I have been in the UK for nearly a month. I prepared for Christmas, enjoyed Christmas. We had the whole extended family over. There were twenty-three, all of them related by marriage or blood to me. My parents had all their offspring, with all their offspring in attendance, that does not happen every year. There are usually a few missing as they attend their ‘new’ families for Christmas festivities but this year, they all turned up at our house at 5 o’clock to enjoy goose, turkey and all the trimmings. Once we had recovered from that, my immediate family headed to Slovenia for New Year.
It is a very rare occurrence for us all to be in the same timezone, or even under one roof, back home in Lambourn. The enormity of getting us all to travel together to Ljubljana, is nothing short of a miracle. My oldest is a farmer, this makes summer holidays very tricky, as its his busiest time. Middle daughter has a boyfriend who lives overseas, so she likes to travel to see him and youngest daughter has to put up with Mum and Dad, as she is still at school. All of us heading off on a adventure together was great and the first time in a long time!
For those who have not visited Ljubljana, it is the cutest capital city. The centre of the city reminds me of the film ‘Shrek’. If you can picture ‘Far Far Away’, that is pretty much what the centre of the old city looks like. There are beautiful fountains, delicate walking bridges and buildings that look like they are made of intricate icing, some shaded pink or pale blue. It is just simply gorgeous. The folk there certainly know how to have a good time. Along the riverbank, which is more like a canal, there are many stalls selling mulled wine of various types, my sons favourite was a ‘Hot Irish’, which is Jameson whiskey, with warm apple juice and a sprinkling of cinnamon – good stuff when it is -15C outside. If the stall is not selling hot wine, it is amazing hot chocolate and a third type of stall selling food. There are bbq’s selling marinated pork steaks, sausages, chicken and much more. The combination of smells is very hard to resist, put that with a backdrop of beautiful buildings, twinkling lights and lots of Christmas trees, it creates a wonderful atmosphere. We were all enjoying ourselves.
Ljubljana is a capital city in Slovenia but only two hours car drive away from Venice, Italy. We decided to hire a car and travel with our Slovenian friends to Venice for the day. With the whole family it was one of the nicest days out we have ever had together. We were all thrilled to be walking in the winter sunshine in such a magical place. We drank prosecco, (which comes from a town on the way to Venice from Ljubljana), we ate fresh squid ink black pasta with calamari, had delicious pizza and a throughly fabulous time. We even managed a little bit of celebrity spotting too. We hired a water taxi for an hour and felt like George Clooney and his cronies as we were whisked through the canals, under bridges that were hundreds of years old, looking up at some of the most amazing buildings in the world. Totally tremendous!
New Year was a delicious buffet meal, in a fancy restaurant, all black and low lighting with huge candelabras for added charm. There was cool music, we nipped outside to see the fireworks from the castle and then headed back inside to enjoy dancing until the early hours. We made our way home at 4am, not done that in a very long time, we were all having such fun, we in no rush to fall into our beds. The days away were full of surprises and culture and lots of fine food and wine. I would definitely recommend Ljubljana for a few days, surrounded by mountains, bursting with charm and old world finery, it would be hard to not enjoy yourself.