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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Traveling – Piran, Slovenia

As part of our fall 2007 Europe trip, we drove from Lake Bled Slovenia to the Postojna region of central Slovenia where we stayed several nights on a working farm.  This region of Slovenia is best known for it’s caves, the white Lipizanner stallions, and castles.  We partook in all these experiences and along the way met some wonderful people.

At our Tourist Farm Hudicevce, we met some fellow travels Jan and Ted (from Monterey, California) and invited them to take a drive with us to the town of Piran which is located on the seacoast.  Piran is a beautiful little town situated on the Adriatic Sea and is the Western most point of Slovenia.  Looking across the Adriatic Sea, in the distance it is possible to see the coast of Italy.

We parked the car and walked past the small harbor containing brightly painted fishing boats to the center of town.  It was getting close to lunchtime, so we found a small patisserie on a side street and purchase several pieces of quiche to take with us.  We walked a block to the seawall where we could look out over the sea and had a very nice lunch in the sun.

After lunch we walked the along the seawall around the town enjoying our views of the buildings aw well as the people.  On our way back through the town, we happened on a street market with fruits and vegetables that were very fresh and colorful.  We saw a fruit that none of us had ever seen before called Zizola.

Zizola are a small fruit about the size of a large olive and have a soft brown coating (shell?) that you peel off with your thumbnail to eat.  The fruit is slightly bitter but refreshing.  We purchase a bag of the fruit to take with us.  As we walked through the town we snacked on the Zizola, but I was a little concerned about eating too much of the fruit and the unknown effects it could have on a digestive system (I’m happy to report no negative effects).

When we left the town of Piran, we decided to drive a few miles to where we could cross the border into the country of Croatia.  We stopped at a tourist site which is a salt making facility that has been used for hundreds of years.  It is located next to the sea in a low flat marsh area between Slovenia and Croatia.  We were fascinated by the methods and tools used in the production of sea salt from the region.  This salt facility was also quite picturesque with white buildings framed against the blue sky.  Our driving tour of Croatia lasted about thirty minutes as we drove through a few towns, and then back to Slovenia.

When we returned to our tourist farm, we were treated to a beautiful red and pink sunset.  I walked all over the farm taking pictures as the sun set between the hills.

We had a nice dinner that we finished with caraway seed liqueur the hostess offered us.  Earlier in the evening, I talked with the hostess as she poured drinks in preparation of a party being held on the farm.  She had four rows of glasses lined up and the first held a yellow liquid (the caraway seed liqueur), next row contained a green liqueur (mint), then a row containing white liqueur (anise), and the last row was filled with a brownish (molasses liqueur).  All these liqueurs they made on-site.  She let me sniff the contents of one of the large liqueur bottles and it was so potent, I was sure it would strip paint off a wall.  The caraway seed liqueur was tasty but very strong (like fire).  After some very nice conversation with our friends, we had a very nice rest.

When we travel, we try to stay in smaller bed and breakfasts, hotels, or in this case, a tourist farm that only has about eight rooms.  The remote and intimate setting allows meeting other guests from a variety of locations and being able to talk and compare experiences.  We continue to communications with some of the people we have met and we always exchange address information with people we meet.  The family that runs the tourist farm was very friendly with many children that helped with meals.  We got to know their names, ages and interests which really enhanced the experience of our visit with them for all us.

We had a few more days of sight seeing in the area, and then it was on to Milan Italy.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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