Udine is situated about 40 mins drive from the Italian/Slovenian border. It has always been interesting to see the Slovenian influence in the region of Friuli. The language, the food and the culture are very much closer to Slovenia than what we would consider to be classically Italian.
Apart from a couple of brief trips over the border, we hadn’t explored Slovenia at all. The arrival our friends Alan and Gemma from the UK last week changed all that. Whilst her mother hails from Slovenia, Gemma had never been to visit. It therefore seemed very appropriate to have a Slovenian adventure during their stay.
But where to go? We had heard Ljubljana is a charming city but, given that Venice was on our itinerary during their stay, we were looking for something a little more chilled. My husband hit on the perfect spot for us to visit. Located on Slovenia’s very tiny stretch of Adriatic coast, Piran is a charming town with a marina, medieval cobbled streets and a good deal of Venetian and Austro-Hungarian influenced architecture.
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to visit. The sunny weather, especially the clear blue sky set off the colours of the buildings beautifully. It felt a little like we had stepped into a fairy-tale, candy-coloured Kingdom!
Whilst sipping drinks and later having dinner in Tartini Square we took in a number of sights that just added to the feeling that we had stepped into a story book world. An accordion player strolled through the town and was hailed by a large group of friends sitting in a neighbouring bar. This led to the whole group joining him in song which gave way to impromptu dancing!
We saw at least four newly married couples emerge from the Town Hall and then stroll through the square with the rest of their wedding party. Everyone around us seemed to be smiley and happy.
Strolling through the rest of the town seemed to add to the feeling that we had just landed in the happiest town in the world. We stopped for a while to swim in the clear Adriatic Sea and found a perch on the rocky shoreline to dry off in the sun.
The cool, shady, narrow streets gave us a much needed respite from the afternoon sun. I managed to find lots of colour and pattern inspiration too. From this painted ironwork….
….to this intriguing display outside of a ceramic shop.
Towards sunset, we walked up, up, up the steep hill (and many steps) to take a walk on the town wall. This was built to provide a defence against Ottoman attack. Sadly my camera battery had died by then so I cannot show you an ariel shot of Piran. I will be sure to pinch a couple from Gemma to show you at a later date.
We are already making plans to return to Piran but, in a way, I am slightly afraid to. In my mind the day was a like a favourite childhood picture book and had the slightly ethereal quality of a musical box. I am not sure it can ever live up to my memories!
Even so, I think we will almost certainly open the musical box again.