with familiar hotels that have hardly changed since the seventies. Lake Bled was very popular as a 2-centre holiday with Dubrovnik or Split. We had lunch at Grand Hotel Toplice which is a classic 5 star hotel with a stunning view over a Lake Bled. There is a golf course nearby as well. We tasted some local specialities of the region, beautifully presented as well as tasty. After lunch we took a boat over to Bled Island and rang the church bell to wish our loved ones good health. The church is small but very interesting as there are excavations from 10th century, frescoes from 14th century and a beautiful 18th century altar 
We arrived in Ljubljana in the evening in time to see the lights. The same artist has designed the lights for the last 16 years and they have different themes. This year’s display is Respect for Life and it is really unique. Ljubljana is almost all pedestrianised so it is really easy to walk around the city centre and browse the Christmas market, the river, the unusual and quirky sculptures, the unique triple bridge, the Butchers bridge with thousands of locks and Dragon Bridge with the symbol of the city at both ends. Ljubljana has some amazing and well preserved architecture. It is a very young city with an average age of just over 30 so there are some great bars and an outdoor culture even in sub zero temperatures families can be seen outside bars and cafes by the riverside. It is a really pretty city that feels safe and the locals nearly all speak perfect English. 
We had an amazing meal in AS Aperitivo with Matej and Mattej our lovely hosts from Luxury Slovenia. A few courses and bottles of wine later and their truly decadent strawberry cake is highly recommended. Late at night it becomes a disco which opens until the early hours of the morning. 
We did a food tour with Ljubljana tourist board in the afternoon with an excellent guide in which we walked a bit, ate a starter which was sausage for the meat eaters and pearl barley and vegetable soup for me, walked a bit more, talked about the history of the city and then stopped for another course. The tour took around 4 and a half hours and covered every part of the city ending at sunset on 13th floor of what used to be Slovenias highest building. 
Our stay was brief just a day and a half but it is certainly a place to revisit and a weekend break I would definitely recommend, perhaps at a slightly more leisurely pace! 

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