Goodbye

I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Slovenia today.  I could not have asked for a better place to visit on my first time out of the country.  All the people were very friendly and most spoke English.  All the different companies we got to visit were all very interesting and each provided a different outlook on manufacturing or business.  Some of my favorite company visits were Krka, Pipistrel, and Quadrofoil.  Slovenia is also a very beautiful place and some of the views were amazing.  Getting to go to lake Bled and Piran were experiences of a lifetime.  However, one of my favorite things about this trip was getting to know new people and spending time with friends I already had.  

I feel like this trip has influenced the way I look at the world because it has shown me other ways of living but also because I has shown me how similar people from different places are.

The last day

Today was a great last day in Ljubljana.  First we went to Elan which makes many different sports equipment but focuses on skis.  This was an interesting manufacturing processes to watch.  We then went to Bled castle which provided amazing views of Bled lake and island including the Chapel.  After exploring for a bit and going to the castle printing shop, we went to a glamping site for lunch.  I had the best salad that I’ve had all trip.  We then went to the IDEC which is a management school.  One of the professors talked about what can contribute to making a good leader and how they can be developed.  We then explored Bled lake and the surrounding shops before heading to a boat ride to the Chapel on Bled island. The lake is a beautiful blue green color that I have never seen anywhere else.  In the Chapel we rang the bell which has a legend saying if you ring the bell 3 times and believe the Vigin Mary wil grant your wish.  After that we then went to a nearby restaurant and had a delicous dinner with the tradition Bled cream cake dessert. It was a wonderful day full of great experiences.  Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our wonderful guide Petra.  Without her we would not have learned nearly as much about the country.  She is the best guide we could have hoped for.

Krka and cake

This morning we got up early and went to the farmer market.  We got great strawberries, cherries, and apricots.  After that we went to the faculty of economics at the University of Slovenia, Trimo, and Krka.   My favorite was Krka who makes generic pharmaceuticals.  They just created a new building for production of tableted medicines and they installed a lot of automation to make their processes easier and cleaner.  I have never seen that much automation so it was really cool.  They also have a giant storage facility that is completely automated and people just tell the computer what they want and it goes and gets it.  It was interesting to compare Krka to other pharmaceutical companies I have been too.  They are definitely trying to make the most of available technology.  After Krka we went to a nearby castle and had lunch.  The restaurant was a 5 star restaurant so all the food was really good.  My favorite course was chocolate cake with strawberry icecream.  We also had a beautiful view from the castle.

It’s batty

Today we visited Pipistrel who makes planes and gliders.  Their name and company logo comes from bats which is what their initial gliders resembled.  The founder of the company was forced to fly at night during the communist regime which is also why people of the nearby town called him bat.  After we saw several planes take off and one land we headed back for Ljubljana.  We at lunch at a place called Argentino were I had a very good omelette filled with asparagus and spinach.  After that we went to ABC Accelerator which helps startup companies succeed.  Finally we had a talk with a representative from the US embassy.

Last day in Piran and Portoroz 

Today was a free day where we could do whatever we wanted.  Some friends and I decided to rent bikes and go on a bike ride to Croatia.  The scenery on the ride was gorgeous and we got so see some of the salt flats.  Once in Croatia we thought we could make it up a mountian to make it to the beach but underestimated the size of the mountian and had to turn around.  It was still a great time with friends.  Then after spending some relaxing time at the pool we walked down to Piran and had a great pizza.  Right after that we were able to make it back up to St. George’s Cathedral for a beautiful sunset over the ocean that made everything seem unreal.  Overall today was a very packed but fun day.  I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Piran and Portoroz.

Water all around

Today we visited Venice, taking a boat from Piran.  When we first got there it was raining and we were all soaking wet by the time we got to Saint Mark square.  Luckily the rain stopped for the most part soon after we got to the square.  Saint Mark square is home to many shops, the doge’s palace, and St. Marks basilica.  We decided to go in the basilica and it was beautiful.  The entire ceiling was covered in scenes and people from the old and new testament made from tiles and then surrounded by gold glass tiles.  The basilica was built in the 11th century which made the artwork all the more impressive.  Unfortunately pictures were not allowed but I will remember the experience forever.  After that we walked around the city, ate lunch in a traditional Italian restaurant, and visited shops and the Rialto bridge.  The canals of Venice were also very interesting and here were tons of bridges as a result.   Venice was a unique experience; however, it was very crowded when compared to Slovenia.

Sightseeing time!

Today after visiting Hidria and learning about how they make their parts we drove out to Piran and Portoroz.  The coast is absolutely beautiful and stunning.  We went on a walking tour of piranhas after lunch and everything we saw was so unique and interesting.  We went up to St. George’s Cathedral which gave us a wonderful view of the city and ocean.  We were also able to see 3 different countries: slovenia, Croatia, and Italy.  

Tomorrow we will be going Venice and spending the day there.  We will also be exploring more of the coast on Sunday.   I am also hoping to visit Croatia weather permitting.

It should be a very fun weekend!