Bolzano, Italy (3) – A Trip to Oberbozen (Day 12)

On the first morning of our visit to Bolzano, we took a walk along Talvera creek that runs north/south.  We came across a gorgeous view of the hillside on the edge of the city.  We were determined to make the climb a challenge after our lunch.  With some research, we found a cable car (Rittner Seibahn) that departs from the nearby main train station.  However, what we thought was a short ride to the top of the hill, actually was a 12 minute ride deep into the hills to a village called Oberbozen.  We took a leisurely stroll through this delightful village.  On our way down, we see the many vineyards that is a common local product.

We were determine to get to the top of that hill.



Our departure point, Rittner Seibahn



Heading to Oberbozen

Looking down at the beautiful Bolzano



Chalet Grumer is a lodge located on the hillside northeast of Bolzano



This cable route just kept going and going







Reaching Oberbozen, we can see the dolomites in the distance.  There is a train from Oberbozen that can take you closer to these natural wonders.














Heading back to Bolzano










Netted covered vineyards keep the birds away from consuming the fruit












Looking back up from where we came




Bolzano, Italy (2) – Old Town (Day 11 & 12)

To the north of Piazza Walther is the Old Town of Bolzano.  Cobblestone walks, small shops, picturesque buildings and open food market makes this part of Bolzano a wonderful area to explore.

























Bolzano, Italy (1) – Piazza Walther (Day 11 & 12)

Centrally located a few blocks north of the main station, Piazza Walther is the city’s tourist destination.  Surrounded by beautiful buildings and wonderful eateries, this is home to their popular Christmas Market.

The statue of Walther von der Vogelweide sits in the centre of the square.  Our hotel, “Stadt Hotel Citta” is the pink building located on the left.



A main mode of transportation, a bike parking area sits on the edge of the square.



Beautiful flowers are still in bloom in September.



An interesting busker entertains with bells.



A view of the square from our hotel



A view of the square from our hotel room



Assumption of Our Lady Cathedral



Intricate detail of the the church displays its’ Gothic style





Bled, Slovenia (1) – A Walk Around The Lake (Day 10)

Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort.  With a 40 minute train ride from Ljubljana to Lesce, we walk an additional 3 kms on a designated pathway to the lake.  Unlike yesterday’s rain filled day, our second attempt is greeted with gorgeous blue skies.  We experience a wonderful 6km walk around the perimeter of the lake with the Julian Alps as the backdrop.

The walk to Bled from Lesce

The anticipation of what we were about to see was sparked by the beautiful snow covered mountains as we exit Lesce



A wonderful walking path runs parallel with the road between the two towns.



Gorgeous meadows


The walk around the lake

Bled Castle atop a high hill and Church of St. Martin


















Fisherman set up camp along the lake.









Tiny Bled Island has Provost’s House and Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria









Perfect setting for rowers.  I was later to discover that many medal winners at the Olympics from 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2012 were won by Slovenia Rowers.  This is where they trained.






Downhill ski in the winter.  During the off season, they have “summer sledding”.



A stop for dinner before heading back to Ljubljana



From the restaurant, we look across the lake to the downtown area where most of the hotels are located.  Three kilometres into the distant hills is the Lesce Station where we catch our train back to Ljubljana.



A last look before our departure



Divaca, Slovenia (1) – Skocjan Caves (Day 9)

Created by the Reka River, the Skocjan Caves are located approximately 3kms outside the town of Divaca, Slovenia.  Listed in the UNESCO’s natural world heritage site, this is one of the largest in the world.

Unfortunately, no photographing is allowed inside the cave so I can only take shots of the exterior area.

The day we visited the Skocjan Caves, it had started and ended with a bit of a panic and confusion.

We initially started the day by going to Lake Bled which is about 50 kms northwest of Ljubljana.  Only a couple of kilometers distance between the station in Lesce and the lake, it was a no-brainer to visit this resort town.  The weather for most of Slovenia called for scattered showers.  However upon our arrival, we were greeted with a downpour of rain.  After some thought, over a cup of coffee, we concluded that this rain was not going to let up.  The idea of returning to Ljubljana and hiding out in our hotel room for the day was definitely not on our agenda.  We decided to go and see the Skocjan Caves which is about 70 kms southwest of Ljubljana.   We figured that if it’s raining there, we will be kept dry in the caves.   Two train changes and two hours later we arrived in Divaca and caught the shuttle bus to our destination.

After our tour, we went to the bus stop to wait for the shuttle bus to Divaca.   However, we discovered that the last ride of the day had already left.  Given an hour to catch the train, we knew our time was limited.  Due to the language barrier, it was difficult communicating with an employee on how to call a taxi.  However, since Divaca was only 3 kilometers away, we knew we can walk (at high speed) to the station.  The only hindering factor was that we didn’t know where we were going.  We only had the memory of an earlier shuttle bus ride and reliant on a GPS system on the iPhone.  Within five minutes of our walk, an individual drove up beside us and asked if we needed a lift into town.  I had seen him earlier at the caves and he appeared to be one of the english speaking tour guides so I trusted him.

Dropping us off at the station, we were able to catch the train with plenty of time to spare  We will be forever grateful…and yes, it had stopped raining by the time we emerged from the caves.

Schmidt Hall, the final section as we exit



At this point, you can go to the right where you can catch a cable car up to the main area or go to the left and walk up.  We chose the second option.















The rushing Reka River

It was such a gentle walk incline into the caves, that you don’t realize how deep down we were until you see how far up we have to climb.






The Tominc Cave with a well dedicated to the Viennese Karstologist Franz Kraus











Ljubljana, Slovenia (5) – Odds and Ends (Day 7 & 8)

There was so much to see Ljubljana, it was difficult to put all the photos in categorized posts.  Here are some scenes I found interesting and will give you more of an insight of what this great city is all about.

Behind our hotel is a small shopping mall that included a cool lower level restaurant and courtyard



An interesting covered pathway to a commercial courtyard from Trubarjeva cesta (street)



Trubarjeva cesta (street) had a lot of hostels and interesting shops that sells local handmade items



A group of children with colourful umbrellas.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this.  It reminded me of my Grandson, and what he would be doing with his daycare group.



A wonderful walking path on the hill with Ljubljana Castle



I loved this rooftop sitting area



After the descent through the wooded path from the castle, it opens to this intriguing storefront.



From the Verba Store, we head straight to the Central Market as evident by the white tents in the distance.



Central Market



Right beside the market, along Adamic-Lundrovo is a long narrow building which is home to a number of eateries and where we indulged in delicious crepes and cappuccinos.   The market is on the right of this photo.  In the distance, you can see the start of the Dragon Bridge as evident by the green dragons.


A lovely fall view of the trees that lined Adamin-Lundrovo.  This was our view from the eatery in previous photo.  If I lowered the camera, you would see the market



The Dragon, symbol of the Slovenian capital,  welcomes you to the Dragon Bridge.



Beautiful green covered homes.



A pretty outdoor chandelier



Spomenik Gustavu Mahlerju, a great Austrian composer and conductor of the Jewish genus

Located on Haribarjevo nabrezje (street) right beside the Ljubljana River



Krakovski Street

I found dramatic differences in buildings with restoration and decay




Ljubljana, Slovenia (4) – A Walk in the Night (Day 8)

Without the threat of rain, our second evening in Ljubljana was spent strolling through old town and a return hike to the Castle.

After a great meal at the Paninoteka Restaurant, we slowly cruise north through Mestni Street and Circil Metodov Street to reach the lighted pathway up to the Castle.  After a wonderful visit, we decided to return back down in the unlit path (hooray for iPhone flashlight) to the river.  As scary as it may sound, walking down the side of a hill in complete darkness was the coolest thing.  Heading back to our hotel along the river with a stop at Presernov Square, we catch some beautiful night time scenes.

Warm enough for a outdoor meal from the Paninoteka Restaurant, we have a wonderful view.



Crossing the Sustarski Bridge to head to Mestni Street.  The Panionteka Restaurant is to the left of this photo.



Turning around on the Sustarski Bridge looking south



Mestni Street heading north



These little vehicles offer free transportation to individuals within the old town district.






Town Hall



A night view of  Kongresni Trg (Congress Square) from the Castle



After our descent from the Castle, we walk along the river on Cankajevo Street












A popular place for restaurants along this river walk









From Preserenov Trg

















One last look at the Castle before retiring for the night