Ava Grace's Closet: Things I Learned on Vacation : Part 2 {Slovenia}

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Things I Learned on Vacation : Part 2 {Slovenia}

As a young child, when my maternal grandmother was still alive, I spent every summer in the former Yugoslavia. 
My vacations were spent in the rural town of Krsko, Slovenia walking to the local pool, eating far too much ice cream and singing outside late into the night on our neighbour's backyard swing.
I remember getting lost in our raspberry bushes and eating them right off the plant until I couldn't eat anymore. 
My memories of that time are as sweet as that fruit.

Visiting Slovenia {albeit not Krsko} brought back so many fond memories for me. 
Ljubljana remains one of my favourite cities to visit. So quaint yet so beautiful. 
If you close your eyes and imagine what a typical european city looks like, this is it.

So, I must say, I found dealing in Euro's {Slovenia does vs Croatia does not} to be quite costly overall. Everything costs about what we would pay at home {in some cases more} but coming off a few days in Croatia makes it feel even more expensive. Little things, like coffee at almost 2 euros a cup and nowhere near as large as what we are used to. read: I needed 5. 
Overall, it made me wonder how the locals survive since the average person's income does not equal those in Canada or the U.S. 
Most are either struggling or living well beyond their means but see no other way.

On the subject of coffee, the best in Ljubljana is at Svezda {Star} located right in the centre of it all and a place to see and be seen. I have always wanted to say that. Just like the rest of Europe, Slovenians love to sit outside with friends and socialize. This is the perfect spot to do that in.

Ljubljana is a ridiculously clean city in comparison to let's say, Zagreb. Gone is any trace of graffiti. It reminded me very much of Austria or northern Italy. 
There is a definitive sense of pride in the people who love their small city. 
I can see why. 
Ah, the shopping. With an unlimited budget, you can find almost everything your heart desires including high end designer goodies. 
Gallerija Emporium was an absolutely stunning store {a la Holt Renfrew or Saks} and a place where you could get lost in prettiness for hours. 
I especially loved the sale shoe section. Ahem.

Fashionistas. Did we know that Zara had a line below it {think Old Navy/Gap} called Pull + Bear? Located pretty much everywhere except North America, the line is adorable, very reasonably priced and even has a section for teens. I picked up a few pretty things for Isabella including this + this

As for grocery shopping, I was ridiculously impressed with the Mercator chain {in business for over 65 years} and it's new store designs. Think Whole Foods but for the average consumer. The selection was bar none, the most extensive I've ever seen. Honestly, it took me 10 minutes to decide on yogurt! 
I wanted to take photos but my cousin's son thought I was insane. 
We went to a local pizzeria one evening {there was exactly 102 different types on the menu!} that was located in one of the many buildings along the Ljubljanica river that flows through the city centre and is reminiscent of a smaller scale Venice. 
It is such a pretty area to stroll in with no shortage of cafes and outdoor seating.

On the subject of pizza, the locals like to put tartar sauce on their pizza. Strange.
When I tried to explain that we use it for fish + chips? They looked at me even stranger.

If you visit the area {or Croatia, Serbia et al} you must have cevape. Little rolled morsels of ground meat, like a meatball except rolled long vs round, and served with fresh lepinje aka the best bread you will ever have. 
Just delicious.

It is truly incredible how you can love someone in such a short time. My cousin's son, Nikolas, is the kind of kid that can do that do you. The boy behind the lens, he snapped photographs of my cousin Barbara and I, of Ava, the entire trip. 
A big heart, funny as hell and willing to put up with Ava and I ALL day while we visited.
She is the baby sister he never had.
And we think he liked it. 
On the plane going home, Ava said to me "I sure did love Nik a lot". 
Heart melted. 

See part 1 {Zagreb} here.

11 comments :

  1. You pictures are lovely, and I'm jealous of all the good food. Too bad there are no grocery store pictures.
    That's really sweet about your cousin's son.

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  2. Love this post! I have family in Vienna and the city reminds me so much of there (mixed with some Amsterdam)
    xo Emma
    http://strollingthecityinheels.com

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  3. Dearest Susan,
    Precious memories of your cousin Barbara and her son Nik! Those old European cities are so dreamy because of the ancient buildings and lovely squares. Sitting on terraces is so common in my Province as well, it is not seen here in the USA as much as people seem to be addicted to a very cool setting of AC indoors... But the ambience on a terrace is so unique!
    You are right about the food and prices but you cannot compare the coffee by the ounce as they make coffee a LOT stronger in Europe so it is equal in a way; only more water used here in North America.
    Guess that even Ava will keep lots of memories from this visit as she is a smart kid and just old enough.
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

    Ah Holt Renfrew; got fond memories of Montréal's!

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  4. It looks so beautiful there Susan! So glad you got to go. And how do we not have Zara's lower priced line here in North America?! I think we should start a campaign to bring it here. :)

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  5. Susan ... you have me daydreaming of Europe and wishing I could be there RIGHT NOW!!!! ...gorgeous photos and truly you have made some fabulous memories for yourself and Miss A. ~ Hugs, Celia m. (HHL)

    P.S. Paris is calling!!!

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  6. awww sooooo fun!!! funny about the pizza..I am certain us westerners have mastered the pizza ;) Also, lovely photos and I started drooling about your coffee talk. Crazy about the money exchange...we went to The Cayman Islands years ago and the money exchange was crazy...it was like $12 us dollars for one turkey sandwich made with wonder bread...lol

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  7. yes...exactly what i envision european countries to be like. as i mentioned, i went to germany as a kid, but would love to return as an adult!

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  8. i've never been, nor thought to ever visit there, but the pics are just beautiful.

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  9. How incredibly beautiful this area is!!! I need to get myself over to Europe!! I'm glad you had such a wonderful trip! :)

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  10. Oh it looks stunning & so clean! I'd love to go & will keep this as my friends city guide if I ever do! Your cousin is one trendy chick....it must run in the family! ;) xx

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  11. What an amazing trip. I'll have to add this to my list of many places I have to see.

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I love reading every last one. Thanks so much for stopping by our little blog. xo.

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