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It has taken me some time to decide what to write about Slovenia.  I could have written about the beautiful lakes (Bled and Bohinj), the crystal clear rivers (Soča and Sava), the abundance of superb and varied walks in The Julian Alps and The Karavanke Alps, the charm and appeal of the mountain huts and their tasty offerings, the wide diversity of activities available throughout the summer and winter seasons, the numerous unique festivals and fairs (including The Annual Cow Ball and even The Sautee Potato Fayre!) and so much more.

Korita Soèe (Soca trough)
Korita Soèe (Soca trough)

However, instead, I’ve decided to tell you about Slovenia itself.  Why?  Well because there still appears to be a lot of misconceptions and lack of knowledge about Slovenia.  When I said I was moving here from the UK last year, people either had never heard of it, thought it was a poor, run-down country in the middle of a war zone or confused it with Slovakia.  So, what can I tell you about my new home.

krnsko jezero
Krnsko Jezero (Krn Lake with Krn peak behind)

Slovenia has been independent since 1991 after just a 10 day war.  Successful entry into the EU followed and in January 2007, entry to the Euro means the economy is booming and it is rapidly growing in popularity as a visitor destination and getting here is quick and easy now with flights from the UK taking under 2 hours.  Whilst Slovenia may currently be one of the lesser known EU countries, this is rapidly changing and more so now since from January 2008 for six months, it is hosting the EU presidency and is the newest and smallest country in the European Union to do so.

Julijske Alpe - Zahodni del (Julian Alps - Western)

Slovenia has a population of just 2 million people.  Over 50% of the country is forested and it’s approximately the size of Wales.  It has 3 climate zones, 3 mountain ranges, 47km of coast, caves, vineyards and an abundance of beauty.  Slovenia, like many other European countries, has had its fair share of military activity and for those with an interest in history, there are numerous places to visit including the sight of the concentration camps in Ljubelj, the Kluze and Hermann fortresses in Koritnica and I’d highly recommend doing the Historical Walk in Kobarid.  This 5 kilometre walk incorporates many sites of historical interest starting at The Kobarid Museum and passing The Soča Gorge and The Kozjak Waterfall enroute. 

What about the language?  Well, here’s an interesting fact about the Slovene language.  Slovene’s use ‘Dual’, therefore in addition to the usual singular and plural, there is a whole different vocabulary to be used when referring to just 2 people and within that it’s different again when referring to a man and a woman or two women.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve asked “Why on earth does it need to be so complicated”.  There are also almost 60 possible different endings for nouns and adjectives and I could go on about the complexities but suffice to say it’s likely to take me until at least the next century to master the grammar.  I now have a reasonable vocabulary but stringing together a whole sentence using the correct word endings is a whole different matter.  Oh and course, not forgetting that for just 2 million people, there are also 48 different dialects! 

Soteska Vintgar (Vintgar Gorge)

Life in the mountains offers a very simple, quiet retreat from the daily pace of life.  I love the simplicity of walking to the top of a mountain, visiting one of the mountain huts, enjoying a hearty bowl of soup with a fantastic view and drinking tea, made with the flowers picked from the mountains and trying to converse a little with the friendly people.

The locals here say that when God was creating the world, he gave out to the rest of the world and kept back a little bit of everything for Slovenia.  I can understand this, although a tiny country, it is surprisingly diverse and offers something for everyone.  So if you would like to learn more about Slovenia, dispel some of the myths, improve your knowledge of the world and see if for yourself come and visit SLOVENIA – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

For more information about walking and activities in Slovenia, visit www.sloveniainaction.com or email adele@sloveniainaction.com

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