Slovenia Part 3-Visiting the Julien Alps-Tolmin,Slovenia to Tarviso Italy to Klagenfurt, Austria

Along the Soca River, Tolmin, Slovenia
Along the Soca River, Tolmin, Slovenia

We returned to Smeteoz after dropping the kids off at the airport in Venice, Italy and spent another 9 days with dad in Slovenia. Our next tour began with a journey to the beautiful town of Tolmin, Slovenia nestled in the Soca Valley at the confluence of the emerald blue waters from the Soca and Tolminka rivers. Tolmin is situated on the southern tip of the Julian Alps and very close to the Italian border, an idyllic Slovenian mountain town.

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Scenic Slovenia-Part 2

The famdam in Lake Bled
The famdam in Lake Bled

And so our Slovenian journey continued with the kids; After an amazing day visiting the Postojona Caves and Predjama Castle we returned to Ljubljana in the evening to pickup dad at the Airport.  He arrived on time and was excited to see us all, looking forward to showing us the country where he was born.  We returned to our apartment and made plans for the next week over a bottle or two of Slovenian wine and got caught up on what was happening back home.

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Scenic Slovenia- part 1


Piran, Slovenia
Piran, Slovenia

Slovenia is but a dream now, we just arrived home and my plan to keep blogging in the moment didn’t work out as we had no Internet and were on the move everyday.  It was actually a blessing in disquise as it allowed me to be more in the moment and savor everyday than looking through the lens of a blogger.  The country is incredible, hospitality to the max, clean, green and beautiful and if you get a chance you should go.  Here is how our time in Slovenia unfolded;

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10 months abroad; what have we done, where have we been!

Leaving Palermo and making our way home
Leaving Palermo and making our way home

Leaving Palermo this morning we arrived in Gatwick, UK and are sitting in a pub called the Parson’s Pig reminiscing about our incredible 10 months abroad spanning over all four seasons.  By plane, train, automobile and ferries we managed to slow travel through 10 countries, visiting over 183 cities, towns and villages while staying in 51 different accommodations (45 plus 6 housesits). Lord knows how many miles we logged but here are the countries we visited (mostly in order):

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Revisiting Venice, Italy

Visiting Venice, Italy with family
Visiting Venice, Italy with family

Catching up on blog posts from over a month ago…Slovenia and Sicily to come. Leaving Florence and arriving by train we were back in Venice with our kids.  It was much warmer than when we last visited in February during Carnivale but no less crowded and already feeling a little overwhelmed with the mobs of tourists and heat surrounding the city. 

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Florence and Rome- our ‘rinse and repeat’ tour with the kids

 

At the Coliseum in Rome
At the Coliseum in Rome

After a few days in Naples we were on the move again for our ‘rinse and repeat’ tour of Italy with the kids boarding another FrecciaRosa high speed train for a few days in Rome. This was our fourth time in the eternal city and we were just as excited to be backat our favorite city in the world, just like visiting an old familiar friend. 

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Captivating Caserta-Visiting The Caserta Royal Palace

Inside Caserta Palace, Italy
Inside Caserta Palace, Italy

Back to getting caught up on my blog posts:  so I last left off with Sandra and Vyse leaving us and heading for Paris while the kids had just joined us in Naples. 

The next day we made a last-minute decision to hop on the train and head to Caserta to visit the Royal Palace.  It was about an hour train ride out of Naples, a scenic, relatively quiet and relaxing journey. We had left a bit late in the day so we were on a rushed tour but in retrospect we would have planned to spend a whole day here as it was astounding!

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Stunning Sorrento

Sorrento, Italy
Sorrento, Italy

On our last day in Vico we did a day trip into Sorrento for some sightseeing and shopping that was enjoyed by all.  The weather was outstanding, we had lots of variety from walking through the beautiful grounds of a hotel/villa to sampling local foods and shopping for souvenirs. We were looking at Sorrento as a place to base ourselves for touring the Amalfi Coast but picked Vico, it seems to be downplayed on sites like TripAdvisor but all of us really enjoyed it.  We returned with the kids to Sorrento on our itinerary with them, we spent the day at a beach club and some sight seeing.  They also really enjoyed spending the day in Sorrento.  Here is a link to the Sorrento, photo gallery.

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Amazing Amalfi-Driving the stunning coastline

At Villa Rufolo, high up the coastline in Ravello
At Villa Rufolo, high up the coastline in Ravello

Next on our spreadsheet of plans was a driving tour of the Amalfi coast and Vyse was back at the helm navigating us along the tricky, twists and turns on one track roads hugging the cliffs of Amalfi.  Our first stop was to the town of Ravello where we were blessed with the last parking spot in the lot closest to the town.

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Coastal Chaos- traveling through Naples to our base in Vico Equense and a day in Capri

Traveling on the high speed FreeciaRossa
Pleasant Journey on the FrecciaRossa

Our few days in Rome quickly came to an end and we were off to Naples via the high-speed train on a pleasant journey traveling to the south of Italy. As soon as we arrived in Naples we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore surrounded by the noise, smells, crowds and chaos that is the fiber of this busy city!  We rented a car and I was so thankful that Vyse had elected to do all the driving as it was nuts navigating this city, honking, swearing, swerving, breaking…..and that’s just getting out of the parking lot!  There are no rules, it’s a free for all and a big game of chicken when driving in this part of Italy. The four of us with all our luggage jammed into our little rental looked like a comical frat prank on how much can you cram in.

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Return to Rome-revisiting our favorite city with friends

With Sandra and Vyse at the Coliseum
With Sandra and Vyse at the Coliseum

We’ve done and seen so much in the month of June, on the go every day that I’m just starting to get caught up on my blog entries.  We had been intensively traveling with our besties from Calgary (Vyse and Sandra) who joined us for 10 days in Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, then our kids came out and we rinsed and repeated. Overlapping with the kids my dad came out to show us his native land of Slovenia. We spent 6 days with him and the kids, then Janet and I drove them to Venice where they started their journey home.  We returned to Slovenia and spent another 10 days with dad, a few days ago we dropped him off at the airport in Ljubljana and drove back to Venice where we hopped on a plane for Palermo, Sicily. 

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The iconic Cave of Postonja and Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Postojna Cave, Slovenia
Postojna Cave, Slovenia

Today was our first full day in Slovenia and it has already made a big impression on us!  You can’t help but be impressed by the amazing natural phenomena of the Postojna Cave System that has become an iconic tourist draw for this country and we were mesmerized by the history and beauty surrounding the Predjama Castle.

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Hotels.com booking gone wrong

Well everyone has heard me sing the praises of our experiences with Airbnb, a few times we used VRBO and Booking.com with no problems, then we tried Hotels.com and had a terrible, stressful, twilight zone (when you can’t believe this could be real) experience.  I will never, ever use Hotels.com again and want to pass on the warning if you feel like reading my rant about our experience.

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