Snowy and tree-covered peaks of the Julian Alps in Slovenia
In pretty much the same way as patterns started developing to my holidaying trends, even my annual week-long ski breaks fell into a similar mode, and in time-honoured tradition of going on one pricey ski break, followed by a budget option, January 2008 was the turn of the budget ski trip, and the location for it was the picturesque ski resort of north-western Slovenia, Kranjska Gora. Nestled in the midst of the Julian Alps and a stone's throw from both the Italian and Austrian borders, this ski town had been blighted by the lack of reliable snowfall in 2007, which made skiing there the following season seem like myself and snowboarding nephew were taking a gamble of sorts regarding the snow record. Well, the resort itself was pretty enough even without a healthy fall of fresh snow, and is more tailored to the beginner end of the ski ability range, due to its relatively-limited piste runs.
Village-style atmosphere in Kranjska Gora
The hotel itself (Lek) scored highly on just about all counts - location, food, hospitality, facilities and comfort of rooms, and daily bathing sessions in the hotel's spa and pool made it feel like the strenuous nature of a day on the piste could easily be peeled away. The local food culture was hearty and substantial, and as I familiarized myself more and more with the terrain surrounding the resort, it began to dawn on me exactly how underrated these pockets of Europe really are, and how much I appreciate natural settings alongside my passion for cities of the world. A day-trip to the Slovenian capital city, Ljubljana, seemed too good a prospect to pass up, and spending half a day wandering around the place made me realize how astonishingly livable it all seemed, with barely a hair out of place.
Lovely Ljubljana - easily one of Europe's most enchantingly walkable cities
Another excursion undertaken on this ski trip was a journey to neighbouring Italy (Udine and Trieste) by rental car, and perhaps the biggest constatation there was how standards of driving differed in Italy from those of our starting point, Slovenia. All in all, this trip was a worthwhile venture and a truly great way to kick off the travel itinerary for 2008, which turned out to have so very many treats in store, that I can still barely grasp it was all achievable in the context of a mere 12-month period in a projected lifetime of overseas travelling.
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