Best Bites Travel: Eastern Europe

CATEGORIES: Sara, The Scoop, Travel

Intro sq Slovenia Earlier this summer I took off on an adventure overseas, and lots of you have been asking to see a glimpse of my travels.  This was not any sort of sponsored trip (just ask my bank account), and it’s certainly not one everyone will pop on their family vacation bucket list, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy peeking into a another culture that you’re probably not very familiar with.

My awesome sister in law is a native of Slovenia, and when she invited me to head back there with her and her two daughters I didn’t hesitate for a single second.  Yes!  The small-world part of this story is that my very own family comes from Slovenia, which is part of former Yugoslavia.  My great grandmother’s family was from a small town very close to where my sister-in-law is from.  Because of that, it’s always been a part of the world that I longed to see, so imagine my surprise when I married my husband and found out that one of my new family members was from there.

eastern europe

The first thing everyone asked when I told them I was going to Slovenia was, “Where the heck is that??”  So there’s a little map.  It’s nestled in between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia.  Like many European countries, it’s small enough that you can drive around from one country to the next and see quite a bit during one trip.   I don’t want to completely bore you all with a travel log, so I’ll just over a little bit of commentary on some of my favorite sights and you can take a peek at some of the photos going into my scrapbook.

One of the first things I got to see was this little house at the edge of a forest next to that darling church.  This was where my sister-in-law lived when she was young and where her own mother lived until not too long ago.  On a side note, I love how every little town/neighborhood has a church like this.

Dusanka's house

The downtown capitol city of Ljubljana is a buzzing metropolis, with old world charm.

dragon

The architecture is stunning,

Downtown

and it’s only in places like this where you can be walking down a main street and spot a castle up ahead on the hillside.

Castle in the City

We took a boat ride along the river, which winds right through the city, and got a fabulous view of the colorful buildings.

Lubjiana River

And I was going through my photos, I realized I have about 497 shots of gorgeous doors.  Europeans know how to do doors.

blue door

I thought the food in Slovenia was awesome.  Obviously it’s rich in European chocolate and baked goods, but the thing I absolutely fell in love with was the Burek.  It hails from Bosnia and it’s sold on just about every street corner.  They come in all shapes and sizes (but mostly the humongous size) and are usually sold in varieties of cheese (think salty feta), spinach, or meat.  All were amazing but I was definitely partial to the cheese.  It’s almost like a mix of a croissant and puff pastry dough.  It’s crackly and flaky on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.  It’s amazing and I ate one just about every single day.

Burek
The other thing that made me swoon was Cream Cake.  One particular region was famous for it, and claims to be the originator of this creamy delicacy.  It’s a soft creamy custard, topped with cream, and a sandwiched with layers of pastry.
Bled_Italian Creme Cake

I was in Slovenia for almost two weeks, and during that time we spend a few days on the coast, in Portoroz.

portoroz_coast

We stayed in the most charming hotel right on the water.

portoroz_hotelmarko

And the water.  I wish you could all see this water.  This has to be where the trend of ombre began.  The Eastern European coast is becoming a hot spot for tourists around the world, and for good reason.  The water is crystal clear and a gorgeous shade of turquoise.

portoroz_ombre

A quick walk down the coastline landed us in the city of Piran, noted for it’s beautiful pastel colored buildings.

portoroz_architecture
The architecture, like everywhere else, looked like it was out of a fairytale.

portoroz_architecture 2

We walked up the narrow winding streets,

portoroz_street

and got little views around every corner.

portoroz_doorway

The roads all wind up the hill,

portoroz_veiw

eventually landing at a beautiful church on the hilltop where you can see everything.

portoroz_church

Including more castles, of course!

portoroz_castle

The coolest part of this vantage point was that you could stand at the tip of Slovenia, and off to one side was Croatia (seen above), and the other side was Italy (below).

portoroz_view from church

This was one of my favorite views of the whole trip.

portoroz_tip

I have another part of this trip that I’ll share another day (as to not have this be the longest post in history) but there’s a little glimpse for today.  This is definitely a breathtaking part of the world and if you ever have the chance to get there, I would recommend it!

Before I left, I gifted these sweet charms to my sister-in-law, and her sister who we stayed with while we were there.  The girls at Charmed Collections helped me design something personalized and I love how they turned out!  I gave our Slovenian host one of these map necklaces with a heart stamped in Idaho so she’d always remember where to find us.  And for my sister-in-law, I had some Slovenian phrases engraved on a beautiful bracelet (Love, Home, Slovenia).  Definitely check them out for goodies of your own-Charmed Collections does beautiful work!

Charmed Collections

 

 

 

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45 comments

  1. So about burek. This is acutally all over the Balkans, just with a different name in each country. In Bulgaria (where I served an LDS mission) it’s called banitza. If you are ever interested in a recipe, please let me know and I will send you mine to see how it compares.

  2. We spent a little time in Slovenia last year. It was stunning, a place I’d like to return to. The Julian Alps, Lake Bled, and kremsnita (the cream cake)–heavenly. How fun to have family from there!

  3. Beautiful!! Looks like a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pictures! …Are you thinking about working on a recipe for Burek? 😉

  4. Wow!! I had no idea it was such a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to seeing the rest!

  5. One of my friends growing up was from Bosnia, and her mom always made us the most delicious Eastern European food. Looks like a great trip!

  6. I served an LDS mission to what was East Germany…this made me soooo homesick for Europe, especially eastern Europe!

  7. I love traveling to unusual places. You see so much more without all the crowds. I think I need to add this to my travel bucket list.

  8. My family is from Croatia. I’ve traveled and lived in Europe but recently have the desire to seek my grandparents homeland. Would you have found the language a problem had you not had your sister in law traveling with you?

    1. Honestly, I don’t think so. It seemed almost everyone spoke basic English, most people learn it in school from the time they are young. Croatia (especially the coast) is stunningly beautiful!

  9. So beautiful! I want to travel to Europe someday, I will have to add this to the list of places I want to visit:)

  10. Beautiful! I would love to travel just about anywhere, but to have fabulous food to go along with the views is fantastic! I hope you are working on recipes cause you made my mouth water!

  11. Your photos are breathtaking! I love to travel (although at this stage of life Europe is a bit too far)- I will definitely add Slovenia to my list of places to see! I also think you should (ahem) post some recipes for Burek and cream cake. You can’t rave about it and tempt us with those photos then leave us hanging! 🙂

  12. What a great experience! It makes a huge difference when you travel with a native and can stay with ‘locals’. You see a very different face of the country this way.

  13. Ooh- a cream cake recipe would be amazing!! Thanks for sharing your travel photos- Slovenia is, as you said, not a common travel destination but SO beautiful!

  14. I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful pictures, it made me want to go there. Please give us the recipes if you can. Thanks

  15. I had never considered traveling to Slovenia but it is sooooooo on the list now! And I can’t wait for the burek and cream cake recipes!!!!!!!!!

  16. I think the burek would be high on my list of eats. And the cream cake sounds amazing. This looks like an incredible trip – you are so fortunate to have been able to experience it.

  17. I’ve totally been to Slovenia too! It’s so pretty. And then I married a professional beekeeper and it turns out that one of two most popular breeds of honeybees is from Slovenia. (Carniolan) That’s why there are lots of painted bee boxes at tourist spots.

    1. Wow, who knew!

  18. I love that you liked my country. I’m from Ljubljana and it’s quite interesting to read about it from a different perspective 🙂 And I could not agree more about architecture…. they sure knew what they were doing 🙂

  19. I lived in Croatia and I L-O-V-E Burek! I’d have one almost every day, I’d eat my Burek with meat or cheese with Chocolate milk. DELICIOUS. Our little corner bakery would often have Burek with apples, also delicious. Now I am definitely going to have to figure out a way to calm my cravings.

  20. Eastern Europe is pulling for me to visit! I have my eye on Croatia and now you’ve shown me with a peek at Slovenia that I need to add that to the list as well!

  21. I drove through a tiny sliver of Slovenia many years ago, when it was dreary and Eastern bloc grey… I never did make it to the capital but I see I may have missed something… definitely looks as though I should revisit!

  22. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful country! I’ve toured several Eastern European countries and have been to Hungary (LOVE Hungary) and many times, but never made it to Slovenia. I’ve heard it’s absolutely gorgeous and your post confirms that. Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. I’ve not yet been to Slovenia! But I have tried a similar cream cake in Budapest and also in Croatia. It’s divine!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Rachelle

  24. Please post a recipe for Burek! It sounds wonderful. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you develop and share.

  25. I was doing some computer clean up and again enjoyed your photos of your trip to Slovenia. Some of my distant relatives were from that part of the world. I would love to have the recipe for the Burek if you developed one or received one from one of your fan club. Thanks in advance for sharing.

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