The green side of Europe

17 Jul

The train is waiting at the platform at Murska Sobota, a town just inside the Slovenian-Hungarian border. It’s raining slightly and the platform is wet. Waiting passengers are sheltering underneath their umbrellas. We notice this as our train has been stopped to change engines, yet again. For the last six hours, we’ve been travelling and changing engines through Hungary and have finally crossed the border into Slovenia, our next destination. We’ll be in Ljubljana, the capital, by 9pm.

Slightly exasperated by the cities we’ve been to, what with their market squares, Old Towns, endless churches and cathedrals in their baroque, neo-Gothic or eclectic styles, winding streets leading to medieval castles and historic Jewish quarters, although so beautiful, it’s time we see a little ‘green’, get out of the hustle and bustle and get lost in nature. Well, for a little bit at least.

Not long after entering Slovenia, our train is winding through lush evergreen forests and past the occasional corn crop and hill-side village with alpine-style houses, reminiscent of Switzerland. Slovenia presents us with a landscape that is quite different from Hungary, which is mostly flat with little vegetation. As we delve deeper still into the country, the hills become pine-covered mountains and churches perch high on top of them. This is just the kind of landscape Europe is famous for.

Before we head to Lake Bled, we took the opportunity to stroll around Ljubljana’s Old Town (yes another one) and up to the castle (yet again) which overlooks the city. Although this is yet another Central European town, Ljubljana feels different from Prague, Krakow and Budapest. It has a more local feel where you can actually see actual locals milling about doing their food shop at the local market and hanging about in the river-side cafes, having Saturday morning breakfast. We gladly join them in these activities. Lake Bled itself is beautiful, a meer hour and a half long bus journey from Ljubljana. The lake is an amazing cerulean colour, clear enough to see the lake bed near the edges of the shore. As we look to the clear blue water, there are high mountains in the background and a solitary church sits on the lake island. It’s a stunning sight, almost unreal and so so green.

It’s so green, we conclude, from the amount of rain this country must receive. We get caught in a storm late the first night we are there and it doesn’t stop storming until the afternoon the following day. We finally emerge from our apartment (not just a room but a whole apartment!) and climb the hill to the top of Bled Castle. The views are amazing – definitely worth the €8 to enter through the gates. From here the sheer cliff face drops away to reveal the lake it its entirety and you can view the church island as an actual island. No wonder people visit this tiny, alpine village in droves. This is the stuff postcards are made of.

But we can’t linger here long. We’re catching a bus to yet another country, one of Slovenia’s next door neighbours, Croatia. It is almost time to see the beach!

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2 Responses to “The green side of Europe”

  1. jane cook July 18, 2012 at 3:57 AM #

    And its almost time to meet up with Steven. Have fun you three.

  2. Grandma July 20, 2012 at 2:06 AM #

    I agree as Steven would have left 2.30 this morning

    have a good time love Grandma

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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian in Germany

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