Goodbye Balkans: Rovinj and Ljubljana

What a nice place to save for the end(ish) of our trip! Mark found the place where we stayed in Rovinj, a little hotel resort on the island of St. Andreas. The hotel was the only thing on the tiny island. As I learned on my run one morning, it is almost exactly one mile around St. Andreas. There is another island connected to this one,  just a little bit smaller with lots of rocky coves where you can go to sunbathe and swim. On our first full day on the island, we walked around the path that runs along St. Andreas and saw that they rent stand up paddle boards. We rented two and set off to paddle around the smaller island, but it was a little more difficult than we anticipated. The boards were not really sturdy; they were inflated, but not quite all the way. I was okay on mine, but Mark’s was a little less inflated and it was really tricky for him to stand on his. After a few plunges in the sea, he decided to make his into a sort of kayak.  More success this time! He’s a good sport 🙂

After our hour of SUP/kayaking, we found some unoccupied rocks on the smaller island to make into our own private swimming cove. We hung out there for the afternoon and then later took the boat back to the mainland of Rovinj. The boats ran almost every hour back and forth, which was very convenient. We found the greatest little champagne and cocktail bar for watching the sunset. They have little cushions on rocks jutting out into the water where you sit. After the sunset we grabbed a quick slice of pizza for me and a kebab for Mark before heading back to our island (after getting gelato, of course). 


View from the boat to the island


View from our room


The next morning I got up to do my run, which I loved; it was a little trail run around both of the islands and across the bridge, twice, to make four miles. We had an awesome buffet breakfast at the hotel after that and then relaxed indoors for a little while, since we had gotten lots of sun the day before. Then, we both had spa appointments! I got a facial and Mark had an aloe treatment, a good idea after all of the sun. We had another hour to relax and read in the shade after that until we had to head back to the mainland to catch our bus to Ljubljana. 

The bus ride to Ljubljana went via small coastal roads, which made the trip a bit longer (3ish hours) but made for a very scenic ride. I had been to Ljubljana once before (nine years ago!)  in the winter with Lexie. At the time, I was working at the Guggenheim Collection in Venice for a couple months and Lexie came to visit for Christmas. We took a little trip to Ljubljana and stayed in a hostel that used to be a prison. I was excited to go back again in the summer this time (though Mark and I did not stay in the prison this trip) because I knew it would be really beautiful in the summer. Since we only had one full day in the city, we didn’t do any day trips but rather walked around, took a boat, and a funicular in the city as we explored the smallest capital city (I think) in Europe (and also the most charming). 

To start we had a huge buffet breakfast (again), and then I went back to sleep for two hours 🙂 THEN, we started walking around. In the past five or so years, Ljubljana has closed nearly all of the roads in the city center to cars. The streets are now full of pedestrians walking around and stopping for coffee at the million cafe along the river that runs through the city. Our first stop was at the national library, which had a really cool exhibit on the history of medicine and anatomy (and it even mentioned Grey’s Anatomy, the show, in one of the displays, proving that maybe I’m not the only one who still watches??). Standing in museum-like exhibits for a long time is exhausting, so we stopped for lunch immediately after the library. We had a really good meal at one of the cute restaurants along the river. 


Our little lunch guest

 Having refueled properly with a post-lunch gelato, we walked over to the 200-year-old botanic gardens, one of the oldest in Europe. It actually didn’t take too long to explore the whole of the gardens. We walked back into the city along the river this time, and then ended up actually taking a little boat tour along the river, too. Lexie and I definitely did not take a boat tour when we were there in the winter!

Our last stop of the night was the Ljubljana castle. We took the funicular up to the top, walked around for a bit, looked out at the city from the viewing tower, and then sat down to dinner in the courtyard of the castle. An excellent final European dinner 🙂 We may or may not have gotten one last gelato on our way back to the hotel. 



This morning I did my Ljubljana run with another running tour guide. That is just the best idea ever. I loved it. We did about 6.5 miles this time (Mark had conveniently thrown away his running shoes in one of our last stops so he couldn’t come on this run). I love wearing my Garmin to run because after I sync it to my phone I can see the exact map of where we ran! We went along the river for a while and then through other streets of t city that Mark and I hadn’t seen the day before, and hen we ended by running brought part of Tivoli park, which has so many great running/biking/walking paths. An excellent final activity for the trip. 

Mark and I are so lucky to have gotten to take this trip. I hope you all enjoyed reading about it and seeing the pictures. Once we had the good pictures from our camera loaded on the computer, I’ll share some more of these too. 


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One Response to Goodbye Balkans: Rovinj and Ljubljana

  1. Lexie says:

    Oh SF! Sounds like soooo much fun. I can’t believe it has been 9 years since we have been there– you are definitely not the only one who watches Greys Anatomy!!

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