A narrow alleyway in Piran where one can climb stairs from the sea to the hill.
Piran is the prettiest city on Slovenia's coast. Located just south of the northeastern border of Italy, near Trieste, where the top of the boot curves around, it retains that very Mediterranean flavor. It was once an important harbor of the Roman Empire and the Venetians influenced it's architectural development.
We didn't have time to spend more than part of a day on the coast, but I really wanted to have a view of the Adriatic, which I had never visited. From Ljubljana, nothing is more than a two hour drive, so we took Quinn and headed to the sea. We were not disappointed.
The Adriatic Sea separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, it runs up the back of the boot. The color of the water is clear blue. All the roofs of Piran are red tile and the buildings are white stucco, making the views over the town spectacular.
We parked at the top of the hill behind old town Piran and had our picnic lunch. We then discovered a labyrinth of small alleyways, schoolyards, backyards and restaurants that led steeply downwards toward the harbor. Stone steps were often cracked and broken away, no doubt having been laid hundreds of years before. All along the descent, we caught glimpses of this idyllic city nestled in its little half moon of land.
The harbor itself was filled with beautiful sailing vessels. The sea was calm and inviting.
Rick and Quinn stuck a toe in the water before we ascended our secret stairway and headed out for our next adventure.
When I was young, I had a horse and belonged to the Pony Club, where I learned to ride in the English style, jump steeples and the whole nine yards. I wore the jodhpurs, boots, coat and velvet hard hat. I carried a little leather crop. Every one of my riding buddies wanted nothing more than to visit Vienna and see a show of the Lipizzaner horses. These incredible animals are able to perform choreographed movements which seem beyond the physical capability of the animal.
I had no idea, however, that these lovely horses, which almost always turn pure white, no matter what their birth color, were originally from Slovenia. When I learned that the Lipizzaner came from the village of Lipica, and that they gave demonstrations there on a few days a week during the summer, I made sure we could arrive at the appointed hour and in so doing, fulfill a very long-held dream.
Nowadays, there are many places in the world that raise the Lippizzaner, but Lipica is reputed to be their birthplace. The purpose of the stables is to breed and train the horses for the Spanish and Viennese exhibition centers, where they do their performances. In Lipica, the performances are only occasional and the horses are not yet graduates of the program. Still they were very skilled.
There are various shows all performed to classical music. It's entirely enchanting to watch them go through their paces.
After the show we were able to tour the stables, meet some of the beasts and hear a lively story about their history. For all of us, including Quinn, who is already a horse lover, it was a wonderful afternoon. If you want to see them in action, you can view some of their amazing and distinctive movements here and here:
By the end of our week in Slovenia, we had experienced some of its many charms. We fully intend to make it a habit to go there. It is less than a two hour plane ride from Paris to Ljubljana. It seems such a relaxed, beautiful and undiscovered playground.
Emily and Jos were happy with the results of their week with Lois, putting wooden objects together in interesting ways. They had a paper river, instruments which were played in mechanical ways, a set of closet doors, suspended from the ceiling which could be made to flap like a butterfly, by means of turning a wooden sifter which animated a row of wooden spoons which somehow got the doors to flying. It was wonderfully clever as an installation, lit to form intriguing shadows. But they also had a musical and theatrical component which brought their theme Holz, alive: wooden objects, all longing to reunite with the forest.
It has now been several weeks since coming back to France and normal daily life continues to provide lots of interesting tales, but I'm not quite finished recounting our vacation. Next week I'll share some photos and stories of Austria. After that, I'll bring it all back home.
Quinn discovered a bunny suit at the house we were staying in.