How small is Slovenia? The internet puts its relative size as slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, but that’s not all that descriptive. Far more illustrative is the fact that little more than half an hour after catching the freeway from Lake Bled, we inadvertently drove across a barely-marked border and, much to our chagrin, found ourselves in Italy.
Slovenia is so small and its capital so centrally located that many visitors simply stay in Ljubljana and take day trips to a handful of the country’s top tourist destinations. Without a young child, we might have done the same, but with Munchkin in tow not only did we want to minimize drive times but we also wanted to be on our own schedule. We rented a car, mapped out a one-week loop that hit pretty much all of Slovenia’s highlights, and headed for the Julian Alps.
We arrived late, the dusk catching up to us on the outskirts of Ljubljana an hour or so after we had crossed the Croatia-Slovenia border. Although our first impressions of Slovenia were based entirely on the drive to its capital and the five-minute walk we took from our hotel to get take-out dinner, we saw enough to realize that there were major differences between these two neighboring countries that for half a century had been yoked together under the Yugoslav flag.
After two weeks on the coast, we headed inland to Plitvice National Park for our last bit of sightseeing in Croatia. The park, which extends over almost 300 square kilometers, encompasses sixteen lakes that form a vast natural staircase, cascading one into another in a myriad waterfalls. What’s more, algae in the lakes make their waters unbelievably limpid at the same time that minerals tint the surface various shades of blue and green.
Munchkin is having a rough couple of weeks — and, by extension, so are we. Between his first cold, a viral infection, and teething pains, there is not much calm or quiet in our household. Even before we had his aches and pains to contend with, however, Munchkin started putting us through our paces. He is growing up so fast that we can hardly believe it.
Before introducing solid foods, S did some cursory online research. What she found was a battleground between parents who advocate for baby-led weaning and those who favor the more traditional, spoon-fed approach. As is typical of parenting disagreements, this debate is characterized by impassioned exhortations from parents and experts on both sides who fervently believe that theirs is the only right approach.