Slowing down (or trying to)
Here & There 08.10.22
It’s now been a bit more than a full week “on the road”. While my time has been enjoyable, it’s also a significant adjustment. Solo travel is an interesting challenge, especially when you’re 33, completely uninterested in staying in hostels/partying, and working your regular M-F, 9-5 job. Plus, there’s unlimited new things to see and do, I’m naturally inclined to overtax myself, and I’ve been spending most of my time *not* talking to anyone.
You’re never going to see everything, so don’t try to.
This has become my mantra. While I’m still working on my FOMO, and it’s hard to *not* want to do fun things when you’re in new places, my goal is to live like I would at “home”. I don’t need to see everything, do everything, or meet everyone. I’m just trying to live and work more or less like I normally do (and hang out in some beautiful places as a bonus). I think it extends beyond travel “activities” as well — I don’t drink that often at home, so do I *really* need to have a beer by the river every evening? It seems obvious that it’s acceptable to just have a slice of pizza, watch Netflix, and go to bed early…but it’s surprising hard when you’re in a halfway “traveling” mode and surrounded by other people on vacation.
I spent my first week in Ljubljana. It’s a wonderful city. My Airbnb was located just on the edge of the old town, which spans either side of the river and is filled with innumerable restaurants, cafes, gelato shops, and more. I spent hours upon hours wandering these streets, enjoying a coffee or beer by the river, and just chilling with a book. Mornings were spent running in one of the local parks, followed by a peaceful coffee on the river (hardly anyone is around in the morning), before returning to my Airbnb or a local cafe to work until the evening. Rinse, repeat.
Stow is a 10/10 for coffee and work
Le Petit Cafe is a nice coffee/breakfast/brunch/lunch spot. Great vibe and one of the best eggs benedict I’ve had in a while.
€2.40 pizza slices (big and delicious) at Ljubljanski dvor (there’s a window for slices in the back)
Tivoli Park was a great place to run. A network of well-graded double and single track allows you to wander around the park and feel disconnected from the city.
Incredible pasta at Raw Pasta. It’s a bit outside of the main zone, with a cozy feel and amazing, reasonably priced pasta.
I’d be remiss to not mention my great Airbnb at AI Apartments. I had a little studio that was perfect for my needs — good wifi, close to everything, and reasonably priced. Ana is also a wonderful host.
Rather than pay for a tour (quite popular from Ljubljana), I took the bus to Lake Bled for a quick day-trip. After arriving I hiked up to Vintgar Gorge, which ended up being very pretty, but also one of those spots that just loses its appeal when you’ve seen similar things before. The path is one-way and nearly single file — even early in the morning there was quite a crowd.
Lake Bled itself, on the other hand, was an absolute delight. I spent most of my day circumnavigating the lake. Not only is it beautiful, but there are plenty of spots to stop, read a book, go for a swim, or grab a coffee. I took my time, stopping to swim on several different occasions and indulging in some Bled cream cake, a local favorite.
Hiking to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint is a must-do. It’s a short, steep hike for a sweeping view of the lake.
There are a ton of spots to swim around the lake, plan on walking the whole thing and stopping for a swim, food, or refreshments when the mood suits you.
After Ljubljana, I took the bus to Kranjska Gora for the weekend. This small town sits right at the edge of Triglav National Park and provides a nice jumping-off point for hikes in the area. While the weather was a bit spotty, I got lucky with a short window on Saturday morning and did a via ferrata up Mala Mojstrovka, followed by a fun ridge traverse to tag a few more summits. Sunday brought unsettled weather to the mountains, so I made a loop to a nearby town to check out a waterfall.
There is a hiker bus that runs from Kranjska Gora over Vršič pass to a few other towns. It’s quite inexpensive and you can use it to access day hikes that are further away.
Quite a few people were basing themselves out of Bovec or Trenta, rather than Kranjska Gora. I didn’t make it there, but I think those towns might feel a bit more *in* the mountains.
If the weather is bad, there are some accessible waterfalls in nearby Mojstrana and Gozd Martuljek. Martuljek is within running distance, but they are both quick bus rides.
I’m in Bad Gastein, Austria, this week, working from a Selina property. They’ve made their name mostly in Central and South America with a unique blend of hostel/hotel/co-working and they’ve recently begun expanding to Europe. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cheers!