Best Bites Travel: Eastern Europe

CATEGORIES: Sara, The Scoop, Travel

Intro sq SloveniaEarlier 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

 

 

 

45 comments

  1. 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!

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

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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