Slovenia is the Most Under-rated Country in Europe

For reasons we cannot fathom, Slovenia remains one of the most under-rated European countries.  Slovenia was one of the first nations to break away from the former Yugoslavia.  The story of how this little country of just 2,000,000 citizens was able to leave communist Yugoslavia bears telling.

Slovenian War of Independence

The Slovenian people also like to refer to this war that really wasn’t a war in any traditional sense as the Ten-Day War.  This contrasts with the Israeli Six-Day War which was a war in every sense.

The Six-Day War was a war of great military courage and execution while the Ten-Day War was mostly a matter of a massively civilized people directing all of their “military” resources to stand against the Yugoslavian army and yet the citizenry remained completely law-abiding back home.

In December, 1990, as it seemed likely that Yugoslavia would fracture into many smaller countries, the Slovenian political leaders held a national plebiscite on whether or not to declare independence from Yugoslavia.  The vote in the plebiscite was 88.5% in favor of independence.

Even this number is slightly misleading.  The vote was well over 90% of all votes cast so the lesser number reflects the “votes’; of eligible voters, not actual votes cast.  In short, the fervor for independence was so great that almost every eligible voter voted in the plebiscite.

The country formally declared independence on June 25, 1992 and the Ten-Day War started.  There were limited skirmishes and very few fatalities.  After a few days a cease fire was called and the Yugoslavian Army left Slovenia for Croatia.

The people of Slovenia will proudly tell you that they fought off the Yugoslavian army with policemen and that while the police were engaged in the war, the citizens remained law-abiding.

A Culture of Independence

The people of Slovenia tell a “joke” that reflects on their desire for decentralized government.  New York City has 8,000,000 people and one mayor while Slovenia has 2,000,000 people and 238 mayors!  Visitors to Slovenia will find themselves in many very small towns but every town has something of interest to travellers looking for quiet and a restful holiday.

Casinos

Many tourists in every country look for land based casinos.  There are several in Slovenia but may we suggest that you skip the casinos and enjoy the country-side instead.  The country is so beautiful in every way, why would you choose to spend hours in a place with no windows?

In addition, if you want to play casino games to relax in the evening, you can always access an online casino using the Uptown Pokies bonus codes to increase your bankroll.

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Bee

This is a play on words of the United States national anthem.  It fits Slovenia perfectly.  There are almost 100,000 bee keepers in Slovenia in a country of only 2,000,000 people.  The country is two-thirds forest so the bees have many flowering plants from which to take the nectar that they turn into honey.  You can get a good tour of many bee farms in Slovenia.  These bee farms are generally quite small but extremely interesting.

Ljubljana

Many people who do drive into Slovenia do so either before or after a visit to Venice.  Venice certainly has a great deal of romance.   Visitors will find that the old city of Ljubljana is compact enough that you can walk across and through it in a short time.  The old city is also wonderfully maintained.

Since Ljubljana is centrally located in Slovenia, many young people come to the city on the weekends.  Young Slovenians are not like young people in many other countries.  They are boisterous but quiet; energetic but subdued.

The City Hall offers a wonderful tour.  Some of the tour guides grew up in the capital but most grew up in neighboring villages.  Slovenia is so small that a person can move away from his or her home town and still be very close to “home” for weekend and holiday visits.

Amazingly Clean

Visitors will notice two awesome things about Slovenia wherever they go in the country.  One is that there are very few trash bins in public places.  The second is that there is virtually no trash on the ground anywhere.

It seems that the people of Slovenia teach their kids to never throw a wrapper on the ground.  Smokers never throw an empty cigarette pack on the ground – not even a cigarette butt, did we see!

We were in a large plaza in Ljubljana eating ice cream and we saw a single wrapper or some other piece of trash on the ground.  It was the only trash we saw in the entire plaza.  As we were mentioning it to each other someone bent down, picked it up, and put it in the trash container.  He did it so nonchalantly that we were stunned.  Would that our own countrymen did the same in our public areas.

Mountains and Plains

Slovenia has two climates: the mountainous north is wetter in the winter and cooler in the summer and the flat south has a more distinctly Mediterranean climate.

Tourist Highlights

In the northeast, the town of Maribor has festivals in every season.  In the center, Ljubljana is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.  We recommend walking up to the castle in the center of the old city and on market days coming down on the other side of the castle directly into the large outdoor market.

In the northwest is the small city of Bled situated on Lake Bled.  Many tourist guides will suggest taking the boat ride to the island at the northeastern corner of the lake and to walk around the ancient church.  To be honest, we think that this tourist attraction is greatly over-rated but walking along the lake and swimming in it are simply wonderful.  In the winter, it’s cold along the lake but it is never truly hot in the summer.

On the other side of the lake is the local castle.  There are an excellent restaurant and pub at the base of the castle.

Bled borders on the vast Triglav National Park.  There are many days when fog or drizzle make driving in the park a bit slower than one might like but the little villages within the park are well worth the time spent winding around the mountains.

Velika Planina is about a one and a half hour drive north of Ljubljana.  It is a plateau on which local herdsmen bring their cows in June until winter starts.  There is a sky rail that brings visitors.  You’ll need good shoes for this attraction.  The local herdsmen will offer you sour milk which is the Slovenian way of saying yogurt.

The People of Slovenia

A tour guide told us that the Slovenian people are “lazy perfectionists”.  By this he meant that the people don’t have the strong drive to extract yet another million dollars from their businesses.  They like to live quiet, relaxed lives.  They also don’t like to argue with each other.  You’ll feel that very quickly when you visit the country.

The perfectionist side of the Slovenian makeup is that when they do something, they do it perfectly.  You’ll find this in everything they do for you.

A visit to Slovenia will make you want to return again and again.

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