As a born and raised Pennsylvanian I have seen my fair share of snow and swore a million times I’d be happy without seeing it again, but here I am years later literally driving to the Alps to find snow. For the past 9 years I have lived in either desert, tropical, mild, or mediterranean climates. I have loved every second of it, but I also miss a good heavy dose of snow.
Not many people realize that the Alps are also in Slovenia, but I am here to tell you that they do, and they are beautiful and so underrated by those who missed the memo. The perks of living in a small country that occupies such vastly different landscapes is that in one hour I can drive from the capital city to complete isolation 1100 meters above sea level. I drove from almost no snow, to more snow then I could have dreamed of.
To start the search for snow Jaka and I first drove south of Ljubljana to Rakitna. I was so stunned at how in a 30 minute drive we were in a winter wonderland. I asked him to pull over so I could take some pictures of these towering trees full of snow. Soon my fingers began to go numb so we drove nearby to Rakitna Lake (jezero Rakitna).
Once Jaka realized how excited I was over something he thought was quite standard he offered to take me somewhere else. I agreed and back in the car we went, driving north past Lake Bled. At first we panicked noticing that the snow was disappearing more and more until there was almost none. Suddenly we began our ascent into the alps and everything changed.
Within minutes we were surrounded by more snow than I have seen in a very, very long time. I wasn’t prepared for it. Stepping out of the car and being surrounded by snow covered giants and the deafening silence they commanded was a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Thank you to Jaka for getting me these drone shots. I am terrified to fly the drone, and I’m not that good at it so it’s best he is the pilot. I want to also say that it is quite difficult to match drone photos to those shot with my Canon M50, I tried my best but that is why the colors shift a bit. If anyone has any tips I would be forever grateful.
After a day of admiring beautiful frozen water on trees and freezing my fingers off in -7C, we decided to try a gostilna we drove past just a few minutes down the road.
Outside of Gostilna Zatrnik there was a sign showing that in 1972 American astronauts from Apollo 15 visited and ate here. The sign tells this elaborate story about how they took horse drawn sleighs from Bled and ate a traditional menu with beef soup, stuffed pigs stomach and neck, potica and krofi, and a Slovenian wine, cviček.
I wasn’t feeling particularly brave so I didn’t opt for the stuffed stomach (although I’ve had haggis in Scotland and really enjoyed it). Instead I ordered a venison golaž (goulash) with homemade bread dumping, and Jaka opted for the wild boar in fig sauce with cranberry sauce and bread dumpling on the side.
Everything was delicious and warming up with a glass of planinski čaj (mountain tea) is the best way to enjoy the alps (also maybe the only way in Slovenia).
And that was our snow day in Slovenia. I had a lot of fun just escaping into the snow for a few hours rather than being buried under it for days. I’m always looking for more places to explore covered in snow, especially if there will be castles. Please feel free to leave your suggestions below! Thanks for reading!
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Owner of wanderinghelene.com. Anthropologist, content creator, castle explorer, coffee drinker, and lover of markets and very old places!