The journey to Slovenia, straight into the warm Mediterranean
Straight after work going on holiday to Slovenia! With just three journeys: Zwolle – Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf – München and a night train München – Ljubljana. As easy as it sounds the actual journey across three borders was. No border checks and no delays. My arrival in Ljubljana was for early birds with just 6am and full darkness. I decided to find a coffee place and spend some time reading and writing. Thankfully a cute place just opened at 6.30 which meant I could spend there just 2 hours before going back to the railway station. All goes pretty smoothly and at 9am my IC train bound to Koper left the platform with an average speed. Soon I leave the urban area and the landscape becomes hilly, green, cut by streams and plenty of waterfalls. Absolutely fantastic and no time to get bored. 2 hours pas quickly and energetically I discover the old town of Koper. Fully intact and very close to the international harbor. I’m surprised that nearly all is fully intact and in original state.
Soon I leave the urban area and the landscape becomes hilly, green, cut by streams and plenty of waterfalls.
As it is sunny it is perfect for photos and walking around. Just to warmly dressed and so I’m sweating my bum off in 17 (!) degrees. It does let me feel good to be on the ocean side, the sense of freedom and space has always been something I dearly miss in landlocked Berlin. Small alley ways, staircases, hidden squares, the town has it all. It is great to get yourself lost in this labyrinth of small streets. Pretty much all kind of pastel colours can be found. The air, the wind, the plants, it’s all Mediterranean. The sea temperature is with 15 degrees, hot. I’m glad I stopped by as this is not a well visited place by tourists.
Piran is similar to Koper, though the backdrop in the Adriatic Sea and sheer cliffs makes it even more attractive. Lucky me, there are hardly any tourist.
Although my next stop, Piran, definitely is. Although not at this time of the year. Rather empty, though I won’t be able to set off in town as heavy rain and thunder is expected. Instead I make myself comfortable on the hillside where my apartment provides pretty views on the ocean. Quiet, serene, and calm. Exactly what I need. The next day is the best weather for a good hike. After eating a fatty borek and croissant I feel also the need to burn some calories. Via a coastal path and bike path I circumvent the peninsula of Piran, Strunjan, and Portoroz. I find it great to observe the incredibly different flora that inhibits the coast. The area is part of Natura 2000 and is well protected. Piran is similar to Koper, though the backdrop in the Adriatic Sea and sheer cliffs makes it even more attractive. Lucky me, there are hardly any tourist. I can take as many photos as I want, nobody stands in my way. Not even in museums while rain pours down and floods the city. People have made an effort to explain the local history and environment. I learn more about species that exists (only) around here and are also protected by the European Habitats Directive. This gives me actually a good insight of the challenge that Slovenia encounters with environmental protection.
Many things positively surprise me
People are friendly and are serious about coffee, croissants and borek, count me in for that. Many things positively surprise me and at least compared to Berlin:
- Waterways are super clean
- Streets are clean
- Roads are well maintained
- There is bike infrastructure all over the place and people cycle a lot
- The towns are green, and tree lined
- Transport is well arranged
- The digital infrastructure is extremely well organized and accessible
- There is a positive vibe in the capital – not the least influenced by the large influx of Erasmus students
Schengen is dead, with many border checks and little sleep. Why are these checks in place in the first place? It is the tragedy of our times.
With my final days in Ljubljana I spent time in a city where a shopping frenzy was going on. At the same time, the old town was nicely decorated with Christmas lights and covered with stages where live music was performed. In the evening this was all great with the shortest days in the year. The shopping frenzy throughout the day expelled me to the woods nearby. With numerous trails, viewpoints and an absolutely cute coffee place on a hilltop. With sunset views on snowcapped mountains, while having a glühwein or tea. Very enjoyable and relaxing.
And like this, as usual, time flies as well. And soon I’m heading towards Berlin via München. Knowing that Schengen is dead, with many border checks and little sleep. Why are these checks in place in the first place? It is the tragedy of our times. While the climate urgency would expect to have an extensive network of night train services and comfortable train that can outcompete short flights- no! – we are not even near to that. Rather it is getting worse to travel by train. It is painful to question whether train travel seems to be only for the adventurous and people that don’t mind the uncomfortable journey?