Think of a beautiful, charming, romantic city in Europe. Quickly, name 3 of them; yes. Paris. Rome. London. Maybe Prague or Vienna.
But you'll never heard them say 'Ljubljana'. This photograph features the old town of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, another mystery on the world map. In fact, most people confuse Slovenia with Slovakia. Others think Slovenia has something to do with Russia. Can't say I blame them. Slovenia is small indeed, poorly recognized little green corner of land, squeezed between Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and a tiny splash of the Adriatic Sea. Fly over it, blink once and you may miss it altogether. With a population of barely 2 million people, Slovenia most likely won't make it to the top of your travel destinations, but it really should be. Slovenia is, quite accurately put, the garden of Eden. Within a 2 hour stretch of driving to the South, East, West or East, you'll witness the wonders of nature crafted to perfection, at any month of the year. Incredible glacial blue lakes and rivers, caves and mountains, idyllic villages nestled among the sleepy, misty green hills, endless stretches of green forests and meadows, vineyards and fields, even some blue sea, medieval towns and castles...I could go on and one. Still mostly untouched by the big wave of tourism, Slovenia is that little piece of land that shouldn't have existed in the hart of the modern, overbuilt and over exploited world. But somehow it does.
It's funny though; when I was a kid, I never thought of Ljubljana never looked like a particularly beautiful city and Slovenia, never a strikingly gorgeous country. To me, like to many other citizens of Slovenia it was simply home. A place to go to school. A place to go to work, hospital and every now and then, to a graveyard. A place to pay your bills and do your groceries. A place to wait for the bus and wait in the queue at the bank. But those days are like a distant memory now. I haven't lived in Slovenia for decades and during this time, I've seen a lot of the world. My life as a kid from Ljubljana is put in perspective now and I am getting a lot more appreciative of the simpler things in life. Among them, is my love for my family, friends and my Slovenia. Yes, Slovenia never looked more beautiful than it does to me right now.