The world is big and deciding where to go for people who want to see it all is tricky. My annual trip back to Italy is a given, but in my lazy hours of perusing google flights and airbnb I can get the itch to go almost anywhere. But I had been thinking about Slovenia for a long time. Slovenia? Slovenia. A place that is maybe in the third or fourth tier of many travelers’ to-go-to list. If it’s even that high.
But I had heard of a particular lake in Slovenia, Lake Bled of course, years ago. The year I lived in Italy, one of the other Fulbright Fellows that was part of my cohort had taken the 12 hour bus ride from Florence to Ljubljana and then on to Lake Bled and raved about it. Saying the lake was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. And I had stored that little nugget in the back of my brain for the four years since. But otherwise mostly forgot about it.
When your Italy trip is a given but your money and vacation time are short, adding an easy stop-over somewhere new becomes appealing. Even if it’s only for three days. So last spring, while planning for Italy (my most recent trip, unlike my not-most-recent trip, time flat circle, all that) I remembered that little Slovenia nugget. And in googling pictures of Lake Bled, I was sold. So I booked a trip into Ljubljana and out of Rome, with means of getting between the two to be decided later. Despite it being rather ambitious, a stop in Venice, then the teeny Tuscan town where a friend has an apartment were added into that middle bit, all of which will be covered soon.
But the actual impetus to click the “book now” for the Slovenia part of things still remains a mystery to me. The motivations for travel can be so strong (Italy with all my history there, PhD etc) and so flimsy (almost anywhere else, which I am mostly interested in solely for the sake of curiosity and adventure). And when it all seems so expensive and time consuming the flimsy motivations appear rather arbitrary. Why Slovenia and not Amsterdam? I still haven’t ever been to Amsterdam despite everyone saying its beautiful with crazy museums and good snacks. Spain is still a giant black hole for me, despite it also having been on my list for ages. I’ve only been to Paris once, for a quick trip during a rather depressed period of my life.
And yet, Ljubljana was the destination. When you tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you’re going to such a place, the invariable response isn’t “why would you go there?” (which I got asked many times before my recent Japan trip, something I will unpack later), but an incredulous “where?” Where indeed.
In practical terms settling on Ljubljana were simple: border with Italy, cheaper than a flight in and out of Rome, and it would add a whole new country to my list. In less practical terms: why not?
But aside from the obvious reasons to settle on a place: cost, familiarity, well-worn path, ease, others I’m not thinking of for the moment, I am curious as to why I’ve picked the places I’ve been to. Am I so easily swayed that the slight suggestion from an acquaintance will drive my travel dreams for years? Apparently so. Is that normal? Is that how other people do it?
Regardless, Slovenia is great. Stay tuned for that greatness.