Sunday, July 8, 2018

Eastern Europe by Car | Slovenia, Croatia & Hungary Travel Vlog (Part I)

Where have I been for a month? Well, I've been in Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. Hereby part 1 of my travels.

After a single night in Slovakia, we all left to Keszthely, Hungary, for my father's triathlon. After several days in Hungary (with my parents), our adventure began. First destination: hotel Pikapolonca in Maribor, Slovenia.

We arrived at Pikapolonca at the specified time but were not greeted by the host, nor did we know exactly where to go. Free private parking turned out to be parking on the street. The host, who was supposed to speak English, spoke only Slovenian and (thank God) a bit of German. When we went up to the room, it turned out that it was not cleaned (the bed had been slept on, there were crumbs all over the table, there were things in the fridge) so we had to go back down (into the messy backyard, where the family lived in a separate house) to mention this, and wait an additional half an hour for the room to be cleaned.

Once it was cleaned, we returned to the room. The fridge still had an open pack of sausages and there was a weird and disgusting foamy monster growing in the freezer (we decided not to use the freezer). There was no air conditioning and the TV that was there was a box (the reviewer that mentioned AC, a good TV and a jacuzzi bath (the review we read before booking) must have had another place in mind, as none of these things were present). The toilet was quite gross (the bottom was brown/black and smelled horrible) and water from the shared shower would puddle on the floor all over the bathroom. The soap we could use to wash our hands was just washing up liquid.

Everything in the room (cupboards, sink without tap, etc.) was quite wonky and dirty. We decided to stay out until late (the less time in the hotel the better), after which we tried our best to sleep on the hard and uncomfortable beds. At breakfast the next morning, I first had to spend several minutes washing up the two plates and spoons that were there (with the washing up liquid, in the bathroom).

On the second day (yes, we stayed for two nights), I went to ask the WiFi password. A man hung out from the window and shouted the password at us in Slovenian and German and then disappeared to go back inside. I think we learned our lesson to read more than just the first review – I’m not quite sure how this is still on

Nevertheless, we had a good and fun time in Maribor. Although not as well-known as other places in Slovenia, there were lovely vegan restaurants and quite a few cool places to visit. We went to the Maribor football stadium, and we walked along the river. We ate at Loving Hut (yummy lunch day menu) and Cantante (great pizza and XXXL cocktails). All amazing, and easy to track down with the Happy Cow website :).

After our first hotel disaster, luckily our second hotel (‘cute room with nice balcony’, in Ljubljana) was better. We left Maribor early in the morning to go to Ljubljana, where we were greeted and had free parking and a small but super-cute room. Everything was thoroughly explained to us and the room, kitchen and bathroom were well-kept. We were a bit further from the centre than we had expected, but were explained about all our options to get there, and any restaurants that were near, how buses work, etc.

We still decided to walk into town (regardless of the host’s warnings and scepticism). The 1-2 hour walk in the heat was killing, but it was fun and the surroundings were pretty and nice for a good hike. The town itself was also lovely, again with a good array of vegan restaurant options. We visited Dragon’s Bridge and the House of Illusions. Although the latter was not as impressive as we had hoped, the infinity room was great fun, and there was a tunnel that made you feel completely drunk as you walked through it (as everything seemed to turn around you)! We also really enjoyed the puzzles and games after.

We returned to the hotel tired, sunburned, and satisfied. The room was lovely. Although the curtains only reached about halfway down the window, we slept super-well and were greeted in the morning by a surprise pancake breakfast. When we left to our next destination, lake Bled, it felt like we were leaving behind a new friend!

*Click here to see part 2 of the travel vlog featuring my first ever pub crawl, waterfalls, and vegan heaven*

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