travel

Slovenia

Slovenia, located in Central Europe, is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a European destination offering a range of activities and landscapes. Start in the capital (Ljubljana) and then make your way to Bled to visit the glacial lake, followed by a trip to Postojna to explore the magical caves.
  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Slovenian

Ljubljana

Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is located in the middle of the country, and is a great place to start a trip to Slovenia. The public transport in the capital is great, and gives access to most parts of the country from the central bus and train station. There are lots of outdoor bars and restaurants in the city, many of which line the banks of the Ljubljanica River, making it a great place to visit in warmer weather. As for things to do, a few hours should be set aside for exploring the mainly pedestrianised Old Town, with its cobbled streets and colourful buildings. Keep an eye out whilst wandering for the numerous water fountains that are dotted over the city, offering fresh cold drinking water to passers by. Ljubljana Castle is well worth a visit, and the views from the funicular on the way up allow you to see miles across the city and into the mountains in the distance. When up at the castle, you can take part in either a guided or audio tour, as well as exploring the viewing points and castle tower offering a full 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding area. There are so many options of where to eat and drink in Ljubljana, covering all tastes and budgets. We tried to stick to trying local food as much as possible, and were not disappointed! Some of the things you may see on the menu include idrijski žlikrofi (traditional Slovenian dumplings – a bit like ravioli), struklji (dough rolled with various fillings) and kranjska klobasa (Slovenian sausage).
  • Hisa Pod Gradom: Tucked away in a side street a few minutes from the river is the charming Hisa Pod Gradom. Instantly greeted with a warm welcome, we were shown to a table in a cozy dining room and handed menus with an impressive amount of local dishes on. We chose several different dishes, all from the local list and all were excellent. Particular mention to the sausage cooked in dark beer, served with Idrija Žlikrofi. House wine here was great and very reasonable (€15 for a litre!) and the dessert selection in the cabinet made making a choice very difficult indeed! Loved this place so much we ate here twice on our trip.
  • Julija: Julija is located on the main street in the city centre, and is a great place to eat if you’re wanting to sample local cuisine in an upmarket setting. Candlelit tables set the scene, and smartly dressed waiters bring menus with a wide selection, offering plenty of meat and fish options along with a page dedicated to local dishes. The cheese štruklji (dumplings) here were excellent!
  • Druga Violina: I loved everything about Druga Violina, from the service to the food and outdoor seating. This restaurant is unique in that it employs several people with special needs, training them up and giving them a chance to work in a welcoming environment, and it was lovely to watch how the staff supported each other while serving. Local dishes are mainly served here, and the crushed potato with sausage was excellent, as were the pasta dishes we tried, and of course the classic Slovenian sausages. This was one of the cheapest places we ate cost wise, and the quality and service were superb.
  • Cacao: For excellent ice cream in the city, be sure to stop by Cacao, located on the river bank. They have a wide variety of gelato flavours, plus an extensive drinks menu, cake cabinet and plenty of seating both inside and outside. (Particular mention to the Cacao cake, which was rich enough to share but good enough that you’d want your own piece!)
  • Union pub: Run by the Union brewery, Union Pub is a few minutes walk from the main bus/train station I the city and is a great place to go to sample the local beer. We ordered beer tasting flights, which had three 100ml tasters and came with snacks. Priced at €5.20 per flight, this was a great introduction to the many beers that they serve, and is a fun way to spend an afternoon. There is also the option to take part in the Union Experience next door, going through the history of the brewery and sampling the beer in the place it is made.
  • Premier pub: Premier Pub was located beneath our apartment, so it was only right that we stopped by for a drink! They had lots of outdoor seating, which is great for nice weather, but the inside was cozy too so no problems if its cold/wet outside! An extensive drinks list with reasonable prices, the spritz drinks were great (cherry in particular) and the local beer was cheap. They also have a daily happy hour from 5-7pm!
We booked an amazing apartment through Airbnb for around €400 for three nights, and it was spotlessly clean and very centrally located. It had two bedrooms – one double and one twin – plus a sofa bed that would have slept two more people if necessary. The apartment was in a pedestrianised zone and overlooked the river, and was literally seconds from the centre of the city. There were bars and restaurants right below which were great for breakfast n the mornings or a quick drink before dinner (happy hour from 5-7pm in most of them!). The communication from the host was great, and they offered private transfers to and from the city, plus the option to leave bags if your flight home was a little later in the day.

Postojna

Around an hour from Ljubljana by public bus, the town of Postojna is home to the Postojna Cave Park. The caves are located in the South West of the country, and are 377ft below ground. A unique underground train will take you into the depths of the caves, and upon exiting the train carriage, a guided walking tour begins. There are well paved paths throughout the caves and the walk is done at a slow pace, so should be manageable for most people. The tour takes 1.5 hours in total, and lots of information is given throughout, as well as plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos. Tickets for this tour can be combined with several other activities in the park, including Postojna Castle.

Lake Bled

Located 55km from Ljubljana, Lake Bled can be reached easily using public transport from the city. Busses depart every hour from the central bus station and it takes a little over an hour to reach the lake. Combined tickets can be bought at the bus station (or online in advance) that include return transport, a boat trip out to Blejski Otok (the island in the middle of the lake), entrance to the church and view point on the island, plus an optional add on of Bled Castle.

The lake itself can be walked around and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to stop off at. In good weather, leave some time to simply stroll along the path and take in the views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Boats to the island run every hour, taking around 15 minutes, and you then have one hour to explore before catching the boat back. Once on the island, make sure to visit the gothic church and take your turn at ringing the wishing bell (via a rope located in the middle of the church). Just remember not to tell anyone what you wished for, or it won’t come true!

Food wise, if you’re looking for a spot of lunch whilst in Bled, make your way to Pizzeria Rustica for reasonably priced and very tasty pizzas.

If you have time (and aren’t too full from the pizzeria) make sure you sample Bled Cake and/or Potica cake – Bled cake being a local speciality made from vanilla cream, whipper cream and butter dough, and Potica a traditional Slovenian cake made from thinly rolled yeast dough and filled with various fillings (commonly walnut, almond, cottage cheese or poppy seed).

travel

30 before 30

I originally set myself the challenge of visiting 30 countries before I turned 30 (I’m currently 28) but I ended up travelling a lot more than I expected last year, and so I’ve now already completed that. Deciding this was no longer the challenge I thought, I have changed it slightly…

I will now be aiming to visit 30 capital cities before I turn 30, which will be on 26th November 2021. So far I’ve been to 23, with 2 more booked for this year. I only class myself having visited if I’ve actually explored the city, rather than passing through or touching down in an airport and leaving straight away.

Below I’ve listed in alphabetical order the capital cities I’ve visited so far, along with the three I have planned and a few that are high on my list to visit. If anyone has suggestions or tips for the cities I’m looking to visit please comment below or drop me an email!

Visited: Amsterdam, Bern, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Cardiff, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Paphos, Paris, Prague, Reykjavik, Riga, Rome, Saint Helier, Santa Cruz, Stone Town, Vienna

Visiting this year: Madrid, Phnom Penh

Want to visit: Berlin, Belgrade, Warsaw, Tallinn

travel

London

London is my home city, so this post will be slightly different in terms of ‘exploring’ but I LOVE London and having lived here for years, am confident I can recommend amazing restaurants and fun things to do for your weekend stay in the city!


  • Currency: British Pound
  • Local time: GMT
  • Language: English

Stay: Shoreditch House

Even though I live in London, I’ve stayed in hotels multiple times in the city. Most recently, I stayed at Shoreditch House – which is part of the Soho House group – for the weekend. Although it’s a private members club, you can book to stay in the hotel as a non-member if they have availability, and as a hotel guest you get full access to the club facilities for the duration of your stay.

The room was tastefully decorated and the bed was extremely comfortable, and the bathroom fully stocked with Cowshed products added to the luxury! The club itself was amazing, and the rooftop pool was the perfect place to chill out with a cocktail at the end of the day.


Eat: Flour & Grape, M Victoria,  Le Mercury, London Steakhouse Co, Table Cafe, Gaucho, Rabot 1745

There are so many places I could list here, but these are a selection of my favourites and a brief reason why. Roll over the photos to see where each one was taken.

Flour & Grape, Bermondsey: A relaxed and informal pasta restaurant with a simple but excellent menu and an extensive wine list.

M Victoria: Victoria: There are also M restaurants in the City and Twickenham, but the classy dining room and wine store on the top floor make Victoria my favourite. The Wagyu beef here is exceptional.

Le Mercury, Islington: Amazing French bistro dining in a relaxed atmosphere, with extremely reasonable prices.

London Steakhouse Co, City: A Marco Pierre White steakhouse with locations in the City and Chelsea, the steak here is incredible and the service was also impeccable.

Table Cafe, Southwark: For one of the best brunches in London, head to Table, located near the Tate Modern if you feel like being cultured afterwards!

Gaucho, City wide: There are several Gaucho’s over the city, and all offer excellent quality food in modern and sophisticated dining areas.

The Lemon Tree, Covent Garden: Excellent Thai food served in a small but cute restaurant area above the pub. Booking essential to secure a table.

Rabot 1745, Borough Market: Located in the bustling Borough Market, this Hotel Chocolat owned restaurant manages to incorporate chocolate in every dish on the menu. Amazing!


Do: Borough Market, Thames Cruise, Kew Gardens, Bermondsey Beer Mile

Borough Market is located at the foot of London Bridge, and is an amazing food market selling local produce ranging from breads and cheeses to brownies and paella. Visit to pick up some fresh produce or stop for lunch at one of the many stalls selling hot food to takeaway. The full market is open Wednesday – Saturday, with limited traders on Mondays and Tuesdays. The market is closed on Sundays.

No trip to London is complete without taking a boat tour on the Thames. There are many options to choose from, whether you simply hop on a Thames Clipper boat that runs as public transport along the river, or book a spot on an official tour boat – some even serve afternoon tea for that traditional British experience! The Visit London website has a list of the top tours on offer.

Kew Gardens is located in South West London, and is a botanical garden that is home to “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world”. Entry to the gardens starts from £16 for adults and £4 for children if you buy online.

For all the beer lovers out there, I highly recommend taking part in a Bermondsey Beer Mile tour. Located South of the river, this stretch of bars, pubs and breweries run for (you guessed it, a mile!) and on the tour you’re given the chance to not only sample the locally brewed beers, but also meet some of the brewers behind them!