09.24.2012 - 09.25.2012
I would never imagined Slovenia would be such a beautiful and friendly country. But then, neither did anyone else on the tour.
We all imagined that Slovenia was ravaged by war and had snipers from the church towers. (Actually, Croatia had been like that in 1991 and 1992, but not now.) The Homeland War was over in Slovenia in only 10 days, with very little damage or injury. Apparently, Slovenia has always been populated by one population group and was even fairly isolated politically from the rest of Yugoslavia during the communist era.
Our guide, a Slovenian woman of 38, gave us many hours of history lessons and personal tales as we drove along in the bus. Once she told about how much more they had in Slovenia than the others communist countries. Slovenians could easily travel into Italy. They could buy goods that no one else had access to. Of course, they had to smuggle everything back into the country. This became a fun-filled challenge to see how much they could creatively get past the Slovenia border patrol. Her father's record was wearing 6 pairs of jeans at one time. He would then smuggle these jeans into Russia and trade them - once he traded one pair of jeans for a fur coat.
Bled is a beautiful town. Well known for its medal winning rowing team. Some of us visited one of Tito's former homes that is now a hotel. We ran into some staff membrs who took time out from their chores to show us some of the special areas and features. Everyone in Slovenia seemed so pleasant and were especially friendly to tourists.
I couldl have spent 2 or 3 days more in Bled. I would have really loved to ride a bike, row a boat, and wander through the town.
But it was back on the bus - we had more castles and shops to visit.