The capital city of Slovenia is just less than an hour from our house swap so we have visited a couple of times. It’s really a lovely city and has some great restaurants, museums, and markets. On Fridays there is a huge food fair with top notch stalls of food.
There are a few Arabic restaurants and we had to indulge. Delicious.
The Museum of Illusions is a fun one too.
Our house swap is in a gorgeous country house set on the shores of Lake Cerknica. This is a fascinating lake that disappears in summer and then the water comes back for the other three seasons. It drains down to underground rivers and caverns and is all part of the Karst region here which is filled also with under ground caves.
We went to one that is huge (Postojna Cave) and you take a train about 4 kilometers in and then walk for an hour. It’s one of the biggest we have been in and fascinating. From there you can go up to the Predjama Castle. This is built into a cave with more underneath.
The whole region (and our backyard) is filled with apple trees, plum trees, and vegetable gardens. It’s really great to see but we are running out of ideas of what to do with all the plums!
Charlotte went riding here too:
We are only about 2.5 hours from Venice here in Slovenia so had to take a trip there. It’s been a hot summer which is not so much fun in a crowded, touristy city so when a cold front was coming through we took advantage of it. The drive there was rainy and cold but by the time we go onto the water taxis it turned out to be perfect (70s) weather and dry.
I apologize for so many pictures but goodness this was a beautiful city. I’d been as a teen and fondly remembered it but wandering around with the kids (and Darwin) meant for a special few days.
We ate well for sure including squid ink past and of course pizzas.
We had a house swap in Slovenia so headed from UK across mainland Europe. The driving was very easy with great highways and no real road works or delays. German autobahns were a fun experience to revisit!
The chunnel is so easy and fast. I can’ t imagine taking a ferry anymore given how simple it is to drive onto the train and sit in the car while it shoots under the sea. And so much easier with Darwin too.
We stopped in Belgium for one night and stayed across the road from the huge Stella Artois brewery (a favorite beer) but goodness the country is so expensive I’m glad it was a short visit. We pushed on and stayed a night in Bavaria and had a lovely meal in a non touristy restaurant complete with accordion/traditional musicians. Fun times.
Then we spent a couple of days in the most amazing spot: Kranjska Gora which is in the top part of Slovenia in the Julian Alps. I fell in love with this little town and really hope to get back. The colours were amazing and the mountains surrounding were impressive. There are loads of ski slopes for those who venture out in the cold too. I prefer summer!
On the way to our house we stopped at Lake Bled. Lovely but far too crowded for us and parking was a nightmare. We quickly moved on but would be worth going back to in the off season.
We had another great house swap an hour and a half away from Scarborough in Knaresborough which was a new area for us and allowed easy access to York and Harrogate etc. It’s really a lovely area and the house was so comfortable for us all with great views onto the countryside and included rainbows!
We’ve always loved York and had a couple of fun days there. The Jorvik Viking Center is always a good visit as is the Minster and of course shopping and eating in the old city.
Darwin does just fine with buses, trains, boats and crowds. He’s a trooper.
More picnics this time in the Yorkshire Dales (near Scarborough it’s the moors).
And visits to market towns including Thirsk which was the home of James Herriot and still has his museum there. Charlotte and I are also fans of the show the Yorkshire Vet which is a reality show using the old Herriot vet practice (new vets) so we were groupies and visited the clinic.
Then there were Farm Shows and more picnics with friends and of course Darwin.
One of our main goals of summer 2018 was to all spend time in Scarborough visiting the place I was born (my grandmother’s house and where I mostly grew up is the red door) and to show the 3 younger kids (my two and cousin Janet) the town and special places for our family.
This included trips to Durham to see my grandmother’s, great grandparents and great-great grandparents graves and old houses. It might sound rather heavy going but our family spends most of the time laughing and being silly so there was plenty of that going on. We got to meet up with a cousin who brainstormed the family tree and expanded the ancestry site a lot. Later we also met his lovely daughter which was very special too.
England was going through a drought and it hadn’t rained in ages which was good for us as we had unusually dry trips out.
Charlotte was happy to ride quite a few times at my old riding school in Snainton. It was quite special for both of us. She now of course wants to move there and buy her own horse.
We had some amazing picnics at Abbeys and cliff tops all around Yorkshire. I think the theme of the summer has been picnics and family.
It really is a gorgeous summer and the colors and sights of Brittany kept impressing us.
Our favorite outing and one we went back and did again was to the oyster beds in Cancale for a picnic. You can buy dozens of them quite cheaply and carry your tray to the steps for a picnic. We took wine, cheeses and bread along too and had feasts. Better than a 5 star restaurant any day! The two pictures show the same spot with the tide out and oyster beds visible and then when the tide is in. Pretty neat.
Saint Malo was lovely.
This castle was on a head land at Cap Frehel and the water color amazing. It really is this blue!
We had been offered a house swap in Brittany so happily had jumped on that. I’d spent holidays there as a child but most of my memories were of wind swept beaches and cliffs in a caravan. Having a lovely house made it a bit easier and the summer was so warm with little rain or wind that we were spoilt!
Sunset from our deck:
The area is lovely and the cliffs and beaches gorgeous. A great beach vacation spot with plenty of castles and historical towns to keep all engaged.
I think our favorite was Dinan. Gorgeous old buildings and lots of good food – galletes are the famous buckwheat crepes here. Yum.
Another pretty spot was Mont San Michel. We parked and took the shuttle bus over to the island and the trip was pretty cheap and easy although coming back we had a long wait as the crowds were high. It was hot going and loads of steep stairs so not an easy day out but interesting. Worth the effort.
We picked up Grandma, Auntie Jo, and cousin Janet at the airport in Paris as the start to our summer together – yay. We had a short week just south of Paris in a small town that allowed day trips into the city. Having a larger car with a carrier on top plus the dog and 7 people it was easier than trying to navigate and pay for somewhere right in the city.
The house was lovely and had a walled garden with big table outside plus another garden room with another large table for dining. We took full use of this and enjoyed some great meals (and sampling of wine) together. Darwin was pretty happy to have more of his pack back together too.
Our day trips into the city were fun and a chance to for the kids to again explore old and new sites.
Our time is Spain came to an end all too soon (we will be back) and we were meeting family in Paris so spent a few days road tripping up from southern Spain to France. Our favorite spot was San Sebastian which is right on the border and certainly foodie-heaven. It had a different feel than Andalusia and was cooler. The beach and surrounding hills were lovely and the buildings very interesting. It’s on our list to go back to and spend longer time in.
We had a short stop in Tours, France. Great looking city and again would enjoy going back to it.