Saturday, August 28, 2010


We took 5 days off work to spend some time in Slovenia and we discovered another gem just 2 hours from our house.  Since my European geography wasn't too hot when I moved here, I've included a map.  We live in the northeastern part of Italy.  Slovenia is directly east and later in this blog you'll see photos from Croatia, which is south of Slovenia.

Lake Bled has it all: mountains, a castle, an island with a huge church in the middle of the lake, hiking, climbing, and clear water.

View from the castle

Cassy bottles her own wine.  She was assisted by a friendly sweating monk.  When I asked if they take credit cards he replied, "Yes, of course.  I am a modern monk."  He found out we were from California and told us to "Say hi to Arnold when we see him."

Italian-style "personal" pizzas.  They are brought to the table uncut and are eaten with a knife and fork.  For those of you who know of "The Prospector" restaurant in Twain Harte, the dude knows how to make Italian pizza, even if he is pretty eccentric.

You can take a trip to the island in the middle of Lake Bled in one of these boats.

Jess surveys the clear water between swims in the lake.

We stayed in the town of Kranjska Gora.  It's a ski town in the winter and an outdoor paradise in the summer.  

It seems like every field in Slovenia has one of these structures, which are used to dry hay.

A hike brought us to this amazing meadow just below the summit.

This photo would be a lot cooler if I actually knew these people.  This qualifies as borderline stalker behavior, but I just HAD to snap this shot.

Cassy stole my camera for this shot.  Nice work.

Summit photo.  We don't look tired, but we are.  We had both done long training runs that morning and then we hiked a couple more painful uphill miles to get to this summit, but it was worth every bit of effort.

This little pizza joint served us what we know to be the best pizza in Europe.  They make 250-300 pizzas per day in that tiny little wood burning oven.  We liked it so much that we ate dinner there 2 nights in a row.


I went to Lulea, Sweden for a 3-week work trip where we got to fly with the Swedes.  Lulea is WAY north (about the same as northern Alaska), so we got sunshine from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. and awesome temperatures.

Downtown Lulea

Storforsens Falls

I shot this photo at 11:30 pm.  It was the most mosquitos I've ever seen in one place.  Only my face and hands were exposed while I took these photos using a tripod.  When I went back inside, I had two huge mosquito bites that formed horns on my forehead and several welts on my hands.

"Wild" reindeer.  All reindeer in northern Sweden are actually privately owned.  They roam around freely and are herded up twice a year and tagged by their owners.  Many restaurants serve reindeer meat, even on pizza.

Our trip to Lulea coincided with their huge annual music festival.  We watched a bunch of live music including a performance by Twisted Sister.  The 55-year-old singer can still rock the house.

This vendor advertised "American Style Donuts" 

I took the next few shots at a ska concert.  I started moving forward in the crowd and ended up in the front row with my huge camera held above my head to prevent knocking people out when the crowd got rough.  The Swedish band, Hoffmaestro and Chraa, had 10-15 people on stage and were super fun to watch.  They noticed me taking photos a few times, which resulted in some cool shots.  To top it off, I caught a drumstick at the end of the show.

A work trip wouldn't be complete without some climbing.  This granite reminded me of the Wichita Mountains in southern Oklahoma.

Photo by Brett

Summertime sunsets in Sweden last forever.  It seems like the sun moves horizontally in the late hours of the day.  Combine that with 100,000+ lakes in the country and there are some sweet photo opportunities.

Pete is the only other person I work with who likes to talk about f-stop, L series lenses, and exposure times

Vrsar, Croatia

Vrsar is a little town on the west coast of Croatia.  It's loaded with tourists, but is somehow still incredibly fun.

In front of our hotel on the way to the beach in Split, Croatia

Post-thunderstorm rainbow

Classic Italian-style gelateria.  This guy would take a scoop of ice cream and walk out into the street, go about 30 paces from another ice cream employee, and launch the scoop of ice cream, which soared 20 feet high and seemed to always go straight into the other dude's mouth.  We watched them do it a few times and it never got old.

Nice melons

Met this girl on the beach and I liked her so much I brought her back to Italy with me.