Hikes in Slovenia

DSC09648

Vintgar Gorge

There was a lot of physical activity on this trip. I knew the kids were tired, but I was so impressed by our little hikers, especially Flora. Thibault was mostly carried by Jaap up and down mountains and in and out of gorges. I was also impressed by Jaap’s strength carrying this little man in such hot weather.

DSC09657

A friend had told me you have to get to Vintgar gorge early or it’s too crowded to even get in. Good tip! We were able to secure a decent parking spot and were already on the trail before the crowds started coming. Even so, there was a decent number of people on the trail with us. The turquoise colors, spraying mist against the warm air, and incredible rock formations made for a beautiful hike. I remember Flora saying how much she loved the hike. This was a huge win for us. She really did a decent hike for her age. We rewarded ourselves with some ice cream and a good cappuccino for myself back at the top.

DSC09658DSC09683

IMG_3839

DSC09710.jpg

Slap Kozjak

When we got to the Soča valley, our hosts mentioned Slap Kozjak as a good hike to do with the kids. This was our view at the end of the trail.

DSC09548

Life is back to normal….and I’m still dreaming of Slovenia…

Advertisements

Natural Swimming in Slovenia

DSC09573

The recurrent theme on this vacation was swimming. Swimming in pools, thermal baths, a waterpark, lakes, rivers, and the Adriatic sea. Now that I typed that out it’s hard to believe all the different locations we swam in and how each one had a different and fun experience. Jaap and I got into a pretty good routine of packing the swim gear before breakfast or the night before.

DSC09421

Our picturesque farm stay in Dolenci had a pool— it’s greatest selling point when I booked the place. It was so refreshing to take a dip after two hot days of activities. One day Thibault took a nap upstairs while the three of us were having fun at the pool and the owner brought us some drinks to enjoy poolside. That was a win!

DSC09518

On our first full day in Lake Bled we spent almost the entire day at the public lido swimming area. I was surprised at how touristy Lake Bled was. We heard from friends that this was the case, but the sure volume and traffic surprised me. But I must admit, the swimming area felt relaxing, calm, and not crowded through to the early afternoon. We got their at 9:30 and had many hours of beautiful swimming, the greatest moment being swimming out to the buoy with Flora and admiring the beauty of this lake together.

DSC09517

shallow swimming area at Lake Bled

DSC09554

The next day we took the cable car up to Vogel at Lake Bohinj and ended the day with a swim at the southern side of the lake. Crystal clear water, good swimming temperature (still a little too cold for Mr. T), and some SPECTACULAR views.

DSC09551I feel like our pictures don’t even do it justice. The view of the mountains of the lake was massive. Flora was swimming around like a little fish. Thibault was throwing rocks and collecting pieces on the side. There was a full hour of zen there for me interrupted by Thibault almost drowning. Yes—I was watching him 100% of the time not distracted and I was watching him wading into the water to pick up a floating stick and boom. He fell right under and I sprang up to save him. It was only a second of being submerged, but it scared the crap out of me and I could not stop thinking about it for 48 hours.

DSC09627

Lake Jasna

Our third full day in the Bled region was near Kranjska Gorja at Lake Jasna. The water was cold though, but it was hot out, so I’m sure to these fishies it was refreshing. I was so impressed by Flora. She jumped in and out, in and out, and finally took a leap and just went for it. The water was chilly and she was loving it. Jaap went for a full swim out into the lake! Thibault opted for stone and shoe throwing on the side.

DSC09631

Lake Jasna

DSC09727

Nadiža river

When we were in the Soča Valley was a trip quick trip to the Nadiža river. It’s warm enough to swim there and unfortunately we arrived just before a huge thunder and rainstorm, which actually made for a very fun run back (soaking wet) to the car. It was a beautiful little spot there.

DSC09729

Nadiža river

 

DSC09828

Medveja Beach

DSC09844

And even though this was not part of Slovenia, I will add swimming in Croatia. My favorite swimming spot was at Medjeva beach. We got there early (with some resistance from our kids who were getting tired from travel) and found a great spot with some shade.

DSC09837I love this picture of Flora. It pretty much sums up her mood the entire trip. She said repeatedly that she loved Slovenia. That was a relief to hear. There was a lot of planning that goes behind something like this. Making sure we have kid friendly swimming opportunities, a balance between parent and adult fun, and frankly— Jaap and I always are thinking with the children in mine, so I don’t need her seal of approval. But, I loved hearing her say how much she was enjoying this vacation. The sights, the sounds, and most of all, the swimming!

The Antrim Coast

IMG_2919

Every hour we spent in Northern Ireland was full of breathtaking sights. Views, outlooks, hikes, and adventures that literally took my breath away. It’s views that you see in movies and television right there up close and in person. Absolutely stunning.

DSC09316

I think this photo of my parents and Flora about to climb back over the Carrick a rede bridge is one of my favorites of the entire trip. The emerald green water, sea breeze, sunshine, death defying heights! Northern Ireland is so lush and fresh, thousands of grazing sheep walking the hillsides, splashes of bright blues and greens everywhere you look, and enormous cliff sides. The landscape is quite dramatic, which made for some very cautious and nerve wracking hikes with Mr. T.

DSC09314

b52693b6-1bf6-4deb-b494-a1ad1a0e1a0d

The only time I have ever seen him nervous was walking over the rope bridge. There was a steady cautious walk happening while I held both his hands over the cross. I think the experience humbled him a little bit.

a1053ec7-1a02-4dd6-86fa-d5ba18c573af

It was a once in a lifetime experience. Although, I thought the descent down onto the bridge was more scary than walking the bridge itself.

DSC09401

Our entire week in this northern region of Ireland was just nature hikes, coastal drives, and a few playgrounds here and there. I see now that it was not exactly the trip that Flora was hoping for. It was chilly and not a ton of activities that children find extremely interesting, but it was an experiment for us. Since I thought she loved Ireland so much the first time, I just assumed it would be the same this time around. Nonetheless, I loved the trip and I know that my parents found it to be very special.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A Rondje in Stevensweert

IMG_2575

We had a fantastic day yesterday and discovered a new gem in Zuid Limburg. I LOVE exploring new nature walks. We went with my friend Laura and her family. These kids walked 5,8 kilometres! After the first 1.5 hours of consistent complaining, things went well!

I read about this Rondje Molenplas in our quarterly Natuurmonumenten magazine. Not far from Thorn around a little lake in Stevensweert. It looks like OERR and Natuurmonumenten sponsor the building of the “Speelnatuur” playground outside the brasserie.

IMG_2584

The hike was beautiful. Lots of horses and cows along the way, ducks and swans on the little pebble “beach” on the far side of the lake. Crossing the pond over big boulders and nice lookout points all along. The sun was shining (Thibault was very content and Flora was pretty happy). They both waked a long way and I was super proud of them. 5,8 kilometres is quite the stretch for young children, but we were rewarded nicely with a great play area complete with water pump and sand. I think we could have stayed there another 2 hours!

IMG_2557

Sunshine at St. Gerlach

IMG_2298

We just got back from a refreshing morning outside at St. Gerlach. We spent our time walking the grounds, enjoying the scenery, and taking in the beautiful landscape and sculptures. What an aesthetically pleasing place to visit.

IMG_2294

It feels like spring here. Lots of the sunshine and warmer temps this week. This is climate change I suppose. I’m happy with cold weather in February, but I’ll take the sunshine!

My friend Laura suggested coming here this weekend. So we met up, walked around with the kids, got to see some horses and huge furry cows up close, sat outside in the sun for a couple of hours, and just enjoyed the peace and serenity of this place. We were talking about the joy of doing family activities that don’t involve large, screaming playgrounds. This is fun for the kids, but also nice for us.

IMG_2319

IMG_2305

IMG_2306

And of course— our little outing had to end with some coffee, vlaai, and some lavender madeleine cookies for myself. A lovely Sunday outing with good friends.

 

Snow Play

img_1944

A little time with my man in the snow. A winter walk just the two of us, trip to the playground, and a ride on the sleigh while Jaap was at home recovering from being sick and Flora was watching a movie.

I love the snow (even if it’s only an inch or two and last just a few days). It was still beautiful and so refreshing to be out there in the cold. Shoveling, playing, just breathing. Ahhh. I love it.

img_1949

img_1941

Our Barefoot Walk

IMG_0409

A couple weeks ago we went on the Barefoot Walk in Zutendaal, Belgium. I had done it twice before (years ago with work), so I knew Flora would be able to do it. Jaap and I were both shocked that we finished it within the estimated time the park suggested. I was impressed with how much of the trail Thibault was able to walk. He’s a sporty fellow. It was the perfect family activity for one of our last weekends of summer together. We had so much fun. I was so proud of my brave little hikers and nature lovers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.