Whether in the States or overseas, one of my favorite thing in the world is going to markets! I don’t care what kind they are, Christmas, food, flower, or arts and crafts markets, count me in. I love viewing beautiful art made by local craftsmen, tasting food from chefs and buying fresh produce from local farmers. I just love it! I find it is one of the best ways to experience a local culture.
Fresh Produce at the Riverside Market
David and I knew there was an extensive produce/flower market in Ljubljana from a Rick Steves show. However, when our taxi driver took us from the bus station to our beautiful hotel, he told us about a food festival on Fridays called Open Kitchen. Restaurants from all over town set up booths in the market area. Thankfully, our stay included a Friday, so I could not imagine a better scenario!
Crowds Enjoying Open Kitchen in Ljubljana
When David and I travel, we normally stay in a place in walking distance to the attractions we want to see, or at least close to public transportation. In our strategy, we want a clean and nice accommodation, but we do not want to spend our money on a fancy hotel. We want to be out experiencing the destination. But on this trip, we were spending a night in 7 destinations and wanted to splurge on a nicer hotel in one of the locations. David did lots of research and we chose to stay at Allegro Hotel in Ljubljana, Slovenia for an upscale treat. We made a great choice!
Inside Allegro Hotel
David and I wanted to make a “last hurrah” trip before our new addition to the family arrived. We knew, at least for a while, travel would look a little different for us with a baby boy in tow. We couldn’t swing Iceland, a place top on my list, so after some research, we headed to Slovenia and Croatia (and a long layover in Madrid). Both before and after our journey, the predominant question from friends, family and strangers was, “Why the hee-haw did y’all go there?” (That is the Rebekah version of the question.)
David & Rebekah at Bled Castle
1. I saw a Rick Steves show on Lake Bled in Slovenia and thought it looked enchanting.
2. A friend had visited Plitvice Lakes, and immediately I added it on my bucket list.
3. I wanted to experience something new that I had little or no prior context.
4. David had really enjoyed delving into Central Europe during our previous trip to Prague, and we wanted to explore more of this delightful region.
Veliki Slap Falls at Lake Plitvice National Park
Between San Antonio and New Braunfels is a large cave system, Natural Bridge Caverns. My parents, David, and I visited on a day trip from Gonzales, TX. We had ventured there after the big rains this last spring. Since the caves are part of our precious aquifer system (where we get most of our drinking water in Central Texas) the caves were unusually full of water. No one could escape being dripped on! Some of the normal trails were closed because they were under water, but that meant we got to see the caves through less traveled trails. It was awesome!!
View of the Hall of the Mountain King From Above
Inside the Old Cotton Gin
One of the best destinations in our great state of Texas is a small town outside of New Braunfels named Gruene. In the old world (Germany), it would be pronounced differently, but in Texas it is pronounced green, like the color. This delightful little town must be experienced. But the great news is that no matter what floats your boat, lifts your skirt, or shines your shoes, you can always find a fun activity in Gruene. Antique shopping, arts and crafts, old fashioned candy stores, wine tasting, tubing down the Guadalupe River, sleeping the morning away at a bed and breakfast, catching a concert, or boot scootin’ the night away, Gruene has you covered. But you can’t do all these activities without some energy and grub from the iconic Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, located under the water tower in the heart of Gruene, next to the iconic Gruene Hall.
Baby Back Ribs with Gristmill Fries & Baked Potato Salad