As I teased on Instagram this weekend, Bret and I explored somewhere new! The embassy had Columbus Day off, so most families were traveling this past weekend. We decided to get out of Croatia for the first time to see Slovenia and Italy.
Sidenote: We finally found a dog hotel in Zagreb! Hotel Za Pse was very reasonably priced (compared to boarding in the US), there was plenty of space for them to run and play, and the owner sent us photos and notes to calm my nerves. And Matej is fantastic with dogs, so he eased my mind (as much as possible, anyways).
The hubs researched "can't miss" restaurants on our way to Italy, and he stumbled upon Majerija in Slap, Slovenia (Northwest of Ljubljana). It was midway from our house to our bed and breakfast, so we decided to stop for our first meal of the trip. Since it was lunch, we did not make a reservation but if you go for dinner, I highly recommend calling ahead first. I guarantee you it is packed at night.
The food was AMAZING. There were a few ways to order, and we decided to let the chef choose our six courses. We had two cold appetizers, two warm appetizers, a main dish and a dessert. There was not a bad dish in the mix. The plates were small and complex, with several flavors combining in your mouth. Let's call it a party in your mouth. It put food in Zagreb to shame.
Plus, we tried their homemade sparkling wine, which was also fantastic. There is something magical about seeing the vineyards as you walk into the restaurant and tasting the wine from those vines minutes later. So quaint.
The drive through Slovenia was gorgeous, and at times reminded me of Kansas with its flat farmlands. In Slovenia and Italy, each little town had a tall church bell tower that can be seen from the highway. Every one. It seemed the cities were built around those centerpieces. Pretty neat to see dozens and dozens of those.
Tarzo, Italy in the Treviso Region
As recommended by a colleague and fellow blogger, we stayed at Ca' Piadera in the small town of Tarzo in Northeast Italy. Agriturismos, farm houses with cozy rooms and tasty food, are popular in Italy. They are very similar to bed and breakfasts.
We planned this trip last minute, and we snagged the last room! The farmhouse is nestled in the hills. Beautiful. Quiet. Amazing. This place is booked months in advance is the summer, but it was nice and quiet in October.
Who needs a doorbell when you have a dog to announce your arrival? Naturally, we enjoyed hanging out with Ribolla, the farm's dog. She barked like a maniac literally every time a car rolled in and a person walked up. But she warmed up to us quickly. Our surrogate dog since ours were away!
We ate dinner at Ca' Piadera both nights because the food was so good. There were four courses and the food was so rich and fresh. My favorite appetizer BY FAR was their homemade chicken salad - mindblowing. And the main courses were also delicious, with fresh ingredients and complex flavors.
Throughout our stay, we tried three of their wines. I haven't enjoyed that much wine in a long time. Ca' Piadera is known for its Prosecco wine, and it did not disappoint. The sparkling and regular white wine was sweet and crisp. The hubs tried a glass of their Cabernet Franc with dinner, and loved it. I do not usually care for dry red wine, but this one was smooth and easy to drink.
Even if you cannot stay at Ca' Piadera, I HIGHLY recommend you at least enjoy a meal there! And if no meal? Snag a bottle of wine.
Sidenote: a funny thing about driving in northern Italy is that you can see planted trees throughout the fields. Apparently, these tall, skinny trees were planted in rows. Although pretty, as you pass them it is kind of creepy seeing all of these random patches of trees.
Being so close, we couldn't miss seeing Venice on this trip. It was a little chilly in the morning, but by midday it was perfect walking weather.
I think it is a must to see Venice if you are nearby, although more than one day may be a little too much. The buildings are old and beautiful, the canals all over the city are insane and the little restaurants are romantic. Around every corner was a gorgeous scene. Needless to say, I was snapping shots every few seconds.
No, we did not take a ride in a gondola. Sorry to disappoint. We had too much fun just walking around with no agenda. It did seem that you would have to have a boat if you lived in Venice. The streets downtown are pedestrian only, so you either have to walk the maze or boat to your destination.
If you decide to drive in, the Trochetto garage was a good fit for us. Close enough to walk into Venice but far enough be affordable. From there, you can choose to walk in, take the train or ride a water taxi (which is what we did).
Finally, the food. Honestly, our lunch was nothing special. The hubs tried spaghetti carbonara and I had the lobster tagliatelle. Both were good, but not as mind blowing as our other meals. I would love to hear your food recommendations in case we revisit Venice!
All in all, we had a wonderful weekend. I was so ready to get home and see my pups, but I am glad we have begun exploring Europe. There is too much to see and so little time! Let me know if you have must-see places in Europe! And make sure to sign up for our newsletter to see all of our adventures.
Love to all,