All you need is sLOVEnia. A Valentine’s post

SloveniaHappy Valentine’s day folks!
Today, let’s forget how cynical we are during the rest of the year and let’s celebrate LOVE instead, with a post about the only country that has the word LOVE within its name: Slovenia!
*fan girl mood on*
(Were you expecting that I would have missed this golden opportunity to ramble about Slovenia? Seriously?)

So let’s enjoy some pictures and travel stories about my Valentine, the LOVE of my life, the one thing on earth  that completes me and makes me feel madly in LOVE: Slovenia.
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Ljubljana shares the same root of “Ljubezen”, the Slovene word for Love

Slovenia > the landscapes

The most impressive thing about Slovenia is its nature.
Don’t turn up your nose yet, assuming that you aren’t a hiking-into-the-nature kind of person; I am an urban traveller too and I have never hiked, skied or practiced any into-the-wild extreme sports Slovenia is well-known for.
The thing about Slovenian landscapes is that, within a few hundreds of kilometers, you can switch from a popular ski destination to the sunny seaside, from hills geometrically designed by vineyards to fairy-tail-ihs lakes, from Caucasian caves to wild countryside. And more.
And the impressive thing about Slovenian nature is that it is magnificent. Powerful. Wild. And always right there, like if Mother Earth is hugging you all the time.
I will show you just one snapshot to illustrate this concept; it is one of those pictures you don’t mean to take but still you end up by finding into your memory card for having looked for something on the messy dashboard of your car while driving: just a random field in a random moment of a random day. Plus, I don’t want to show you posed Slovenia (you can surf the web for that, and you will find plenty of amazing pictures!), for Valentine’s day I want to go intimate; call me voyeur and enjoy Slovenian nature porn!
 
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random Slovene nature

Slovenia > the food

Slovenian traditional cuisine is not so traditional after all. It spices Balkan specialties with middle-Europe influences, it’s quite heavy (to give to your body all the essential calories to survive to the Slovenian cold weather) and it revolves around how you are going to cook that piece of meat.
So for me Slovenian food isn’t memorable only for the recipes, but especially for the high quality of the extremely genuine raw materials; think about my gushing over Slovenian natural beauties above and imagine that all Slovenian cows, sheep and Co. must feel the same. Plus over there vegetables actually taste how they are supposed to! 
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Slovenia > the counterculture

But I am surely not Heidi-in-the-valley, after all; so if I decided to move to Slovenia in the first place there should be something more appealing to me than astonishing landscapes and tasty food. That is its cultural dynamism.
(And please note that I’m from Rome, the eternal city, not from some little village in nowhere land).
In Slovenia I found an artistic excitement you can hardly find anywhere in Italy, especially if you compare the size of Italian main cultural metropolis with the Slovene realities. Still, while Italian artistic scenario smells of obsolete, stuffed and pretty commercial too, Slovenian youngsters are actively involved in the creation of a cultural scenario which suits them, from taking part into the activities at the local youth centre (every village has one, and they all are very active) to bigger realities well-know also abroad such as Pekarna in Maribor and Metelkova Mesto in Ljubljana, an autonomous social centre squatted in 1993 a.k.a. my personal Wonderland: several graffiti covered blocks simultaneously hosting exhibitions, live concerts, dj-sets, performances, queer festivals and any kind of fun.
 
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Metelkova Mesto, Ljubljana
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Metelkova Mesto, Ljubljana
…and that’s where my love addiction comes from!
Now, I do realize that my 7-years love relationship with Slovenia is far from idyllic (I moved away eventually, right?) and even that for the times I came back after the major break-up hoping to renew old bounds she kicked my ass away (or –to be more specific- my knee: on the Rog dance floor on 2011 NYE and again on the Laško Terme bathroom floor on spring 2012).
But you know how it is when you move away from your loved one… you simply can’t figure your life out without including it!
So during last summer holidays I tried, for the 3rd time, to win her heart back (but, this time, I also packed a knee pad and instant ice…); I planned a 5 days itinerary and made it all about Slovenia’s natural beauties, Slovenia’s best restaurants, my sweet friend Elena (the Official Blocal’s Foodie! ;-) ) and my other Slovenian friends.
And she welcomed me at her best!

Pictures from summer 2013, a.k.a. The Reunification ;-)
 
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Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Predjama Castle, Slovenia
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Koper, Slovenia
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Maribor, Slovenia
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Tolmin, Slovenia
Happy Valentine’s day, sLOVEnia! 

Srečno Valentinovo Slovenija!

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