I finally sorted out our vacation photos and will be sharing them on Flickr, with a separate post here for each day. So, on to the first day ...
Verona: Juliet's house
We flew in to Milan via easyjet, just because it was the cheapest and closer to our intended destinations (Slovenia and Croatia). The trip didn't start well, the flight was delayed for 3 hours, and when we finally got to Milan and picked up our rent-a-car, there were huge delays at the motorway and we arrived in Verona around 1 a.m.
Verona: Piazza delle Erbe
The receptionist at Hotel Torcolo waited up for us and got us a parking spot in the historic zone, which was really nice and convenient. Actually, even though the hotel was just about adequate (meaning, clean and comfortable enough, but nothing I would highly recommend), the old ladies at the front desk were so nice that it would be reason enough to go back. And the location - right next to Piazza Brá and the Arena - is unbeatable. The next morning we strolled around Verona, which, like so many other Italian places we visited before, is incredibly charming. The main attractions are Juliet's House (with the famous balcony) and the Arena. We walked for most of the morning, just taking in the old streets and buildings and stopping by the market at Piazza delle Erbe. To buy some real Parmesan cheese, funghi porcini secchi, sundried tomatoes, italian wine and other delicacies, the place to go is the old Albertini shop in Corso Santa Anastasia. I even spotted a fabric shop in one of these streest (near the river) but unfortunately it was closed (which was a good thing, because we returned with over bursting suitcases).
Verona: Salumeria Albertini
We drove to Ljubljana and arrived there just in time to watch the sunset from the castle, where the view from the tower is worth climbing all those steps for. We didn't have time to visit much else, except for the market and the famous Dragon bridge, so we just walked around and shopped for a few souvenirs. I really enjoyed this city, especially the canals and the pedestrian streets, and the little cafés which looked all so inviting. A place to go back to, for sure.
Ljubljana: View from the castle tower
Ljubljana: Dragon bridge
Originally we had planned to stay the night here, but someone told me I just had to go a bit further north, to Lake Bled, so we decided to spend the night there instead. It's a 40 minute drive, but the detour is worth it. We booked into the Hotel Vila Bled, a former residence of Marechal Tito, which reminded me of those hotels where Agatha Christie's Poirot usually spends his holidays in. I usually prefer cosier, smaller and more charismatic places, but really liked the view from here. Dinner was traditional Slovenian cuisine at one of the restaurants by the entrance of the village (can't remember the name) and it was delicious.