If you had never heard of Slovenia, your introduction to it may have come within the last year, since it is the homeland of the current First Lady.
We didn't know much about it either. But on a holiday in Italy a few years ago, we found ourselves with a couple of extra days in Venice. What to do? Since Slovenia is right next door - only about an hour's drive away - we decided to be spontaneous, rent a car, and go.
A quick look at Rick Steves' recommendations, and we were off!
With the river running through the city center of the capital, Ljubljana, it reminded me a bit of Salzburg. It is a compact, walkable city with beautiful bridges and architecture. It even has a medieval castle high above the city. Walk up the steep hill, or cheat by taking the funicular. This is very much a university town, with lively streets and cafés filled with students.
The river bank through the downtown is lined with outdoor cafés. In the chilly weather, every seat had included a warm, cozy blanket for you to use - a practice I could totally get on board with in other cities. Because the country has heavy Slavic, German, and Italian influences (most people seem to speak at least three or four languages), you can find just about any kind of cuisine here.