Austria, restaurant reviews, road trips, Slovenia

Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part twelve

Friday morning, it was time to pack up and leave Slovenia. We were bound for Salzburg, Austria, a town we’ve now stayed in three times, but have only ever visited twice. We usually stop there for an overnight when we go to Slovenia. This time, I decided to book two nights so we could enjoy Salzburg’s marvelous downtown area. By Friday, I was ready to move on, even though there were a lot of things we didn’t have the chance to do in Lake Bohinj.

For instance, we didn’t ride the cable car that goes up Vogel mountain, where there is a ski resort. I expect the ski resort will be doing a lot of business soon. And there were some walks we could have taken, and restaurants we could have tried. I’m actually surprised Lake Bohinj isn’t more of a year round destination, but I’m sure the locals appreciate the break from the tourists. I grew up near Williamsburg, Virginia, so I know what it’s like to deal with tourists in the summer.

The morning of our departure, I got a message from the host at our next accommodations, an apartment that doubles as a music studio. I found this property on Booking.com and was intrigued by it. The guy who owns it is a musician and music producer. Since I’m also a musician of sorts, I thought it would be a fun place to stay. In any case, he needed copies of our passports and COVID-19 vaccine certificates. Bill took photos of the documents and emailed them. Then, we went to our last breakfast at Villa Stare.

The proprietor met us. He’d already set a table for us with a fabulous spread. It turned out we were the only guests, and his breakfast attendant was not there because she had to go see the dentist. He cooked us scrambled eggs, and we enjoyed fruit, breads, coffee, and cold cuts. I was impressed by how beautiful the table looked.

We told our Slovenian host what a good time we had and how beautiful his country is. I hope we can visit Lake Bohinj. It’s such a pretty area… and I really enjoyed being there when it was so quiet, even though we missed out on some of the more touristy activities because they were either closed, or the weather didn’t cooperate. I would definitely go back if the opportunity arises again. Below are some photos from our journey from Slovenia to Austria.

Our drive to Austria was uneventful. There were no blood sugar meltdowns. The most exciting thing was crossing the border and Bill remarking that he could barely understand the Austrian border official’s accent. We got to Salzburg about an hour before check in began, so we found the property where we were staying for two nights. The host, Ray, was there. He was easily recognized. The cleaning lady was finishing up cleaning the house, but Ray said the house would be ready in a few minutes. We said it was no problem, since we were going downtown for lunch.

Ray turned out to be a very attentive and helpful host. I liked how he set up checking in and out at his rental. There’s a lockbox on the gate, and he sends the code and other instructions before guests arrive. That way, guests can just let themselves in without having to wait for him to show up. It’s also probably a little bit safer, in the COVID-19 era. Ray’s place is very close to downtown Salzburg, maybe about ten minutes away. We found a parking garage that had typically tiny parking spaces. Kudos to Bill for managing to park our Volvo without a scratch. It wasn’t easy, even with parking assist.

We quickly found an Italian trattoria called La Campana da Enzo. It was kind of a hole in the wall place– tiny, with no frills furnishings, and art for sale on the walls. I kind of wish I’d bought a painting there. I have been wanting to buy some art for our house. But, we just had a rather no frills lunch. Tortellini with a tomato cream sauce for me, and spaghetti with artichokes for Bill, paired with red wine and sparkling water, were our orders of the day. I guess the restaurant had trouble with locals using their toilets in the hall of the building, because to access them, you have to get a key.

The staff at this restaurant were very kind and friendly, even though we arrived just before they take their afternoon pause. There was one other guy in there, and he was telling the trilingual waiter in German about places he’d lived in Germany and France. And he also said the restaurant should offer pizza. But the waiter said that the restaurant was too small for pizza. I found myself nodding, since I’m sure a proper pizza over would make the place unbearably hot. I suddenly realized that’s probably why our old friend Gino in Nagold doesn’t do pizza. His place used to be a bakery, and it’s tiny.

The staff had their lunches while we finished up our pasta dishes. Then, the well spoken and friendly waiter kicked us out, since the restaurant closes during the afternoon. We didn’t mind, since it was now time to check out our new digs. I think the bill was about 30 euros. Cheap!

I suppose we could have gone back to the city for dinner, but we’re old farts now and like to relax at home in the evenings. So we watched The Sound of Music, which I had purchased on iTunes ages ago. I know Austrians probably think it’s a cheesy movie, but I love it. And it was pretty cool to go to Salzburg and see that some of the businesses in the shots of Salzburg in the 1965 film are still there in 2021.

There are a couple of restaurants near Ray’s place, but we were pretty full from lunch and had plenty of snacks. So after we watched Julie Andrews and friends, we watched Dreamgirls. Saturday was to be our fun day in Salzburg. More on that in part thirteen.

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restaurant reviews, Slovenia

Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part eleven

Thursday morning at breakfast, Bill and I were amused by a French family who was staying at the hotel. It was an attractive mom and dad, younger than we are. They were English speakers, since that was how they communicated with the breakfast lady. After they got their breakfast, the dad and the eldest son had an animated discussion… but what was especially funny was that they were arguing about American politics. Dad played a video of Barack Obama, then described Donald Trump as a “monster”. I didn’t understand most of what they said, since I don’t speak French, but I could definitely follow the gist. It sounded like maybe the son admired Trump, while dad sees him the way Bill and I do. I giggled at the fact that we were Americans, overhearing a raucous discussion in French about American politics, while we were sitting in a breakfast room in Slovenia!

The weather was still kind of tempestuous, so we took our time before we set out again. I thought maybe we’d visit Bled Castle, but we ended up having lunch at a cute restaurant called Restavracija Central Bled in Lake Bled. I had noticed the place on our previous passes through the town. It’s open every day and doesn’t take a pause, which is always a plus. The waiter at the Central House spoke perfect English and was very friendly. I had ribs. Bill had the “Trufflelicious Burger”, which of course was not for me, because I don’t like truffles. He loved it, though, and we both loved the hand cut fried potatoes that came with our dishes. Afterwards, we split a piece of Lake Bled’s famous Cream Cake. I liked the interior of this place, too. It’s very cozy, even if the bench I was sitting on was so high up that my legs dangled.

The restaurant was very convenient to the huge public parking lot in Bled. It was also inexpensive. I don’t know how we missed it the first time we visited. I also don’t know how we missed the huge parking lot! It’s right next to an ice arena and gym.

Then I took more photos, because Slovenia’s rugged beauty is so amazing.

I guess if I had to describe our time in Slovenia, I would call it “restful”. We rested a lot, mainly because of the weather. But sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to just enjoy the beauty of a place and do a lot of talking. Bill and I talked a lot, and just enjoyed each other’s company, as well as experiencing the magical surroundings we were in, both in Croatia and Slovenia. This time of year, it’s very quiet in Slovenia… but, as you can see, the natural beauty of the landscape lingers. I’m glad we went if only to get these photos.

I also tried really hard to capture some photos of dramatic waterfalls by the road to Lake Bohinj. There was one big waterfall that was super hard to catch on camera because it was right next to the road. I sure tried hard, though.

By this point in the trip, I was getting kind of tired of traveling and was missing my dogs. I was especially worried about Arran, because he’s getting old and looked a bit crestfallen when we dropped them off. But I didn’t have to worry. They were doing fine.

Stay tuned for part twelve.

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restaurant reviews, Slovenia

Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part ten

Tuesday afternoon, we decided to go to Lake Bled to see if we could find some lunch. There were some places open, but we were flummoxed because at that point, we hadn’t found the large public parking lot in Bled. I’m not sorry we went, though, because I got more beautiful photos. And then, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes from Ukanc at Lake Bohinj, where our rental house was, we found lunch at Gostilnica Štrudl, a cute little eatery in the touristy town of Bohinjska Bistrica. This restaurant offers local specialties– real “stick to your ribs” food, with lots of beans, cabbage, sausages, and potatoes. We coupled lunch with a couple of excellent locally made craft beers. I loved the dark beer. Should have brought some home! It also has apartments for rent, and sells locally produced gins, jams, and liqueurs. Below are some photos from our Tuesday outing.

I was glad to be able to get a few sunny shots of Lake Bled, even though we were passing in the car. We later found the public parking lot for Bled, so we came back on Thursday.

And then we found lunch, which stuck with us for the rest of the day. If only I’d had this lunch before we left Croatia!

There appeared to be several open restaurants in the Bohinjska Bistrica area. That’s also where the Aquapark Bohinj is. We decided not to visit there, mainly because of some poor reviews and concerns about sickness (the reviews mentioned that it wasn’t very clean). But, if we’d wanted to, we also could have gone bowling. We decided to go back to the house and finish watching The Crown instead, as the weather was getting crummy.

Unfortunately, Wednesday, we didn’t do much of anything because of high winds and rain. We did take a short drive, though, and I got some more photos. And we also found where the entrance to Mostnica Gorge is, as well as a few more eateries. One didn’t open until 4:00pm, and the other didn’t open until 1:00pm, so we ate leftover pizza and drank local wines.