Goodbye, Slovenia

I fell in love just a little more, little bit everyday with someone new. I fell in love the farmer’s market artisans with their piles of bright fresh fruit. I fell in love with the CEOs of innovative companies. I fell in love with the university students who work hard and play hard. I fell in love with the jovial chefs who chide you to eat more of their delicious food. I fell in love with the boat bums routinely frying up some fish. I fell in love with the proud everyday Slovene who can talk about their heritage for hours. These are just some of the people who make up Slovenia. I love them because they are intellectual, kind, proud, silly, and passionate. I fell in love with Slovenia, and my one wish for this trip is to someday return.

-Abby

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Piran and Portoroz vs. Ljubljana

Piran is an ocean city of roughly 4,000 citizens that lies beside another city, Portoroz, which has around 3,000 inhabitants. Both of the cities are rarely ever bustling with people which results in a peaceful and relaxing aesthetic. Almost every restaurant serves some form of Italian and seafood, both dishes that taste out of this world no matter which restaurant you visit. During the 13th century, the area was under Venetian control which led to a period of wealth and the construction of beautiful Venetian structures.

On the other hand, Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana has around 300,000 citizens and lies in the middle of the country. The city boasts of some of impressive bridges, friendly people, and some of the best gelato around. The city was once controlled by the Romans, and this can been in the style of several of its churches and other structures. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the city’s style changes after a massive earthquake that removed much of its medieval style. The city rebuilt incorporating baroque style and mansions.

I preferred Piran and Portoroz compared to Ljubljana because while walking the cities’ streets I felt as though I had gone back in time. It is easy to fall in love with the oceanside cities’ quaint town square accented with laundry lines and flower boxes along every home and the tiny restaurants that dot the pier and provide the perfect spots to watch sunsets that will make even the coldest hearts melt.  

-Abby

Wednesday – Last Day

Today is Wednesday, May 24th and it is 10 am in the Slovenian time zone. I’m sitting on the bus peering out at the zooming pine trees and the snowcapped mountains tattooed across the cloudy sky. I’m filled with remorse because I’m unsure of when the next time, if there even is a next time, I will be privileged enough to come back to Slovenia. For the entirety of the trip, I have probably gotten less hours of sleep than finals weeks, but I have made enough memories for a lifetime. The rest of the day blurred past my window seat as we traveled from company to university to castle.

Saying goodbye to Slovenia is hard, but I could not have asked for a sweeter last day in this great country.

-Abby

Tuesday – Farmer’s Market

Tuesday started with any early trip to the Ljubljana farmer’s market. Artisans of many trades were still setting up the market when we arrived. The market square was filled with eye catching string art, innumerable fresh fruits and vegetables, and racks upon racks of clothes. The entire group bought way too much fruit – from a whole kilogram of cherries to a large tub of tiny apricots. The market seemed to be an integral part of Slovene life because citizens not only bought goods, but also socialized with each other. This tradition promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as the upkeep of relationships. When I return home, I will attend my own local farmer’s market and will eat, laugh, and enjoy those around as a Slovene would at their own market.

-Abby

Last Day in Piran and Portoroz

Sunday exceeded my expectations – in a way. We had planned for a casual bike ride to Croatia and back. That being said, we were not prepared for going the distance and the foothills that seemed like mountains. We rose early in the morning to rent bikes and head on our way. For most of the way there, we were greeted with breathtaking sights and fresh ocean breezes. Then, we passed through customs and into Croatia – that is where the challenge really began. Right after we had been permitted into the country, we were faced with a sloping hill that seemed relatively harmless. However, that harmless hill seemingly never ended and neither did the number of zooming cars. After around two hours of this uphill battle, we made the decision that is was time to turn back. Let’s just say that we were very thankful to be back within Slovenia’s borders. The rest of the day was spent relaxing with good friends in the sea salt pools, watching the sun dip below the ocean and Piran skyline, and eating local calamari until late into the evening.

-Abby

Slovenia Study Abroad 2017 (Before Arrival)

As I’m sitting in my room surrounded by a tornado of everything I’m going to pack for Slovenia, I am filled with questions.

“Will my miniature toothpaste last ten days?”

“Have I learned enough Slovene to correctly say I can’t speak Slovene?”

“What kind of memories will I take back home with me?”

The answers are to be determined as I travel throughout Slovenia (and Venice, Italy!)  I am so excited to form a relationship with the Slovenian country and its people by walking Ljubljana, trying all different kinds of food, and meeting with the prospering Slovenian engineering and business firms.

I will be sure to update everyone on my findings to the aforementioned questions.

 

Venice, Italy

Today was all about Venice. It began with getting up early, boarding a boat, and sailing for three hours until we reached the Venetian coast. It was pouring down rain when we arrived, which led to the entirety of the group looking like we had taken a dip in the Grand Canal. The beauty of Venice, Italy was shocking to me, even though I have grown up seeing and reading about the city’s wonders. Once we arrived, our first stop was Saint Marco’s Basilica. The inside of the building contained ornate mosaics ceilings, carefully cut and placed marble walls, and patterned tile floors. It was a humbling experience to behold such expertise and beauty depicting multiple biblical scenes. Afterwards, we explored the rest of city and found pasta, small souvenirs, and cannolis – my favorite part being the cannolis. Our day in Venice came to a quick close around 4 pm, when we boarded the boat to sail back to Slovenia. I was thankful to return to Piran and Portoroz. The Slovenian cities are much less crowded, just as beautiful (if not more beautiful), and feel more like a home to me. My night couldn’t have ended better with some delicious seafood, raspberry gelato, and good friends.

-Abby