Ski Slovenia

I was introduced to skiing by my husband 2 years ago and fell in love.

As an expensive holiday we haven’t been able to go as often as we would like, but this year we took the opportunity to book a last minute trip to Slovenia for some skiing, hiking and sightseeing.

While Slovenia may not seem the obvious first choice for a ski holiday, a recommendation from a Slovenian friend combined with a bit of research and the availability of £80 return flights to Ljubljana (albeit at 6am in the morning) confirmed our decision to book.

There were a number of ski resorts to choose from but we settled on Kranjska Gora, an alpine resort situated in northwestern Slovenia, near the mountains and glacial lakes of Triglav National Park, approximately 5 miles from Austria to the north and 10 miles from Italy to the west. Getting there couldn’t have been easier; a straightforward one hour drive from the airport (in a very reasonably priced hire car) without any of the perilous, steep and winding roads that I associate with getting to Austrian and French resorts.

We chose the perfect time to travel too, arriving to a gentle downfall of snow, a forecast of sun and further snow showers and daytime temperatures of 0 to -4 for the week ahead.

Our hotel was even prettier than the  picture and our room was just perfect – big but really cosy, with a balcony and a beautiful view of the mountains, a sofa, coffee table and plenty of space to read and relax when we weren’t skiing.

The hotel also went out of their way to make sure I had plenty to eat for breakfast everyday, buying in soya milk, vegan cheese, vegan butter and three flavours of soya yogurt, not to mention the extensive range of cereals, fruit, nuts and seeds, breads and jams.

The resort was picturesque, with wooden-fronted chalets lit up with fairy lights. There were plenty of cosy little restaurants and cafes, sports and souvenir shops, stalls serving mulled wine and waffles, a well-furnished supermarket and a pool with a spa (where we may have treated ourselves to a swim and a massage!).

 

Our hotel was only a short walk to the slopes but there were also lockers directly next to the piste so we could leave our skis, poles, helmets and boots at the end of each day and stroll back through town in the comfort of our walking boots.

All of the pistes were below the tree line, offering a stunning alpine, snow-topped landscape wherever you looked. I love being outside and this, almost too perfect setting, combined with the gorgeous mountain air, made getting out everyday irresistible! We were even lucky enough to have warm sunshine on a couple of days, allowing us to sit outside the mountain huts for a hot drink or snack during our breaks, but even taking the lifts up the slopes was made pleasurable as it gave you the opportunity to enjoy the the views.

The runs were graded blue, red and black, with some of the blue routes beginning as red runs. As a second-time skier the resort was perfect for me. I was happy to spend the first few mornings on the blue button and chair lifts, taking lessons to get me back up to speed, while R was able to go off and ski the black runs at the other end of the resort. We would then ski the reds together for the rest of the day, with the occasional stop for a hot drink and some leg rest.

The pistes were open 9am to 4pm and we were on the first lifts everyday. There was also night skiing available every evening from 7pm to 10pm.

We only went one evening and while it was really fun it was pretty busy and there were a lot of kamikaze kids which meant that it wasn’t quite as relaxing as the daytime runs! Still, I enjoyed the incredible full-body workout offered by skiing during the days and was certainly aching by the end of it.

If you are looking for a picture-perfect resort for up to 5 days of skiing, provisions for cross-country and night skiing and a chance to watch ski jumpers in training at Planica, which is just a 15 minute drive away, some spa time, a beautiful little village with lots of delicious restaurants that are more than happy to cater for vegetarian and vegan tastes, then I can’t recommend this resort highly enough.

 

There is also some great hiking nearby and a short walk away from town is the beautiful Lake Jasna, which is well worth a visit.

Skiing holidays are such a unique experience and I feel so lucky that we were able to discover this little gem of a resort. While we were too sad to leave I hope we will return!

Advertisements

New York, New York

IMG_0353Just this time last week I was en route to the US, full of nervous excitement having never before set foot on American soil.

It seems like a lifetime ago now and I can’t actually believe that only seven days have passed.

I arrived at midday US time (5pm UK time) and made my way through a busy JFK, jumped into a yellow cab and headed to what would be my home for the next three weeks, a beautiful apartment overlooking the Hudson on the Upper West Side.

I came to the US for work, which meant time spent at MoMA, the Frick and the Met was a given, but to this incredible opportunity I added a personal agenda of engaging in all things that a tourist should stereotypically do in New York.

IMG_0400I began my trip with a walk along the Hudson and through Central Park, getting my bearings and plotting some potential running routes.

Waking up at 5am each morning (which must have something to do with jet lag I’m sure) has meant that I’ve been able to jam pack my days, before and after work.

I’ve taken a ride on the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, a walk along Wall Street and through the financial district and spent time gazing into the 9/11 memorial.

IMG_0591I’ve visited Grand Central Station, walked 5th Avenue and ascended the Empire State Building.

New friends encountered on my trip have taken me see the Mets beat Miami at baseball, the lights of Time Square, the kitsch of Coney Island and the sunset over Manhattan.

I’ve eaten New York bagels with tofutti cream cheese, browsed the treasures of Chelsea Market and walked along the High Line.

IMG_0815I’ve driven golf balls (very badly) off the Chelsea Pier, scaled the walls of the new Queen’s climbing wall, run through Riverside Park and dined at a real American diner.

All of this, plus work, is my excuse for why I’ve not written much lately, and I have to admit I’m totally exhausted!

However, amongst all of this my foot has been making good progress and for the last few days I’ve not needed any pain relief, despite the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of walking. There is a treadmill in my apartment and I have been building up my running slowly until today when I finally ventured outside for the first time.

IMG_0839I didn’t go far or fast, the humidity and the heat put paid to that, but I was also focusing on not pushing myself too hard and not trying to prove anything.

This decision to hold back was motivated by a conversation with a fellow British climber at the wall last night. She told me about a book she was reading about the acceptance of adversity and the power to rise above the expectations that others may place on you.

This is something that strikes a chord with me. So often do I put pressure on myself, generated by the perceived expectations of others. In doing so I often miss out on the pleasure of the activity itself, or feel the pleasure of my own achievements diminish under another’s gaze.

IMG_0874So today I ran for me. I ran to see how my foot would hold, to get away from my desk and my inbox, and to make the most of my beautiful (if not slightly damp) surroundings. And without the weight of any expectation I found such great enjoyment in the run (added to by the fact that it was my first successful run back since my injury).

I’m trying to take this ethos forward, not only for my running but also my climbing. I’m taking value in being humble, in learning and enjoying each activity for its own sake and for how it makes me feel, regardless of the perceptions of others.

If only I’d had this insight before my appalling attempts at the driving range…oh well!

More American adventures to follow.