Summer Fun – 2018

This was the summer to cross items off my “bucket list!”  The two biggest items were climbing Mt Katahdin, which is the end of the Appalachian Trail if you start in Georgia or the beginning of the famous east coast hiking trail if you are starting in Maine!   My other “bucket list” item was water skiing, which I had not done in over 30 years.  Of course, my summer had other wonderful activities like walks on Higgins Beach, visits with doggie friends, the Great Pond wood trail, hiking Tumbledown Mountain and my annual father-daughter trip to Aroostook County to name a few.

 Annual Father-Daughter Trip

IMG_1917

Aroostook County is beautiful in the summer.

My dad is originally from Oakfield, Maine in Aroostook County, the most northern county in the state.  For about the past 6 years, I have taken dad back to visit friends and family.  It has been such lovely times and we have created such wonderful memories.  This year was no different.  I always love to hear his stories of growing up.  This year, we visited the Lumbermen’s Museum in Patten, ME.  Dad and his family have a long history of “working in the woods!”  It was fun going through the various buildings and hearing Dad’s stories about his father and the whole families’ experiences.

The Lumbermen’s Museum was wonderful.  It covers 175 years of logging history.  It is located on a road that many logs were hauled to the mills.  There are 9 buildings dedicated to all of the equipment that has been used over the years.  From building to building you see all the tools used for cutting and hauling the logs from the woods to those used to drive the logs down the river to the mills.  Two of the buildings houses heavy equipment like the logging sleds and wagons pulled by horses or oxen.  Another shed has two Lombard log haulers one powered by gasoline and the other by steam.

My favorite part of the museum was the replicas of the logging camps and how the lumberjacks lived while working in the woods.  It was a structure about 12 to 15 ft long and about 15 ft wide.  There were about 12-14 men living in one cabin at a time.  One long bed was built along one wall and on the other wall was a long table with a long bench where the men would eat.  A stove on another wall was to keep the camp warm and for the cook to prepare meals that would “stick to their ribs.”Over the years, life in the woods improved with better tools and living conditions in the camps.

Unfortunately, the day we were visiting the museum it was a rainy and dreary day.  My photos really didn’t come out very good.  The only one I have is of my dad looking at the various saws they had hanging on the wall of one of the buildings.  Seeing the saws reminded dad of the summer his mother, father and five siblings worked in the woods logging.  It was the job for two of my aunts to fell around 45 trees a day using a two-man crosscut saw.

IMG_1918

My 88 year-old father inspecting old lumbering saws.

If you find yourself planning a trip to northern Maine in Aroostook County,  I really encourage you to visit the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum.  Here is their webpage to give you more information:  www.lumbermensmuseum.org

Great Pond Walks

Often, my summer days will start with a walk around the Great Pond trail that is located near our home.  I never know what will greet me…

fullsizeoutput_2bfb

I took this photo early in the summer of a family of geese and their young goslings.

IMG_1634

I always look forward to Lady Slippers blooming.

IMG_1992

Turkeys were my entertainment one day walking along Great Pond.

fullsizeoutput_2f41

Unfortunately, this isn’t the best photo but as I was walking along Great Pond trail, I saw this Barred Owl swoop up and land on a tree branch that was hanging over the trail.

fullsizeoutput_2f3e

The owl was just as curious about me (and the dog, Buddy, who was walking with me) as I was about him!  This is looking directly up at him as Buddy and I walked under him.

fullsizeoutput_2f4e

There are two ponds at Great Pond and this photo is of the smaller of the two.  It was taken just a couple of days ago and I felt was a reminder that the September sun is lower in the sky.  A quiet reminder that summer is over.  I don’t know if you can make it out but at the end of the log was a turtle trying to catch the last rays of summer.

Higgins Beach

IMG_1649

As always, Higgins Beach in the early mornings continues to be a favorite of mine.  This picture was taken on one of those mornings with the sea roses blooming in the foreground.  I didn’t ride my bicycle nearly enough to Higgins this summer as I have done in the past….next year I vow to do more bike riding.

IMG_1653

I was able to spend many summer days with my doggie friends.  Here Cailey and I were enjoying the beach while her parents were off for an overnight!

IMG_1654

The black spot, in this picture, is Cailey refusing to come with me!  I was walking to throw something away and she thought I was leaving.  I guess she thought she had not spent enough time on the beach and was refusing to come with me.  She was very happy when she realized that we were staying longer.

I always have time for my doggie friends!

One of the reasons I didn’t ride my bicycle as often, is I had many doggie friends visiting with me and prefer to take them for walks through Great Pond where they are less apt to get covered in sand and wet from an ocean romp!

IMG_1645

This is Jed my cousin, Jennifer’s dog.

I actually got to see Ralphie, three times this summer!  Twice when I made the trip to Moosehead Lake to visit my mom and once when Ralphie and his owner, Alice, came to visit me!

fullsizeoutput_2f2b

Buddy is the “new dog” in the neighborhood and spent a night with me when his family went to Boston for an overnight get-away!  He loves walks through Great Pond!!  There are so many squirrels!!

IMG_2041

Remember “Sweet Mimi” from previous posts?  She visits Auntie periodically.  Here is “Miss Photogenic” with her favorite toy monkey.

IMG_2042

Just recently, Theo closed out the summer with a week-long visit.  He and his family, live across the street from us!

Oh yes, I had people visits, too!

IMG_1892


Summer “kicked off” with a college-friend weekend at Lake Winnepesaukah in New Hampshire.

IMG_4250

Jane, Kathy and I celebrated Kathy’s July birthday.  I met these lovely ladies walking at Higgins Beach.  Jane is mom to Cailey and Kathy is mom to Mimi!  What a gift our friendship is to me!  Our friend, Holly couldn’t make it to the celebration.  We were “minus one” of our “Fursome, foursome Group!”

IMG_1987

My girlfriend, Lynn and her husband, Larry came all the way to Maine from Chicago to celebrate their anniversary!  Lynn and I had not seen each other for over 40 years when we were working together in the Dominican Republic!  We had a great time sharing our life adventures and seeing the sights of the area!

IMG_8170

My high school friend, Malcolm came to visit from Connecticut and we climbed Tumbledown Mountain! It such a beautiful hike! (More about Tumbledown Mountain to come!)

Crossed off the Bucket List

“Going to Camp” and Climbing Mt Katahdin

For the past two years, my friend Alan and I have been talking about climbing Mt Katahdin together.  Earlier this year, I told him this was going to be the year that, as the Nike commercial says,  we “just do it!”  We decided on the week of July 30 to make the trip to Alan’s family camp on the west border of Baxter State Park.

I was so looking forward to the week of being at camp and finally climbing Mt Katahdin! The only other time I had been to Baxter State Park, where Katahdin is located, was with my family when I was about 10 years old.  We went for a weekend of camping at one of the many campsites the park has to offer and hiking the mountain.  I remember how much fun it was cooking over the open fire and sleeping in the tent.  Climbing the mountain started out as a great adventure but just as we got to the timberline, the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down.  It was torrential and dangerous!  The rocks were very wet and slippery and the hiking path turned into a stream of gushing water.  We made it back to our campsite totally soaked to the skin and feeling miserable!

That was my only attempt at climbing majestic Mt Katahdin!  With a window of a whole week, I was hoping that the “weather gods” would be smiling upon Alan and me and we would be blessed with one good day to make the climb!

The day finally came for the “great camping/hiking adventure” to begin!  With the car packed, we started the four-hour trek (from Augusta, ME) to Camp Phoenix.  To get to Alan’s cabin, we entered Baxter State Park at the Togue Pond Gate, the entrance closest to the town of Millinocket.

IMG_8094

This boulder lets you know that you are about 2 miles from the state park entrance!

Camp Phoenix is located on the west border of Baxter State Park on Nesowadnehunk Lake.  It is such a beautiful setting! The cabin was once a part of a traditional Maine sporting camp where guests would sleep in small cabins and come to the main lodge for their meals.  Camp Phoenix is still intact with the large lodge and individual cabins. In 1992, the sporting camp was turned into a condo complex affording families to own the buildings individually while sharing the maintenance of the common areas.

fullsizeoutput_2e9e

Camp Phoenix is a typical Maine cabin.  Being here brought back so many wonderful childhood memories of time spent at our family cabin in another part of northern Maine!

IMG_8096

Cozy and rustic!

IMG_8145

Looking out onto Nesowadnehunk Lake.

We arrived just in time to enjoy sitting on the front porch and watching a glorious sunset while enjoying a glass of wine.  What a great introduction to Camp Phoenix!  Picture perfect!

I am happy to report that the day after our arrival was perfect conditions to hike Mt Kathadin!  We rose early so we could get to the trailhead before 7:00 AM when they closed the parking lot to limit the number of people hiking.

fullsizeoutput_2e78

Alan after a hearty breakfast and cup of rugged coffee to get the day started!

fullsizeoutput_2e7d

We decided to hike the Hunt Trail, which is the northernmost section of the Appalachian Trail!

IMG_8106

Hunt Trail is the longest trail (5.2 miles long) and the most scenic.  For the first part of the hike, we followed Katahdin stream.

IMG_8108

We were treated to a couple of beautiful waterfalls.

More of the trail

Eventually, the trail became more rocky and a tad more challenging.

fullsizeoutput_2e81

This was our reward and view while we ate lunch.  This is looking out over the peaks from left to right – Double Top Mountain, Mt OJI, Mt Coe, North and Southern Brothers Mountains.  Baxter State Park has many hiking opportunities to offer on the 200,000-plus acres that make up the park.

Up we go!

This was past the timberline.  The boulders became more challenging and at some points, there were metal handlebars to help pull yourself up and over the large rocks!

fullsizeoutput_2e89

Alan has climbed the moutian several times…this was his second time this summer.  He was a great guide to do it with!

fullsizeoutput_2e8c

Over the boulders, the trail leveled out.  There were rock cairns to mark the path.  We could see the top from here!

fullsizeoutput_2e64

What an amazing feeling to get to the top!  As you can see, the mountain’s elevation is 5,267 ft (1,605 m), just a few feet shy of a mile!

3 ponds-Basin Ponds, lake in foreground, Chimney Pond

There are no words to describe the view!  This is looking down onto Chimney Pond.

IMG_1935

I feel as though I am on top of the world!  Behind me is Knife Edge trail.  It is the most dangerous trail as it follows along sharp, granite rocks.  At some points, the trail is only 3 feet (.91 m) wide.  The most deaths have occurred on this trail!

Bcij55V%R3Gj1oFHDCYqYw

Taking a minute to absorb the beauty and celebrating with my “Duckie of Determination!”  I have worn this hat for all my long distance challenges…marathons, 3-day walk for breast cancer and now, climbing Mt Katahdin!

IMG_1939

Celebratory “selfie” at the top!

The most gorgeous view!!!

[wpvideo CJnPv39U]

fullsizeoutput_2e99

What goes up, must come down….for a shorter route down, Alan suggested we take the Abol Trail.  It is 3.8 miles and very challenging at the top!

IMG_8135

Looking over to Hunt Trail that we climbed.

IMG_8136

Looking back from where we had just hiked!

fullsizeoutput_2ea4

At the timberline….still, we had a long way to go!

This picture reminds me of the lone hiker we met shortly after I took it.  He was going at a slower pace than we were!  He was a slightly built man who said his name was Jack and he was from New York. Jack and his friend had made it to the top.  Coming down, his friend decided to go ahead of him as he was walking too slow.  Jack shared that he thought the next time he did a climb like that, he might train a little bit more….that most of his walking was along 5th Avenue and Broadway….we were surprised!  Not only was he from New York but New York City!  It sounded as though he and his friend had come to Millinocket and were staying at the only resort in the area.  From the conversation, I don’t think climbing a mountain was really planned.  Jack didn’t seem very prepared especially when he said that a worker at the resort had given him a backpack to use.  His clothes were regular casual pants and a polo-type shirt and on his feet were sneakers.  He had dropped his water bottle at the beginning of the trail and was unable to retrieve it so had hiked the way down without water!  It was a hot day!  I had about 1/2 bottle left of some Gatorade and gave it to him.  He was very grateful and commented on the kindness of Maine people!  We parted ways and further down the trail, met up with his friend coming back to make certain he was all right.  His friend shared that Jack had just celebrated his 63rd birthday the day before.  That made Jack’s accomplishment of summiting more impressive!  We were relieved that his friend was heading back to meet him!!

It was a full, 12-hour day of hiking with a 45-minute stay at the top!  I really didn’t think the climb up was that bad.  For me, it was just special to meet the hikers who had completed their “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail!  I got energy from them!  Just imagine, hiking every day for 5 to 7 months and then reaching the end of the trail!  I just wondered what it felt like.  Was it a sense of accomplishment for completing such a huge goal or was it kind of a letdown, like after opening all the presents at Christmas…now what?   I also thought of Percival Baxter who was the former governor of Maine from 1921 to 1925.  It was his vision, in 1930, that created and preserved the beauty of the 200,000 acres that is today, Baxter State Park.

Going down, was another story!  My knees starting “talking” or rather “screaming” my first step downward on the trail!  I thought it was because of my age…I am 63 years old but after talking to other, much younger people, it seemed to be the same experience for most.  Young or old, your body doesn’t like hiking down!!

People from all over the world come to Maine to experience our beautiful rocky coastline and tasty seafood.  However, I strongly encourage you to make a reservation to camp at Baxter State Park to experience a whole other adventure that Maine has to offer.

The last couple of days at the cabin were spent relaxing…although Alan and a couple of other friends, who were at their cabins, did another shorter hike the next day.  I graciously declined their invitation to join them and enjoyed a day of relaxing and reading.  That night, Alan and I enjoyed a campfire, roasting marshmallows to squish between graham crackers lined with pieces of chocolate for a good and tasty s’more!  The night was finished with a walk to the dock to lie down and gaze up at the sky filled with twinkling stars while listening to the mournful cry of the loons and yelps of the pack of coyotes!

It was a magical few days that brought back so many fond, childhood memories.  I only hope that I will be invited back to Camp Phoenix every summer to explore more of Baxter State Park and relax in the great wilderness of Maine.  Thank you, Alan, for the wonderful memories!!!

Tumbledown Moutain

Last year, Dad and I went to Weld, Maine to celebrate our birthdays at the end of September.  I had heard about the “rock pile” on the news and wanted to see it for myself.  I blogged about it in my Summer/Fall Memories 2017 post.  For those of you who missed it, it is a pyramid of rocks that was built over a 20-year period by Ardene Proctor and his family.  At the top of the rock pile, is a cabin that they have graciously opened to the public for picnics.  Dad and I enjoyed the day exploring nearby Mt Blue State Park and having lunch at the “Rock Pile!”

fullsizeoutput_2722

The Rock Pile

When my niece heard that we had been in that area, she recommended that I try to hike nearby Tumbledown Mountain which is a favorite hike of hers.  Thanks to an invitation from my high school friend, Malcolm, I got to hike Tumbledown this year!

We arrived in the center of Weld and stopped at the general store to buy a few provisions.

IMG_8159

IMG_8155

The flowers in the town square are beautiful!  Lo and behold!  They are maintained by the Proctors who built the Rock Pile.  The mannequins in the background are supposed to resemble them!  There was an invitation attached to the sleeve of the man to help them celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at an open house on August 26.  It made me smile to think that this lovely couple were still going strong!

IMG_8156

IMG_8163

We got to the trailhead and started hiking up Brook Trail which is about 2.5 miles long.  Malcolm is an avid hiker and in his younger days, did a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail!  He is planning to do the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020!

IMG_8196

This was the trail as we got closer to the top of the mountain.  Tumbledown is 3,054 ft (931 m) tall.

IMG_8167

It is so pretty at the top!  This is Crater Lake or Tumbledown Pond not quite at the summit but close and a good spot to relax a bit before summiting.

IMG_8169

Heading toward the summit, looking back at Tumbledown Pond.

39871956_442397319585959_7837988412354199552_n

The “celebratory selfie” at the top with Lake Webb in the background!

IMG_8184

Before heading back, we dipped our feet in the cold water of the pond.  Can you see the fish?  They stock the pond each year with trout.

IMG_8193

Parting shot…I really hated to leave.  Some hikers we met were camping overnight.  What a great idea….maybe next year!

The last “bucket list” item was…….fullsizeoutput_2f34WATERSKIING

Again, this was something that I wanted to try for the past two years and finally had the opportunity this summer.  I used to waterski when I was younger but over the years, I haven’t had the chance to do it.  It had been over 30 years since I had last tried it!  What fun! I am hoping to make this an annual event for as long as I am able to get up!

Odds and Ends….

The Wall that Heals

I have visited the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Washington DC years ago.  This summer, a three-quarter scale replica of The Wall visited Gardiner, Maine.  This replica is 375 ft long and stands 7.5 ft high at the tallest point.  Although it was a replica, it was just as moving as visiting the original memorial in DC.  IMG_1908

IMG_1904

There are 58,318 names on the wall.  On the ground, there were cards that had the names of local people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedom.  The average age of the service members on the wall is 22 years, 9 months.

IMG_1903

Over 400,000 items have been left at the original memorial.  There are 8 women, 31 sets of brothers, 3 sets of fathers and sons on the wall.

Beach to Beacon Race

Do you remember watching the 1984 Summer Olympics that was held in Los Angeles and seeing Joan Benoit win the first women’s marathon?  Joan Benoit Samuelson grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and founded the Beach to Beacon 10K Race in 1998.  It is run from Crescent Beach State Park to the Portland Headlight!

When it started in 1998, there were 3,000 runners, some them were elite runners from around the world.  Today, the race continues to grow in popularity and registration for 2018 exceeded 6,500 people.  The race route is so close to my home and if I am home the first Saturday of August, the day of the race, I walk up to cheer the runners on.

IMG_1955

All walks of runners, from around the world, come to Cape Elizabeth, ME for the ever popular B2B 10K race!

It has been a fun summer.  Thank you for taking the time to read through my summer memories!

Until the next post…which will be of my travels throughout Southeast Asia….I wish you joy and sparkles!

 

 

 

Slovenia – Ljubljana​

IMG_1913I am in love with Slovenia.  It is such a beautiful, clean country and a very young country.  Slovenia was originally settled in the 6th century by the Slavs who are from the Carpathian mountains range that is found in central and eastern Europe.  From that time on, Slovenia was under the rule of a foreign state mostly by the Austrian-Hungary monarchy.  After World War I, it became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In 1990, after 70 years as part of Yugoslavia, 90% of the population voted for independence.  They celebrate Independence Day June 25, 1991. In 2004, Slovenia became part of the European Union and a member of NATO.

I was speaking with one lady in Piran about life under communism and she said that they fared much better than most of the eastern block countries because they were under Tito, who had made a split from communism and had a socialistic government.  I, in my ignorance, didn’t understand the difference and I was too embarrassed to ask.  So, I googled it when I got back to my apartment.  There is quite a difference between socialism and communism.  Basically, socialism is an economic system that allows people to own property under a communist government while communism controls both the government and seeks to get rid of capitalism.  Both socialism and communism believe that the economy should be owned by the public and controlled by a central organization.   However, the difference between the two systems is that socialism allows the majority of the people to have a say in how the economy should be run.  In communism, the economy is controlled through a dictatorial government.  Socialism supports the division of the wealth is dependent upon the productivity of an individual….you work hard, you will be rewarded.  With communism, the division of the wealth is based upon the needs of the individuals….sorry but from my meager observations, the people in power in communist countries enjoyed more of the wealth than the worker.

Socialism appears to have worked under Tito’s reign.  Today, this young country appears to be prospering.  The infrastructure of the country is amazing.  The roads are excellent, the buses are new, clean and run pretty much to the schedule…we didn’t take trains so not certain about the rail service.  Cars are modern.   There is a very strong push to recycle and everywhere are recycle bins.  It is an extremely clean country with very little litter.  As one waiter said to me, “I have traveled to other countries but then I realized, why do I want to leave Slovenia?  We have it all – the mountains, lakes and the coast!”  So true, so true!

The Old City Center

IMG_7642

I love the old center of Ljubljana.  It is so picturesque.  I have been trying to think of another city that I have visited that could compare and I really can’t think of one. The whole Old City is extremely clean and a pedestrian walkway, which makes it especially nice to not have to worry about cars while looking at the ornate buildings.

The dragons are one of the most recognized symbols for Ljubljana.  There are three legends about why the dragons are representative of the city.  One is the legend of Jason and the Argonauts.  It is believed that in his travels, Jason sailed up the Ljubljanica River eventually crashing further up from where Dragon Bridge is.  The other popular legend is St George who slew the dragon, which represents St George slaying paganism.  The final legend is that the dragons would fly away when a virgin crosses the bridge.  They are still there today.  You decide which legend is the best reason for dragons to be the city’s symbol.

As well as having the most recognizable symbols of the city; when first built in 1900-1901, this bridge was one of the largest of its kind in Europe, the first reinforced concrete structure in Ljubljana and the first to be paved with asphalt.

The dragons on the Dragon Bridge herald that you are entering the Old City.

fullsizeoutput_2c60

The Dragon Bridge was built in 1900-1901 in the Art Nouveau design.  Behind the Dragon is the covered market area that was designed by Ljubljana’s famous architect, Jože Plečnik.  The dome and steeples in the background are to St Nicholas Catholic Cathedral, the main Catholic church for Slovenia.

 

IMG_7535

There are two dragon statues at each end of the bridge, for a total of four statues.

Vodnikov Square and Central MarketIMG_7458

Across the Dragon Bridge, we came into Vodnikov Square where the Central Market is held Monday – Saturday.  It was full of luscious fruits, vegetable, dried cured meats and flowers.  It has been there since the 1940s when the Slovene architect, Jože Plečnik, designed a two-storied market hall in the Renaissance style.  The vegetable, fruit and flower vendors are in the open square.  In the market hall are the vendors for meats, fish, cheese and baked goods.

Fridays are truly the day to visit the market as there is the Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen).  It is held from mid-March to October from 10:00AM-10:00PM, weather permitting.  Chefs from restaurants throughout Ljubljana offer delicious dishes from their stalls.  It is a great place to test foods from around the world.  We ate there Friday night and enjoyed our time watching the variety of people and their dogs.IMG_7655fullsizeoutput_2e20

IMG_7658

Pancakes are popular in Ljubljana.  This is a batch of them with raisins added.

fullsizeoutput_2e1e

Once cooked, they are chopped up and served with a fruit compote or applesauce.

Along the river is Plečnik’s design of a 300 meter, two storied Covered Market.  Plečnik was inspired by ancient Greek and Roman architecture and loved columns.  Today, there are restaurants at one end and stalls offering souvenirs and local foods such as honey, traditional sweets and of course, there is a gelato stand.

IMG_7532

The covered market designed byPlečnik.

This covered market was built between 1939-1944 in the middle of World War II.  It is interesting that such a project would move forward during wartime.  Our guide said that the funds had already been approved for the market. Also, to save money, Plečnik reused material from the ruins of a monastery, destroyed in an earthquake, in Vodnikov Square where the  Central Market is located today.

Butcher’s Bridge

fullsizeoutput_2d69


Butcher Bridge with the “love locks” hanging from the post.

This isn’t quite the name that comes to mind when you think of a symbol of love but that is indeed what this bridge is – Ljubljana’s love bridge.  Originally, it was supposed to be an extension of Plečnik’s covered market with a wide, covered bridge decorated with statues and columns crossing over the Ljubljanica river.  Due to World War II, that plan never came to fruition. I researched to see what the bridge looked like that used to be there but found conflicting information.  One website said that there were butcher stalls on the old bridge and another said that there was an empty space in the covered market until 2010 when this bridge was built.

At any rate, today the bridge is lined with “locks of love,” the key ceremonially thrown into the river, as lovers confess their forever love to each other.  Except maybe for the lock that our guide showed us.  It was a combination lock so the “Casanova” could confess his forever love to his “squeeze of the day!”

IMG_7538

This is what “undying love” looks like!

Also, on and around the bridge are these modern-day, rather grotesque, statues by Slovenian sculpture Brdar.  The one on the bridge is of Prometheus who was Titan who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to the humans.  For this act, Zeus chained him to a rock and an eagle ate his liver every day but it grew back and the torture continued.  He was finally released when Chiron the Centaur agreed to die for Prometheus and Hercules killed the eagle and released him.

IMG_7543

Prometheus Statue by Jakov Brdar who still alive today and can be seen occasionally wandering throughout the Old Center.  He is easily identifiable by his white beard.  I kept an eye out for him but never saw him!

Cathedral of St NicholasIMG_7468

Behind the Central Market is the Cathedral of St Nicholas is also referred to as The Cathedral.  It is the head church for the Catholics which is the primary religion in Slovenia.  The Cathedral has a long history that dates back to 1262 when there was a Romanesque Church on this spot.  A fire in 1361 caused the church to undergo renovations and a Gothic style ceiling was built. It is believed the Turks destroyed the church by burning it in 1469.  This baroque-style cathedral was built from 1701-1706 which additions added on and new art presented over the years.IMG_7469

The large bronze entrance door has a motif of the history of Slovenia on it.  It was designed in 1996 to commemorate the 1250th anniversary of Christianity in Slovenia and the visit of Pope John Paul II.  At the bottom is the Linden tree that is in most town centers and people often gather to socialize.  To the right of the tree are the masses of Slovenes coming forward to be baptized by the Irish monk.  The horses and riders to the left represent the middle-ages crusaders, who passed through Slovenia, on their way to the Holy Land.  The horses and riders charging along represent the Turkish Ottoman charging to capture Vienna.  Amazingly, the Slovenes were never under Turkish rule.  The three books represent how the Slovene language united the people.  The man holding the book represents Frederic Baraga, the Catholic missionary from Slovenia who traveled to the Great Lakes region of the US in 1830.

He was an interesting and dedicated man who could speak 8 different languages. During the winter, he would travel hundreds of miles on snowshoe to minister to the people in his district earning the name of “The Snowshoe Priest.”  He was an advocate for the Native American people and wrote a book of dictionary and grammar for the Ojibway language. It was from the many books that Baraga wrote that people from Slovenia learned about the Native American people and life in the United States.

Towards the top of the doors are masses of people – to the left the people with their arms behind there backs are representing the shame and heartache from war and communism.  To the right, are the liberated people who have hope for a new and better life.  One is handing a carnation, the national flower, to Pope John Paul II who visited Slovenia in 1996.  The Vatican was the first country to recognize Slovenia as an independent country.

It is truly a beautiful church with amazing frescos by Giulio Quaglio, an Italian artist.  The frescos in St Nicholas Cathedral is considered his greatest work.

fullsizeoutput_2c65

The Ceiling

fullsizeoutput_2eae

The Choir Loft and Organ at the back of the church.

fullsizeoutput_2eaf

The front of the church at the altar.

Triple Bridge

Back out near the market and wandering along the market hall, we came to the Triple Bridge.  Originally, there was a single wooden bridge built in medieval times.  This was replaced in 1842 with a more reliable bridge.  Between 1929-1932, Jože Plečnik added the pedestrian bridges on either side of the original bridge.  He tore down the metal railings and added the ornate stone railings and stairs leading to a walkway along the river below. Jože Plečnik was an architect from Ljubljana who was also involved with creations in Vienna, Austria and in Prague, Czech Republic on the renovations at the Prague Castle from 1920 to 1934.   It is at the Triple Bridge that you will find a very helpful Information Center is located as well as clean and free public bathrooms.

fullsizeoutput_2c67

The Triple Bridge and Prešernov Square in the background with the pink Franciscan Church of the Assumption.

Prešernov Square

IMG_7511

Looking down on Prešernov Square with the pink Franciscan Church of the Assumption in the background.

Across the river heading towards the pink church is PreÅ¡ernov Square (PreÅ¡ernov trg). Today it is the Old City’s main square and I think, it is one of the more romantic squares. It is named after the great Slovenian national poet, France PreÅ¡eren (1800-1849).  His statue is in the square facing the statue of the love of his life, Julija Primic, who he never had a relationship with.  Sigh!!!!

IMG_7551

Prešernov Statue

fullsizeoutput_2cb5

Julija Primic, the love of poet Prešeren.  Her statue is on a building across the square.

Above PreÅ¡eren’s statue stands a muse who are inspirational goddesses of literature, arts and science.  In 1905, when the monument was unveiled, the priest from the Church of the Annunciation was not too pleased with the topless muse.  According to our tour guide, one priest draped her in material that was removed by an “adoring fan.”  Eventually, trees were strategically planted in front of the church and on the side of the statue to block the parishioners from seeing the topless muse.

Prešernov Square

Prešernov Square to the right, the statue of Prešernov.  You can see the tree that was strategically placed to cover the topless muse statue.

Our guide also pointed out that it is a tribute to the Slovenian people that in the most important square a poet stands as a tribute to the character of the people who love poetry and language.  It doesn’t commemorate a war hero who caused pain and death.

The large, pink church that dominates the square is the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.  It was built between 1646 and 1660 in the early Baroque style and is the third church to be built on this spot.  Next to it is the monastery.  It was once an Augustine monastery.  The pinkish color is symbolic for the Franciscan order.

In the early 1900s, two buildings in the Art Nouveau style graced the square and are considered the most beautiful in Ljubljana.  The Urbanc House is the oldest department store in Ljubljana.  It was commissioned by Mr. Feliks Urbanc a local merchant.  Started in 1902 it was completed in 1903 in the Viennese Secession style (Art Nouveau)  and was designed after department stores in Graz and Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.  The statue of Mercury on top of the building is for the god of commerce and protector of merchants.

fullsizeoutput_2eb2

Urbanc House is still a shopping center for top-brand designers.

Diagonally across from the department store is the Hauptmann House which was built in  1873 and is one of the few buildings to survive the 1895 earthquake.  After the earthquake, it was purchased by Adolf Hauptmann, who the building is named after today.  In 1904, the exterior was redesigned in the Viennese Secession style that was famous during that time.

IMG_7547

The Hauptmann House.  The yellow building, to the left, is where the statue of Julija Primic is located.

Mestni trg

IMG_7486

Town Hall Square (Mestni trg).  The Robba Fountain in the foreground behind is the Town Hall.

From PreÅ¡ernov Square we walked back across the bridge and straight towards Town Hall Square (Mestni trg).  This was the original town square in the 12th century.  The   Town Hall is the main building in this square and nearby, there is the Robba Fountain (aka The Fountain of Three Carniolan Rivers) that was designed by Francesco Robba between 1743 and 1751.  Robba was inspired by Bernini’s Four Rivers statue that he saw in Piazza Navona on his trip to Rome, Italy.  The Carniolan region is a historical area that now makes up the western part of Slovenia.  It has three important rivers, the Sava, the Ljubljanica and the Krka, represented on Robba’s baroque creation.  The original is now housed and protected in the National Gallery.  The one in the square is a replica.

IMG_7479

The Town Hall

 

fullsizeoutput_2d6b

The Courtyard inside of the Town Hall

Cobbler’s Bridge

IMG_7528

Cobbler’s Bridge

One of the oldest bridges crossing the river, it dates back to the 1200s.   In medieval days, it was covered wooden bridge and butcher’s had their stalls here.  However, the stench was so strong that the Emporer paid to relocate them.  The shoemakers moved in and the name for the bridge has since stayed with it.  Between 1931 and 1932, Jože Plečnik designed and built this newer, wider bridge.

The Castlefullsizeoutput_2c6b

For over 900 years, the Ljubljana Castle has been standing protectively over the city on Castle Hill.  It was originally a medieval fortress and was thought to have been constructed in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century.  It was during the 15th century that it was remodeled the way it looks today.

The castle is open to visitors.  You can walk from the Old City to the castle or there is a funicular that will take you to the top of Castle Hill.  There is no entrance fee but if you want to see the museum, chapel and other displays, you need to purchase a ticket.  There is a wall of defense that connects two towers.  Today, it is used as a panoramic viewpoint.  The courtyard and panoramic viewpoint are free to enjoy.

IMG_8087

The entrance to the castle.

IMG_7501

fullsizeoutput_2cbc

Outside the walls of the castle.

IMG_8080

Looking across the courtyard to the panoramic viewing wall.

IMG_8083

On top of the viewing wall, looking back at the courtyard.

IMG_7509

One of the views from the castle of Ljubljana with the Alps in the background.

IMG_8092

There was a nice park surrounding the castle.

The National and University Library

IMG_7674

The National and University Library

Another creation of Jože Plečnik built between 1936 and 1944 and is considered to be his most outstanding work in Slovenia.  The gray stones among the red bricks represent a woven carpet.  The windows are shaped as open books.  The handles on the doors to the entrance of the library are decorated with the head of Pegasus, the winged-horse that guides people towards knowledge.

Inside, the entrance and stairway are made of black Podpeč marble from the Brezovica region, south Ljubljana.  As you climb upward, the marble lightens to represent the “journey of knowledge.”  As one begins his journey of knowledge, he is in darkness and as he progresses along, he slowly sees “the light” of knowledge.  This walk concludes in the reading room that has one wall all windows to let in natural light.  The room is very bright.  However, it is not open to tourist so here is a photo to show you what it looks like.

IMG_7666

The stairway leading to the journey of knowledge.

 

fullsizeoutput_2cc1

This is not a very good photo as it was dark where it was displayed.  Without the flash, the picture kept blurring.  It gives you an idea of what the reading room looks like with the wall of windows.

fullsizeoutput_2eb3

An outside view of the wall of windows….or the best I could get.  There were several trees blocking the windows.

In 1946, a plane crashed into the reading room side of the building and over 300,000 books were lost.  Sadly, the pilot died but since the crash happened at night, no one was in the building.

The National Gallery of Sloveniafullsizeoutput_2c92

It was a rainy day and what better place to spend an afternoon than in an art gallery?  This national gallery is dedicated to just Slovenian artist.  It was opened in 1920 at the Kresija Palace which is near the Triple Bridge in the Old City.  In 1926, the collection was moved to the Narodni dom Palace, a Neo-Classical building with a Neo-Renaissance facade.  It has remained at this location ever since.

The museum is opened 361 days a year.  There are two fees, one for the permanent collection and one for the temporary collection.  I wasn’t certain which one I should visit as I didn’t know if I would be able to return to see the collection I didn’t get to see on this visit.  Then the lady asked if I was retired….well, yes, I have been retired most of my life….although I didn’t say that.  I told her my age and that I didn’t work.  Never did I think that getting older would be a blessing!  As a “retired person,” I was entitled to visit both collections at half the regular price!  Yippppeeee!!!

IMG_7605

Inside the National Art Museum

Slovenian Artist Ivana Kobilca

The temporary exhibit was by the Slovenian artist Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926).  It is where I spent most of my visit.  I really enjoyed her work.  She did incredible portraits by capturing the expression of the person she was painting.

fullsizeoutput_2ebd

Self-portrait of Ivana Kobilca

Ivana Kobilca was born in Ljubljana on Dec 20, 1861.  At the age of 16, she decided to pursue a career as an artist.  Her career took her to live and study in many of Europe’s capitals – Munich, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Sarajevo and Florence.  There were exhibits in Paris as well as Ljubljana.  It was at the onset of WWI that she returned to Ljubljana to live once again.

During her formative years, her style was a dark realism.  In Paris, she discovered lighter and brighter colors and style.  She tried many styles throughout her career from painting  “en plein air,” to still lifes, to portraits which is how she mostly supported herself.  All of these periods were shown in the exhibit.  It was nice to be introduced to such an amazing painter who I had never heard of.

Here are some of my favorite paintings by Kobilca….

fullsizeoutput_2ec1

Portrait of an Elderly Woman (between 1882-1889)

fullsizeoutput_2ec5

Woman with a kerchief (1885)

fullsizeoutput_2ebf

An Old Man (between 1882-1889)

fullsizeoutput_2ec9

Boy with a red hat (1888-1889)

fullsizeoutput_2ecb

Women Ironing (1889)

fullsizeoutput_2ed0

Summer (1889-1890)

fullsizeoutput_2ed4

Meadow Flowers in a Blue Vase (1913-1914)

In parting, here is the original Robba Fountain that was in Town Hall Square that is now stored in the National Art Museum for safe keeping.

fullsizeoutput_2c88

The original Robba Fountain

 

Today was a “street-artsy kind of day!”

Metelkova

I am not certain how exactly to describe this place.  I guess it is all from an individual’s perspective.  Some may look at this place and see dilapidated buildings with graffiti all over the place or others may look at it and see it as a “Street Art Museum.”  Instead of seeing dilapidated buildings, you see studios for starving artist, creative sculptures recycling used or broken items. To look at it as a place to practice freedom of expression in a relatively new country that had been under communism for so long and had no ability to express thoughts/expressions freely for such a long time.

I chose the later.  Some of the art I saw was creative and imaginative.  Some of the art made me smile and some I didn’t care for at all.  Isn’t that what art is all about….to evoke some kind of emotion?

I will let you decide what you think is it art or is it dilapidated buildings covered in graffiti?

IMG_7416

The entrance to Meetelkova Street Art Museum

fullsizeoutput_2c55

Interesting to note that these buildings once were army barracks.  In 1991, when Slovenia became independent from the old Yugoslavia, artist and activist partitioned the government to utilize the barracks in a creative manner rather than commercially.  The commercialization of the barracks didn’t work out.  Within two years time, artist and activist moved in to create a self-governing area which is considered one of the most successful “urban squats” in Europe.

There are up to 1500 events offered each year in the illegally occupied buildings.  The government isn’t happy about it all but I guess, from what I have read, they tolerate it.  There is an art gallery which shows art from the local university students, theater performances and nightclubs – some catering to the LGBT crowd.  It is the leading place for underground music and art in the capital city.

IMG_7406

I don’t know if this theater still has performances. I asked and the people didn’t really know.

IMG_7404

The entrance to the student art gallery.  The art was very modern….some of it was good and some not so good!  I absolutely LOVED the mosaic on the outside wall.  It must have taken years to finish!

fullsizeoutput_2c5bIMG_7398IMG_7405

I was there during the day and it was rather quiet.  I understand that things liven up at night.

fullsizeoutput_2c58

Is this a large birdhouse in the form of a bird?  It is an example of creating with recycled items. The head is made from an old tire and the yellow “beak” is from some kind of tubing. Is the bicycle wheel with tin cans in the back tail feathers? the head is made from an old tire. A fan forms the stomach, arms from old mannequins with gloves on the hands create the “wings”.  Do you think the socks in the front are “feathers?”  Is this truly art?  You decide for yourself.

IMG_7407

IMG_7391IMG_7410

IMG_7411

A place to socialize!

fullsizeoutput_2c5d

 

Tovarna Rog  

I was taking the long way back to our apartment after visiting Meltelkova.  Next door to Meltelkova is the plaza that has the Museum of Contemporary Art – MSUM (not to be confused with the Museum of Modern Art which houses the permanent modern art collection for Slovenia. MSUM offers exhibits from a collaboration of Eastern and Western avant-garde artist which is represented through the Arteast 2000+International Collection.

My walk took me through part of the Old City section.  Walking down Trubarjeva Street, I looked up and spied a cement head with a crown on it.  IMG_7435Upon closer inspection, I realized that there was an entrance and the sign above the entrance said “Ghetto Sculpture”.IMG_7433

IMG_7434

Welcoming Committee at Ghetto Sculptures

Curiosity got the better of me when I saw someone walk inside.  I peeked in and saw that there were more sculptures of recycled material within the walls and went to explore.  While wandering around, I kept seeing reference to “Rog.”  When I looked closer at my photo of the Ghetto Sculpture sign, I noticed the bike above it had a sign that said “The Rog Rider.”  There was another sign painted above a door – The Uni ted Colors of Rog.IMG_7445

What on earth was Rog?  I made a note to look it up in Google Translate when I got back to the apartment.  There doesn’t appear to be an English word for Rog in Slovenian but in Romanian, according to Google Translate, it means “horn.”  So, I just googled “Rog in Slovenian” and got an article about Tovarna Rog and the history of this group of buildings.

In the late 1800s, Tovarna Rog was a leather factory.  After WW II, it became a bicycle factory that produced Rog bicycles until 1991.  They were best known for the “Pony” model.  It is similar to the “Banana bikes” from the 70s in the United States, only the seat was not as long as the Banana bike seat.

In 1998, the building came under the protection of the cultural heritage sites because it was the first building in Slovenia to be constructed of steel and concrete.  2002 the entire complex was purchased by the Municipality of Ljubljana.  Today, it offers two skate park, soup kitchen, a social center for disabled people, art studios and galleries, philosophy lectures and rave parties.

fullsizeoutput_2ed8

The factory building.

Thanks to a delegation from Ljubljana to the Central European project - A Second Chance: From Industrial Use to Creative Impulse, there is hope/plans for further improvements to be made to this industrial complex.

Some of the “art” that was on display…… IMG_7438

IMG_7436

I find the sign interesting…..does this mean they want it to go back to socialism?

IMG_7440IMG_7441IMG_7443

 

 Tivoli Parkfullsizeoutput_2edb

The largest park in Ljubljana was designed in 1813 by French engineer Jean Blanchard.  He connected two existing parks and linked it to central Ljubljana.  In 1880, a pond was dug and people enjoyed boating and fishing in the summers and in the winters, ice skating.  Nearby the pond is a small botanical garden.

Does it surprise you that between 1921 and 1939, Jože Plečnik was involved with an extensive redesign project of the park?  I really think that the capital should be called “Plečnikville” or something to give acknowledgment for the man who had such an influence on the design of the city!

In his new design, Plečnik widened the promenade which leads to the Tivoli Mansion that houses the Museum of Graphic Design.  The promenade is named Jakopič Promenade after the Impressionist painter, Rihard Jakopič (1869-1943).  I saw his work at the National Art Gallery and just loved his work!  Here are some of my favorite paintings by Jakopič.

IMG_7608

Here are some of his winter scenes.

fullsizeoutput_2ee4

Krizanke in Autumn (1909)

fullsizeoutput_2ee5

Top painting – The Sava (1922-1926)  Bottom painting – Gerajte (1912)

There are several hiking trails throughout the park.  We hiked many of them in search of the top of Rožnik hill.  The trails are very well marked if you understand Slovenian, which is a very difficult language!  One kind lady pointed out the name on a sign that we were to follow to get to the top of Rožnik hill.  We were doing well until we came to an intersection where some unkindly soul had taken down the signs.  We went right when we should have gone left!  Thank goodness for the GPS on my phone.  It got us back to the same intersections and we went right.

IMG_7697

The beautiful trails throughout the park.

fullsizeoutput_2ee2

Our destination, the Church of Visitation on top of Rožnik Hill.  We are heading in the right direction…finally!

Eventually, we made it to the top and I am so glad that we persisted.  (Honestly,  I was just about ready to give up.)  At the top was a Church of Visitation, which was closed.

fullsizeoutput_2ee1

Church of Visitation

Nearby was the Rožnik Inn (Gostilna Rožnik).  Here we enjoyed a tasty lunch while sitting on picnic benches under old oak trees.  It was a lovely setting with the sunlight filtering through the leaves on the trees, a cool breeze refreshing us and the church bells ringing on the quarter of the hour.

fullsizeoutput_2edd

Rožnik Inn

David had bread dumplings that tasted like stuffing from a Thanksgiving meal and roasted vegetables.  I enjoyed a grilled vegetable salad with homemade bread.  It was both yummy and filling.

IMG_7689

Roasted veggies and bread dumplings.

This inn is known for the famous Slovenian writer, Ivan Cankar, staying there between 1910 to 1917.   The innkeeper’s wife was a childhood friend of Cankar and offered Cankar a room in the attic for free.  It was her hope that once people heard he was living at the inn, a more sophisticated clientele would begin to visit their establishment.  However, Cankar’s appetite for food and drink took a toll on the innkeeper and his wife’s hospitality and they persuaded him to move out.  He was given use of the former barn, near the inn.  Today, there is a small museum in this building with some of the writer’s belongings.IMG_7696

Ljubljana at Night

The Old City Center is charming and beautiful but even more so at night when it looks like a fairy tale with magical lights!

fullsizeoutput_2c9dfullsizeoutput_2c9eIMG_1689fullsizeoutput_2ca9fullsizeoutput_2ef3

Odds and Ends around Ljubljana

Here are some photos that I took that really don’t belong to any of the topics I have copied.  I just wanted to share them with you….

IMG_1704

It is said that Slovenia is in the shape of a chicken.  This is the outline of the country, you can see the “chicken.”

fullsizeoutput_2c85

We saw this lady all over the Old City Center with her bicycle.  Here we saw her feeding the pigeons.  This is one of my favorite pictures!

IMG_7473

Speaking of pigeons, I have never seen one resting like this one was.  He eventually flew off.

IMG_7516

This store/museum was called Verba.  It was crammed with all things Yugoslavian.  It was sharing with the owner that I had traveled in Yugoslavia when it was a country.  He was amazed and even gave me a pin as a souvenir!

IMG_8093

A whimsical water fountain!

IMG_8081

Enjoying the sights of Ljubljana!

fullsizeoutput_2eea

I just enjoy how they grow flowers everywhere!

IMG_7684

This busker was playing “Hotel California” by the Eagles.  He was very good.

IMG_7685

The day we walked to the Tivoli Park, we followed this Hare Krishna parade.  In the foreground are collection containers for recycling.  They are located throughout the city.

fullsizeoutput_2c86

One of the restaurants under the covered market area was called Moji Struklji – all things dumplings – a staple food among the locals.  They had sweet and savory flavors.

IMG_7634

We shared a blueberry dumpling….it was very, very good!

IMG_1666

We bought a small bottle of Blueberry Liqueur after having a sample of it in one of the stores in the Old Center.  It was so good!

I hope that the love I have for Ljublana was felt with my words and pictures.  Until the next trip, I wish you joy and sparkles!  ❤️✨✨✨

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovenia – Piran

Piran is located on the coast of Slovenia by the Adriatic Sea.  It is one of the three major towns in the southwest coastal region known as Slovene Istria.  Once part of the Roman Empire in the 900s, Italian and Slovenian are the official languages for this area.  All signs are in both Slovenian and Italian.

We spent four nights here and honestly, it was too long for our liking.  Piran is a lovely village but we were able to see most of it in just a couple of hours of walking around.  There isn’t much for beaches in the area.  Most people lounged on the big boulders that appeared to be placed to protect the town from storm surges and what beach they did have, they were made of rocks and not sand.  We made the most of it by visiting a nearby village of Izola one day and taking a hike along through the Strunjan Nature Reserve on another day.

IMG_7735

This is an example of the boulders along the coastal path that people sat on when they were sunning themselves or after a swim in the ocean.

IMG_7883

One of the rocky beaches along the coastal path.

We were here during the first of July and the days were really hot and humid.  It wasn’t much fun to wander around until late afternoon.  If you sat in the shade and were able to catch a breeze off the water, it was a little more tolerable.

Piran is on the tip of the Slovene Istria.  There is a lovely walkway along the waterfront that connects Piran to a larger city, Portoroz in the southeast.  Portoroz has the larger resorts and spas.  We traveled through it on our way to Piran.  I am so glad we chose to stay in Piran.  Portoroz was more commercialized than what I prefer.  Piran has more charm and personality in my opinion.

 

Tartini Square the center of town.

fullsizeoutput_2e23

Tartini Square – the center of Piran!taken from the top of the Bell Tower.

There is so much Italian influence in this town.  I often felt as though I was wandering through an Italian village.  The center of town is Tartini Square.  This area was once an inner dock for smaller fishing boats.  During the Middle Ages, palaces and other important buildings were built around this dock.  However, it is where the sewerage for the village ended up and it would smell would be very disgusting.  In 1894, the town officials decided to build a proper town square and filled this area in.  New buildings were built around the square including the impressive Town Hall building.  The Benečanka building (the Venetian House) is the only building on the square that has its original Gothic facade from the 15th century.

fullsizeoutput_2e27

The Venetian House, the oldest building on Tartini Square.  It used to be painted red which would have made it really stand out.  I imagine though, it clashed with pastel buildings next to it, though.

fullsizeoutput_2e29

The pastel buildings next to the Venetian House in the square.  

From 1909 to 1953, there were trolleybuses and trams passing through the square to provide transportation to the other villages along the coast.  When the last tram was retired in 1953, the square was renovated and white marble replaced the tracks.  The statue of Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) stands proudly over the square named after him. Tartini was a Baroque violinist and composer from Piran.

fullsizeoutput_2e25

Statue of Giuseppe Tartini with the Town Hall in the background.

A Fortified City

There has been a wall to protect the citizens of Piran since the 10th century.  The “newest” part of the wall was built from 1470 to 1533 when invasion by the Turks was a real threat.

Today, they are well-preserved and opened to the public for a small fee.  Since I had climbed the Bell Tower, I passed on going up on the wall.  Walking next to it was very impressive, though.

IMG_7896

View of the wall from the Bell Tower.

IMG_7872

View of Piran peninsula from near the wall.

fullsizeoutput_2ce0

Walking along the wall.

fullsizeoutput_2ce3

One of the three gates along the wall to enter into Piran.

The Port and Coastal Walkway

fullsizeoutput_2e31

Looking from Tartini Square out to the port.  The smaller boats are on the inner section and the larger boats were just inside the two lighthouses.

fullsizeoutput_2e30

Some of the boats that tried to come into the port were too large and docked out at sea or went to Portoroz.

fullsizeoutput_2e2f

Two lighthouses at the entrance to Piran port.

IMG_7723

It is a working port as well…..

IMG_7724

I wonder if the fishermen sell fresh fish from their boats.  We were never around when they were coming in.

IMG_7732

Fishing was a past time in the early evenings……

fullsizeoutput_2e2b

and chatting with friends.  Once the sun was further down on the horizon, the evenings were pleasant.

Along the ocean is a walkway that is lined with restaurants.  From early morning to late evening, people can be seen swimming in the ocean.  Strolling along the walkway is a lovely way to pass the evening.

fullsizeoutput_2e37

Looking from the port, you can see the awnings of the restaurants that line the coastal walkway.

IMG_7703

Close-up of Lady of Our Health Church at the point of Piran. It has been on this spot for a long time!  A structure was built here in 1274, it was redesigned in the Baroque style in 1776 – the year the US gained independence – Wow!

fullsizeoutput_2e36

Across from the Lady of our Health Church, are these two sculptures that some artistic person created.  A mermaid and dolphin in the waves!

IMG_7738

As I was clicking the photos of the sculptures, this seagull swooped very close to my head and landed next to me!  Very brazen!

fullsizeoutput_2e39

Continuing along the walkway, it is more of the same.

IMG_7806

Eventually, the walkway ended to this “beach.”

IMG_7719

This is from St George’s Church on the hill.  The coastal walkway continued on the other side of the church.  Below is the beach but you can see the walkway on the sloping hill.

IMG_7878

We eventually made it to the other side of St George’s church to see what this part of the coastal path was like.

IMG_7880

IMG_7870

Looking back at St George’s Church and the Bell Tower

IMG_7881

IMG_7884

We passed more rocky beaches and some stone sculptures…

fullsizeoutput_2e3a

The water is so very clear everywhere in Slovenia and the clouds, on this day, were beautiful.

St George’s Parish Church, the Bell Tower and Bapistry

fullsizeoutput_2e40

St George’s Parish Church, the Bell Tower and Bapistry.  The Bell Tower, modeled after the San Marco Campanile in Venice, Italy, was built in 1608.  It is 152 ft (46.45 meters) tall.  For 1 euro, you can climb 146 steps to the top for an amazing view of the coast of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

fullsizeoutput_2d10

This beautiful glass sculpture of an angel watched over me as I ascended the stairs in the tower.

fullsizeoutput_2e41

Looking over the Adriatic Sea from the top of the Bell Tower.

fullsizeoutput_2d0a

This painting was on display in the Baptistry.  I love the colors.  Homage to Carpparcio was done in 2018 by artist Mira Licen. Ms. Licen is originally from Pula, Croatia – about 1 1/2 hour from Piran.  She studied art in Ljubljana and eventually moves to Piran.

 

fullsizeoutput_2d0d

St George’s Parish Church is a Catholic church built in the Venetian Renaissance style on the hill overlooking Piran.

fullsizeoutput_2e42

Inside St George’s Parrish Church.  You can look inside the church but can only enter it during mass.

fullsizeoutput_2e3c

This is a close-up shot of St George slaying the dragon.

The Streets of Piran

Wandering through the narrow streets of Piran, you can see how it once used to be ruled by Venice.  I felt as though I was, once again, on the coast of Italy in one of my favorite places in the world….Cinque Terra.  The streets are lined with stone, some of the buildings are painted soft colors or have bright colored shutters and there were small chapels “tucked” into the various neighborhoods.  Occasionally, we would pass under an arch.  Here are some of my favorite “Kodak moments” throughout the town. fullsizeoutput_2e22fullsizeoutput_2cc7fullsizeoutput_2cd6IMG_7843IMG_7786fullsizeoutput_2cd3fullsizeoutput_2cc4fullsizeoutput_2cd4fullsizeoutput_2ccd

fullsizeoutput_2e47

A neighborhood chapel.

 

fullsizeoutput_2e49

The inside of the chapel.

 

IMG_7852

Another neighborhood church.

fullsizeoutput_2d08

Inside the small church.

Piran at Night

fullsizeoutput_2ef9fullsizeoutput_2ef6fullsizeoutput_2ef7fullsizeoutput_2ef8fullsizeoutput_2ef5

 

Odds and Ends

 

fullsizeoutput_2f02

The ocean water was so crystal clear and such a lovely color of aqua!

fullsizeoutput_2efb

Visiting…..

fullsizeoutput_2efcfullsizeoutput_2efefullsizeoutput_2f01IMG_7786

fullsizeoutput_2eff

Hopeful!

IMG_1717

This was our favorite restaurant in Piran!  We ate here a couple of times.  The fish was so fresh and delicious!  It is Fritolin pri Cantini.  It is self-serve but there are waiters who bring you your beverage.  You place your order at the window…..

fullsizeoutput_2f06

After placing your order, you get a shell with a number on it.

fullsizeoutput_2d11

When your order is ready, they put a “fish” with the order number.  When you see your number, you go up and get the tray of food.

IMG_1715

Fresh grilled fish with kale and potato!  Yummy!

IMG_7886

This photo was inside the Fritolin pri Cantini Restaurant.  I could not believe the size of this bull! They said that these bulls are from only this area.  There are still some bulls as large as this one but there are not many left!  I am just amazed at this picture!

IMG_7804

Busking with a harp!  It was nice to sit by the ocean and listen to her soothing music!

IMG_7808

I read somewhere that it is a tradition for the young children to sell shells, like this little boy,  during the summer months.  There were about 5 or 6 of them selling shells on the night we were walking along the ocean.

Izola

As I mentioned earlier, we took an afternoon to visit the nearby city of Izola.  It was an easy bus ride of about 30 minutes to reach the town.  As we got closer, Izola looked much like Piran. The city was crowded on the peninsula, there was the church with a prominent bell tower and the marina.

Izola

Izola with the marina

Izola

A close-up of Izola

I was reading about the history of Izola and was surprised to learn that it used to be an island.  It was originally settled by Italians.  From 1805 to 1813, it was under Napolean’s rule.  During this time, the protective walls were torn down and used to fill in the channel that separated the island from the mainland.

IMG_7794

The church and bell tower in Izola.

IMG_7796

The park near the ocean.

IMG_7801

The walkway lined with restaurants and the marina.

After wandering around for the afternoon, we hopped the bus back to Piran.

I hope you enjoyed the “tour” of the Slovenian coast.  We were there in July and it was very hot and humid.  I imagine September is an excellent time to visit.  The children are back in school, the weather is a little cooler so you can the whole day outside without getting overheated!

Regardless of the time of year, I just hope that you get to visit the lovely and picturesque country of Slovenia.

May you be filled with joy and sparkles! ✨✨✨❤️✨✨✨