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Zdravo from Slovenia!

A sports accident delayed Sonja’s arrival in Ljubljana – now she can finally explore the country.

Oct 14, 2019

Sonja Poschenrieder on the way to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

Sonja Poschenrieder on the way to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Image Credit: Private collection

I’ve been in Slovenia since mid-September. I drove over the steep Austrian Wurzenpass, a challenge for me and my car! From there I drove to the Triglav National Park via Kranjska Gora. I took a hike in the park while the pass was closed during the day. I was impressed by the paved hairpin curves and the Ruska Kapelica (Russian Chapel), an orthodox chapel built by Russian prisoners of war in 1916 to commemorate some 300 comrades who had been buried by an avalanche during the construction of a mountain pass. Once I reach the top, I creep hairpin by hairpin down the Soča Valley to Trenta.

One day I hiked 1900 meters up and then down again to touch the base of the Triglav. At 2863 meters, it is Slovenia’s highest mountain and national pride. The path is magical, first through a beech forest, later up the smooth rock wall on a steel cable. I see chamois up close, swim in mountain lakes, and enjoy the solitude of nature.

During the First World War, the Battles of the Isonzo, a series of 12 battles between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire, took place along the Soča River. Today, the Soča Valley is characterized by sustainable tourism and is especially popular among water sports enthusiasts. When I try to swim in the river, I quickly sense that the turquoise color is not only beautiful, but also freezing cold.

The Slovenes are really friendly, not just when it comes to questions about the local beer or finding the right path. In a mountain hut, the Koča na Doliču, a laughing Slovene handed me my hiking sock, which had blown away when a helicopter supplying the hut with groceries whirled my things around.

Communication is easy, even without a Slovenian course. Everyone here seems to speak several languages. My camping host answers me in fluent German and sometimes in English and sometimes in Italian (which he learned from his grandmother, who learned it in school during the First World War).

Oh, Ljubljana is green – I’ll write more about that next time. First, I am going to have some palačinka – thin pancakes. I already know that specialty from my grandmother.

Further Information

Sonja Poschenrieder is sending us "Letters from …Ljubljana." She is one of eleven students from Freie Universität reporting on their study abroad experiences.

Here you can read the German version of her first letter.