White Wine

Friday, October 14, 2016
Maribor, Slovenia
On Thursday morning, I checked out of Villa Zrina in Zagreb and walked to the bus station to catch the bus to Maribor, Slovenia. I chose this region because of its excellent white wines, its lack of tourists (compared to Ljubliana/Lake Bled) and for its quaintness. I really wanted a place where I could chill and relax. The drive was really pretty on the bus, and once I arrived, I had to wait for Gregor from the B and B to pick me up. The city is just under 100,000, so it's a lot smaller than the previous places I have visited on this trip. 

The bus and train station looked a little run down, but everyone was very friendly . I had to buy a train ticket to get to Graz (Austria) for Sunday, so then I can get to Salzburg via bus. Purchasing the ticket was easy enough, and both the train ticket attendants and the woman at the cafe at the bus station said they don't see many U.S. tourists here. The woman said "fewer than 10 in 2 years." Ha! I don't think many Americans think of Slovenia as a tourist destination, and if they do, they stay in the west. 

Gregor picked me up and took me to the "tourist farm," which is a good 4 miles out of town. I don't have a car, so I will either have to walk or take a taxi to and from the town center. I am ok with the taxi, as doing that a few times is cheaper than renting a car for a few days, and I don't want to be sampling wine and driving anyway. 

The area by his B and B is beautiful, and I need to snap some photos when I have more time. He took me back to the city center, where I walked around, had lunch (some Slovenian kielbasa) and took a tour at the Wine Cellar, built in 1862. This place is incredible. I couldn't believe the size of some of the wooden barrels and concrete barrels, that of course are no longer in use. This winery used to produce 18 million liters of wine per year! Now they produce about 1.5 million a year, according to Rok, our tour guide. But he said the wine is now of better quality. Some of these barrels held thousands of liters of wine, and some of their wines are 50-60 years ago. It really was a special place, and afterwards, we could sample some wine. 

After this, I bought some roasted chestnuts at an outdoor stand (which I thought were kind of gross) but apparently they are well known here and a delicacy. Hey, to each her own! My phone had died and I needed a place to charge it, so I headed to a restaurant the tourist office recommended and had tomato gnocchi, which was fabulous. I took a cab back to the B and B, and Gregor told me I should not pay for than 8 euro, but I paid 10. What do you do? It's not like I was going to trek back to my room for 4 miles carrying a bottle of wine in the dark.  

I'm really not sure what I will do today. The Old Wine Festival is going on, so I will see if there are any activities, or maybe go to Pahorje Mountain and get some views. Like I said, I wanted to relax, and I'll get that ! 

Thanks for reading,