To be honest, before meeting my Slovenian husband, I had a faint idea of where exactly Slovenia was. From Google maps, Slovenia looked like a chicken and a rather small one. Let’s say the online search of Slovenia didn’t help much, either. After my first visit, however, my opinion made an 180° turn. I fell in love, again.
1. Green, Green and Oh-So-Green
With its abundant forests, Slovenia is like the lungs of Europe. The presence of nature is palpable everywhere, even in Ljubljana, the capital city. Skyscrapers are also rare and it’s a great thing to walk around without blocks in my view.
In a small village of 80 people, I live on a farm surrounded by mountains. I like how I’m free to go hike whenever I want. I like how I can breathe fresh air every day. I like how I just need to step outside my house to see the stars. I absolutely love the closeness with nature.
(Photo: Anna Giang) Capturing the beauty of Slovenia is one of the reasons I started photography with my husband.
2. Mountain to Cave to the Mediterranean Sea
Slovenia is so small that you can drive from one side to the other in about 3 hours. Sounds boring? On the contrary, that’s one of the things I like most: no need to drive great distances to see a lot of different landscapes. Alpine mountains, virgin forests, beautiful vineyards, impressive underground caves, sunny seaside and much more.
(Photo: Anna Giang) the peninsula of Piran on the coast: I absolutely love to feel the warmth of the sun and the salty breeze of the Adriatic sea on my skin. And the best of it? It’s only 2 hours and a half away (considering that I live in the mountain side, I think that it’s awesome!). Strolling through the lovely paved streets of Piran, savoring an ice cream and getting my dose of Vitamin D at the sea. What else can I ask for? It is the best way to relax!
3. Winter is Short and Sweet
This might not be significant for everybody, but it is definitively a big advantage for someone from Montreal like me. Compared to the rough and long cold Canadian winter, winter in Slovenia is mild and lovely.
The temperature is around 0°C, no need to dress like an onion. The amount of snow is just perfect for winter activities and there’s no shortage of winter sports from Alpine skiing to snow sledding. Winter is warmer and it seems shorter. Enough for me to appreciate the season without getting tired of it.
4. Less traffic, More roundabouts
One of the first things I’ve noticed in Slovenia is that some towns don’t have any traffic lights. Sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? They use roundabouts and priority signalization. Since there is no traffic light, the traffic keeps moving and I’ve rarely been stuck in a traffic jam.
Maybe there are simply fewer cars in Slovenia, but it’s not just about road traffic. Life flows harmoniously in Slovenia with less bustle and fewer crowds. The surrounding is peaceful enough to put my mind at ease. Of course, people are curious about the not-so-common presence of an Asian girl when I walk by, but they are nice and friendly, especially when they find out I can speak Slovene.
(Photo: Anna Giang) walking into the fairy tale-like scenery of Lake Bled in Bled: As a dreamer, I’ve adored fairy tale stories since childhood. The first time I saw Lake Bled, I felt like I was walking into a dream. Its composition is simply enchanting. A church on an island in the middle of a beautiful lake, a high cliff-side castle and alpine mountains in the backgrounds. I can walk around all day and take photos!
5. Food and Fuel Directly From Mother Nature
Agriculture plays an important role in Slovenia and my daily life is a great example. Living on the family farm, I love that I know what I’m eating and how it got to my plate. The meat I eat is from our livestock that is well-treated, healthy and home-fed. The milk I put in my Turkish coffee every morning is rich, natural and fresh. Our chickens lay eggs for breakfast. The garden provides vegetables and herbs. Fruit and nuts trees are around the house. Mushrooms grow in the forest. Water comes from a natural underground source.
It’s not uncommon in Slovenian households to use firewood for heating and cooking. It’s traditional, cozy and economic. Firewood comes from the surrounding forests, it’s like killing two birds with one stone. It decreases the electricity bills and it helps maintain the forest.
(Photo: Anna Giang) photographing the noble “white” horse from the Lipica Stud Farm near Sežana: Horses have always intrigued me. I was most happy to find out that Slovenia is home to the Lipizzaner, a noble breed of “white” horses. The pride of Slovenia. What do I like the most about the Lipica Stud Farm? Its pastures. The Lipizzaners roam within what seems like endless pastures. And they are so approachable and friendly to photograph!
How moving to Slovenia changed me
Moving from Canada to Slovenia was a huge life decision. But I am glad that I did and happy to be here. My lifestyle might not be for everybody. But it suits for me. Some would say that I’m living a dream, maybe I am.