The trip to Slovenia was wonderful. My students were awesome. The Slovenian students were adorable. The Slovenian colleagues were incredibly warm and welcoming and all spoke English.
We had no trouble getting out of Poitiers to Paris or Charles de Gaulle to Ljubljana. We left from the tiny 2G terminal which I had never been to before, since technically we were flying Hop! (yes there’s an exclamation point), Air France’s short route, lower-cost branch. And yet we were still served a mini sandwich and drinks!
The town where our partner school was is a historically mining-based town, though the mine is closed now. It was in the middle of the hills—real hills, since they lead up to the Alps, and streets were very windy. The villages were basically located on the flat bits in the valleys between these hills.
A few other observations:
- Slovenia is really beautiful and geographically diverse for such a small country.
- Slovenians speak English very well.
- The history of the area is fascinatingly complex and was enriched for us by a few personal stories from our hosts.
Here is some of what we saw. Also, I can’t figure out where the diacritic is for these Slovenenian sh sounds (s + diacritic=sh), so you’ll just have to imagine them.
Our first excursion was a morning at Lake Bled and an afternoon in Ljubljana.
Our second excursion involved a trip to the Skocjan caves, where cameras weren’t allowed, and would have taken really crummy pictures anyway. So here’s one from a website (eurotribe.com). It was really beautiful, and not scary at all, contrary to what the picture might suggest. It was a little hard on the knee—500 steps—but I made it through and I’m proud of myself for it!
We then went for a short visit to Stanjel, a small medieval town with some fantastic views.
We ended that day in Koper, the port town five minutes from Italy.
All over Slovenia you’ll find these odd buildings in good or bad shape—good if they’re still in use, run down if they aren’t used anymore. They’re used to dry hay once it’s harvested.
It was the best school trip I’ve done so far, with the possible exception of my first trip to London four years ago (NOT the one with the middle schoolers). We hope the exchange will continue, and so do the Slovenians, since very few Slovenian students choose to learn French (they are all quite good at German and English).