Bus to Villach and Train to Ljubljana

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

We had a late start today leaving Mestre so I had time to pack up and get organized and work on managing some photos even though I couldn't log on to the internet.  We left Hotel Venezia at 11 am for the bus station where we got a coach ... a luxury travel bus to a town in Austria called Villach.  As we left Venice, we saw flat farmland emerge and some vineyards.  The nice young man from Sao Paulo Brazil who was living in Satzburg told us that this was a region for Prosecco and was said to be the best Prosecco.  As we went farther north, the Alps began to emerge from the haze and we saw some snow covered peaks and valleys with dry beds or milky green waters. 

We stopped in the town of Villach for 2 hours.  Some of us went for walks around the town, esp. near the river Drava.  I walked along the bike trail and saw lots of cyclists, roller-bladers and children with their parents.  It was another gloriously sunny day and was even beginning to be hot if you were wearing too many clothes as was I.  After my short walk along the river, I joined Erwin and got his recommendation for a beer...I got the dark one.. Franzen.... something.  It was nice and we had a chat about tour leaders and some of the difficulties.

At the appropriate departure time, everyone gathered and we went back to the train station to collect our big bags from the coin lockers.  Then we headed for the track where our train to Ljubiana would be.  There were some stairs to be climbed with the big, heavy luggage.  When we got onto the train, we made our way to the compartments that Erwin had listed and found some other people in one of them.  This caused quite a hassle as we blocked the corridor outside the compartments.  Finally the conductor removed the offending old couple.  Nice guys we were!  We had two nice ladies from Ljubljana ...or at least one...she was going to Ljubljana because her mother was sick and in the hospital.  She and her companion pointed out the sights to us.  We went through a long, long tunnel and when we came out on the other side, it was Slovenia.  They also were excited to point out grass and said there were cows but we never saw any cows.  They were very nice and warmly wished us well when they left.

We arrived in Ljubljana and went to our more deluxe hotel, i.e., more spacious than Venice's.  We freshened up in 10 minutes and set out for the main square and dinner.  The 1 kilometer walk turned out to seem much longer but we were all happy to walk after a sedentary day.  We had some time to look around the old city....which was beautiful with its old buildings, the triple bridge, big church and shops of various kinds.  Our restaurant Sokol was a big hit with everyone....good beer, not bad wine, excellent trout and Adrian said his game goulash was a real highlight....every 18 months he has an especially good meal and this was one!  I liked my trout and polenta.  We had a complimentary glass of the house spirits with a plum soaked in it.  The owner makes it in the restaurant cellar.  The waiters were very patient and wore special vests with fringes and the young women had embroidered blouses.  We all agreed the place was a hit.  Then we made the long walk back to the hotel to prepare for our early departure tomorrow.

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