Lani – Kona, Hawaii
11 – 17 September 2013
Slovenia – Bosnia – Croatia (1)
September 11th : My friend and I left Budapest by train for the 7 hour trip to Slovenia.
It was pouring when we arrived at the Köbánya-kispet train station in Budapest. Fortunately, we were able to find a Chinese restaurant in the train station, unfortunately the food was horrible. I wasn’t surprised since we had been warned!
Finally, we got on the train. While we were waiting for the train to leave, we ate our lunch, and chit-chatted to kill time.
Just before the train started to leave, a couple came to our seats, and claimed that we were sitting in the wrong place.
I didn’t know anything about how the system worked, because my friend had bought the tickets. Eventually, I realized, we had sat down in the 1st class car not the 2nd class.
Fortunately, we were still able to find seats for both of us in the right car. In our compartment, there were 2 young girls from Belgium. They had traveled to several countries using a Eurail pass, because it’s cheaper than taking an airplane.
In each compartment there are 6 seats, but we were lucky because only 5 people were in this one, 4 women and 1 man.
I find it boring taking long distance train rides. Perhaps it is different in Western Europe, however, I’ve never experienced it yet!
From my window, I see the panorama, mostly empty places, some like savannahs; trees, forest, grass, no people around, sometimes isolated, dilapidated houses spread out over the countryside. It’s like a no man’s land.
The train often stopped to let passengers get on and off, or to let other trains pass. The stations are old-falling-down building. It reminds me of a background you would see in a movie.
I got so tired of sitting and it felt so long. I tried to get some sleep but I couldn’t, it just wasn’t comfortable, so I killed time talking with the 2 girls from Belgium.
They were on vacation, their school was out for about a month. We enjoyed our conversation, while my friend was sleeping.
When my friend woke up, I asked her to have a snack in the dining car. I thought a change of location would also do me good.
I stopped at the restroom. OMG! It was dirty, smelly, had no water, the sink was broken, but I had no choice. Fortunately I always bring toilet paper in case of this kind of emergency.
The menu of the dining car was very basic. The lone waiter, a man in his 60’s, was very friendly, and spoke English with an accent.
I ordered cappuccino, a mushrooms omelet, my friend had bread. While we were eating, we didn’t realize the train had reached the border of Hungary and Croatia. Police from both countries came to our train and checked the documents.
I give them my passport, and so did my friend. She holds an Indonesian passport with Slovenian ID. I had no problem with my American passport, but it took a bit longer for my friend. The police thoroughly checked her passport and her ID. I don’t understand Croatian language, but my friend does. I only understood the police when they said: “Indonesian passport”. But eventually, they give the passport back to my friend.
Not long afterwards, we arrived in Zagreb the capital of Croatia. My friend’s husband picked up us at the train station. When we got off from the train at about 8:00pm, it was dark, cold and raining.
Oh man! It was my first time to meet him, he was very friendly. He seemed very happy to see his wife and they started having a conversation in, of course, Slovenian.
We left the train station and drove to the mall in Zagreb. It was raining cats and dogs. The parking lot was a bit far from the front door, so we had to run to avoid getting wet.
It was indeed a big mall. There is a supermarket inside the mall, so we did some groceries shopping. I didn’t have much time to see around, because we only had a short time.
This is my 2nd time to visit Croatia. After we finished, we continued driving going to Slovenia. It takes about 1 hour to get to Metlika, where my friend lives.
Metlika is not too far from the border of Croatia-Slovenia. Again we had to hand our documents to the border guards, both sides of the border checked our documents. Again I didn’t have any problems with mine, but it took a bit longer for my friend.
Not long afterwards, we arrived at my friend’s flat; a 3 story building in the town of Metlika.
Our total trip time was about 12 hours!
I’ve no pictures because it was night time.
I was so dead tired! I just wanted to take a shower and go straight to bed.
September 12th : This morning I got up feeling lazy! But on the other hand, I was curious to check this town out right away.
First thing I had to do was go to the police station to identify myself as a tourist and tell them where I’m staying, how long I’ll be staying and when I’m leaving.
Metlika is a small town, so it called a ghost town! All is so quiet, the streets are empty. There’s a hotel near where my friend lives. I don’t have any idea how business survives.
Even for a so called small town, Metlika has everything; schools, stores, supermarket, café, shops, bakeries, churches close to my friend’s place, ice cream/gelato parlor, meeting hall, museum and more.
It’s green everywhere, parks, farms, orchard, vineyard. Despite being almost Fall, the weather isn’t cold yet.
Today, I asked my friend to call a couple of my friend’s wedding customers. I’ve never met this couple before, so I didn’t know anything about them. The only I knew this couple went to Bali to have a wedding and my friend arranged their wedding.
My friend in Bali owns an EO business. When my friend in Bali found out I was going to Slovenia, she was asked me if I was interested in meeting this couple, I said: yes! She contacted them, and made arrangements, soon I got a response with their phone number.
To make a long story short, this couple invited us to come to their house to have dinner. They live in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. It’s about 98 km distance from Metlika-Ljubljana, or about 1 hour 20 minutes driving time.
Anyway, in this article I’m sharing pictures with another Baltyra member. Thank you, Nia.
Here is Ljubljana train station:
Nia, came to Ljubljana by a minivan, she caught the minivan in front of Plaza hotel across from Venezia Mestre train station in Italy. It took her about 3 hours, and cost 25 euros one way. She gets off at the Ljubljana train station.
Today is my 1st day in Metlika, and we went to a place calls Bled. It’s a small tourist town, the weather is nice, we’re going to visit lake, and castle. My friend drives, I enjoy the ride, along the way there’s a lush, green forest, hills and mountains.
We stopped at this place on the way to Bled:
We wanted to take a break and to look around. We spotted a little village, and we parked next to the church.
(4) This is a Catholic church and as is common there is a cemetery on the side of the church.
When we arrived in Bled, it was difficult to find a parking spot, finally we parked in one of the hotel parking lots.
We walked downtown, and looked for a restaurant to have lunch. We ended up at the pizza restaurant. I had veggies and my friend had seafood. Most of the time my friend never forgets to bring Indonesian hot sauce(sambal) as you can see on the picture.
The weather is very nice, sunny, warm, and bright, with breeze from the lake.
Veggies and seafood pizza. In my opinion, the pizza isn’t bad, however, Italian pizza so far is the best!
After we finished lunch, we walked to the lake, and enjoyed the view. It’s very soothing, relaxing, love it…..love it!
Enjoy the pictures:
This is the castle on top of the mountain rocks
It’s a church at the edge of the lake, people can go there by a canoe or boat
You can see both, the castle and the church
You can see the lake with the castle on the back ground. Lush green, blue sky, it’s gorgeous!
That’s the canoe paddling around the lake. It costs 12 euros/person.
The lake, the church and the castle in the back ground. It’s very peaceful, quiet, and has a marvelous view.
It was nice to walk around. Finally we decided to stop at a café to enjoy a famous sweet from slovenia and of course my cappuccino.
This café at the edge of the lake, many tourists like eating here.
Here it is :
Crème schnitte with a cup of cappuccino. This sweet is originally from Germany.
This is famous Slovenian sweet calls prekmurska gibanica (prekmurian layer cakes) is a type of cake that contains poppy seeds, walnuts, shredded apples, raisins, and ricotta fillings. If you’re interested check this link : www.slovenia.info/en
More pictures from the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana (taken by Nia) :
Old town of Ljubljana
Another side old town of Ljubljana
Shoes anyone? You can pick and chose which one you like? They’re free.
Another old town, I think it’s a canal, is it, Nia?
Sculptures in Ljubljana
The famous “triple bridge” in old town of Ljubljana
You can take a bus from Ljubljana to Bled (the bus station cross from the train station in Ljubljana), it’s about 75 minutes, cost 6.30 euros, get off at the bus station close to the famous lake Bled.
It was bad weather in Bled when Nia got here. I was lucky when I was in Bled, sunny, bright and warm, a lot of tourists.
I agree with Nia, even though Slovenia hasn’t been independent long, and also recently joined the EU, the capital looks clean and has good infrastructure.
On the way from Vintgar Gorges to Bled you can see the mountains.
Bled castle under the clouds
You can see the church at the edge of the lake from a different angle. It is a beautiful surrounding; so peaceful and quiet.
Inside of the church of Assumption. It’s famous for “ringing the wishing bell”. People believe if they can ring the bell 3 times, their dreams will come true.
Nia, don’t worry you couldn’t ring the bell this time, we can do it together next time, and our dreams will come true.
Nia is right, we can take this small boat to go around Bled lake. I don’t know why the price is different, in September when I was visited the price was 12 euros and Nia visited in October the price was only 10 euros. Maybe October has fewer tourists. You can compare the pictures above with this picture, the trees already have lost their leaves. I bet there is also more rains and colder too.
From what I could see, they have two different types of boat. One is type for up 12 people and the owner paddles the boat, and the other is looks like the one in this picture, you can rent and paddle it yourself, as Nia did.
To me, renting this type of canoe and paddling it ourselves is much more interesting.
Nia rented this canoe and shared it with other travelers for 1 hour for 17 euros. This is much cheaper compared 12 euros for only ½ hour.
I don’t know what this is, Nia? Is it standing paddle? We’ve this in Hawaii. People have to have a lesson before you can do it yourself because it requires being able to balance while you’re paddling.
Another view from the Bled lake, the water is so calm you can see the shadow of the church on the lake. It’s so peaceful, with marvelous views surrounding.
It’s very true! How big different, I came in September and Nia in October, autumn had already come.
I agree with Nina, if you pick from the tree and eat it, there is no need to wash the apple, because it’s organic! No pesticides. Crunchy, sweet, and juicy.
The train station Bled Jezero, is a small and quiet station. From Bled Jezero to Nova Gorica takes about 2 hours and the ticket cost 6.22 euros. Nova Gorica is a town bordering Gorizia, Italy.
What a surprise (Nia, said)! This is very short train only has 2 wagons.
The train interior looks a bit antique (old fashioned)
Anyway, this is the pictures taken at my friend’s house in Ljubljana, when we had dinner together.
Barbara and myself
At the dining room and the kitchen
Barbara, myself, Tomas
Barbara and Tomas are very nice, friendly, and warm couple. In addition, he is a good cook too.
This is our first time we’ve met, but we feel like we have known each other for a long time.
We did laugh and joke around a lot. They made me feel welcome, and happy to be there.
We left their house about 7:00pm driving back to Metlika. Thank you, for your hospitality and the dinner too.
September 13th : today we decided to stay home and not sightsee out of town, but we were still busy. We did some groceries shopping and today was my turn to cook some Indonesian food. I made Martabak = it’s ground beef, mixed with chops red onion, chopped green onion, eggs, seasoned with curry powder, salt, black pepper wrapped in thin crust, folded and fried. I also made tofu, veggies, and stir fry. My friend made fried chicken.
September 14: we went to the town call Bihac in Bosnia, because of the green festival, and we heard Indonesia has an exhibit.
We arrived at the border of Slovenia-Bosnia, and they checked our documents. It’s become a routine every time we get to the border between two countries.
My first impression when we first arrived in Bihac, is that it’s a Muslim country. I can see minarets of the mosque however, from what I saw it’s different than mosques in Indonesia.
We kept on going to get to the exhibit. It turned out we were very disappointed, because nobody was there, at the exhibit. It was empty!
So, we walked around the other exhibits. I didn’t take any picture at all, there was nothing interesting to me. Basically, they’re selling candy, different dessert, clothing, souvenir, leather jacket, bag, knife, energy saver fire place, and computers.
Bosnia isn’t EU member yet.
They use currency call DM. We walked outside and I spotted a farmers market, selling honey, fresh vegetables, and some fruits. Again it wasn’t that interesting either. I also saw people barbaquing all kinds of meat.
We left the exhibit and walked downtown a bit and continued on our journey to Croatia.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
PLITVICE LAKES – Croatian sapphire blue lakes complex
Over 1.2 million people come and see these beautiful lakes inter-connected by many wonderful waterfalls, in the oldest national park in south-east Europe. It is easy to see why it is Croatia’s most popular tourist hotspot, which gained UNESCO world heritage status back in 1979. The water is a perfect blue color but unfortunately to keep it looking so perfect you are not allowed to jump in for a swim! Tourists come from all over the world to see it.
We arrived a bit late in the afternoon, there wasn’t enough time to hike and to explore this wonderful panorama.
The shortest hike is about 2 hours and the longest one is up to 8 hours.
They operate a bus service to carry all the passengers back and forth to the hiking places. It’s wonderful place and worth a visit.
I didn’t take many pictures in Plitvice. The ticket cost 15 euros to get inside the park/waterfall
This is two signs and direction that I found in front of the hiking place.
This is one of the waterfalls. I took it from a distance so it’s not clear.
We left this place about 8:00pm, and get home almost 11:00pm.
To be continued…