The Drive to Croatia – Family Holiday Diary

Checked out of hotel in Ljubljana and drove south.

Stopped at Predjama Castle in Slovenia – a fortress built into a rock. Parking was an adventure (car parks in Slovenia rather more casual than in Austria). We paid (I chose to not look at price because Husband had decided we were going in anyway – due to the whole male/castle/compulsory visit gene, which females don’t inherit.)

However, having moaned about the castle in Ljubljana, I have to admit, this one was really interesting. They gave us portable recorded guides, which were brilliant as you could skip ahead to the bits that were interesting (like the torture chamber, and the secret tunnels through the rocks which meant that when the castle was under siege, they could sneak out to top up their food). All the boring bits could be skipped. The castle was not a happy place, but they have turned it into an interesting museum, with several rooms furnished, and it is well worth visiting. If you happen to be in Slovenia.

We didn’t buy sandwiches at the castle (a mistake) and decided to stop for food during the journey. Big row (which only families can have) about whether to go to a MacDonald’s in Croatia, or stop for food sooner. Nearly stopped at a supermarket, but this was strongly vetoed by J who objected to eating food bought from a shop with broken windows. I just love my family sometimes. We ate at a McDonalds in Croatia.

The border crossing had queues, but we were waved through with our EU passports (not sure what will happen when Brexit has happened). As we drove away, we saw miles and miles of stationary cars waiting to cross the border OUT of Croatia. Decided we would leave very early next week.

Croatia reminds me of Turkey. Lots of dusty agriculture.

We’re staying at Lone Hotel in Rovinj. It’s a contemporary hotel, with lots of art that I don’t quite understand. Family seem happy, though somewhat perturbed by glass wall in bathrooms. Husband, who knew about these in advance, had brought rolls of brown paper and Blutac (we have a mix of family and friends in various rooms). Family strangely unimpressed by his forward planning (especially J, who had been persuaded to carry it through three countries).


Dinner was in hotel restaurant. Very trendy, and very lacking in actual food. My “steamed tuna and avocado” was seared (raw) tuna with shavings of avocado. Tasty lemon and ginger sauce, but not exactly filling. Boys have offered to find future eating places for rest of holiday.

Family went to explore hotel’s night club (am sure they were pleased Husband decided to go with them). I went to bed. There’s a thunder storm, so watched lightning across the sea for a while. Tomorrow we’ll explore Rovinj.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

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Ljubljana, Slovenia – Family Holiday Diary



I didn’t go to the gym today. Breakfast was in a huge room – busy, but a good selection of food. It was very different to the Austrian buffet (for example, there they had slices of melon and a fruit salad; Slovenia offered whole peaches and apricots and plums, which you peeled and cut yourself.) Coffee was rough. The whole hotel has a different feel. It has a sort of faded prettiness, but it somehow feels less ‘classy’ less ‘safe’, than Austria. I like it, but feel more cautious.

Family made a plan for the morning. We wanted to see the Dragon Bridge, the Cobblers Bridge, a church, and a market. So Husband decided we would go to the castle. (Not complaining, just saying….) Actually, to be fair, the walk to the castle did include all the other stuff. The Dragon Bridge is from the legend of Jason and the Argonauts. The market doesn’t sell cushion covers, but has the biggest tomatoes ever. It also has a ghost, which only very good people can see, who watches over the market square.


The way up to the castle was by funicular. You can either queue for 15 minutes to buy the tickets, and then queue again for a further twenty minutes for the next funicular to arrive, OR one person can queue for tickets while everyone else queues for the next car. Hence avoiding time standing in hot sun. But stroppy Slovenian women who didn’t think of doing that hiss at you.

The castle is boring. Most castles are boring (but males have a strange need to visit them, in the same way as they HAVE to climb towers.) This particular castle was also very full of tourists. (It was probably nicer under communist rule – if somewhat less friendly.) The castle used to be a prison. Some cells had a window, and the best views of the city. Other cells did not. I don’t think I would’ve survived 10 years in a stuffy stone box. If you do visit, then the water costs less in the gift shop than from the ice cream lady in the courtyard. The walk down from the castle is along a slippery gravel path. It has good views, but you can’t look at them or you’ll trip over a root and plummet to your death. Probably.


We ate lunch in a BackWerk, which is a sort of ethnic Costa where you make your own coffee from a machine (but it has nice sandwiches). It’s too hot for food really.

We walked to Tivoli Park via a couple of churches and an ice cream cafe. The churches had a lot of gilt, the ice creams were nice. Saw the Parliament building, which is a boring square building, but has interesting sculpted figures around the door. They represent the Socialist ideal, of everyone striving together.

The park, when we had slogged there through the afternoon heat, was not worth visiting, I thought. But perhaps I was just too hot.

Ljubljana is pretty, it reminds me of Bruges. It is nice to visit for a day, but it felt weirdly insubstantial. If you took away the cafes and chocolate shops, I’m not sure what would be left. I never managed to see the ‘real’ part of Slovenia.

Dinner was at Julija (Stari trg 9). Jovial waiter and nice food, followed by blackberry liquor shots.

Tomorrow we drive further south, and to Croatia.

Thanks for reading.

Take care,
Love, Anne x

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