Grammy Rodgerson retired this spring, allowing her to come on her first solo trip to visit us in Europe! She is go-with-the-flow and had zero travel requests, instead saying, “I’ll go wherever!” So we decided to take her to the Soča Valley in Slovenia, the Lake Bled/Bohinj region, and a few gems in our home country of Hungary! We were so happy to be exploring together. We were lucky to have her here just after school got out and during the 10 year anniversary of the SAC program. During that time she got to see daddy fly in the air show, we visited Pannonhalma (and ate at the Viator), went to Sarvar to the water park AND got down to Szigliget to see the castle ruins, eat the gelato and dine at our favorite restaurant, Villa Kabala! We were lucky to have her here to witness Didi’s first hot air balloon flight, too – what an adventure!
10th Anniversary SAC Program Air Show
Sarvar Fürdo (water park)
Pannonhalma Archabbey (as noted in previous blog Pannonhalma)
Gelato at Szigliget Castle ruins, then an early dinner at Villa Kabala in Szigliget, Hungary before heading to Keszthely to watch mommy and Didi launch in a hot air balloon!
We made sure to go to our favorite coffee shop, Helo Velo, as much as possible when Grammy was here. We even stopped in to stock up on snacks before heading out on our road trip to Slovenia! Our first stop was a little apartment in Bohinjska Češnjica just outside of Lake Bohinj. Our goal was to swim in those emerald green glacial waters! Of course it was July, so it was busier than when we usually go, but that also meant the waters were warm and all of us were able to get in and swim, snorkel and paddleboard!
After a nice long day at Bohinj we woke up the next morning and headed up to Vogar. First we walked a little bit of the trail to Mostnica Gorge but realized it would be an entire day affair, so instead we opted to hike to the two Vogar viewpoints. We met the sweetest man and his family who live right near the heart-bench lookout point and he insisted we share a shot of homemade moonshine with him. After that we drove through the mountains on one of the passes towards Bovec and the Soča Valley. We couldn’t wait to show Grammy the rivers. They’re an unbelievable color! We were also excited to be there in warmer weather so we could take a dip. When we travel we like to shop at grocery stores for dinners (dining out only on occasion) and stop into bakeries in the morning to grab breakfast and snacks for lunches. Its been a great way to save time and money on our travels and the food is delicious!
The next day we went up to this totally amazing (and again freezing cold) waterfall Slap Virje. The kids were very brave and jumped in!
From there we went to find a spot along the river to hang out for the day and dare each other to take dips! First we drove up near Kamp Soča to see the “Grand Canyon of Soca” but there was a camera crew there filming some kind of promotional video and we weren’t allowed to get near it. Our next best bet was a back down route 206 where we found a spot to park along the road and hike the trail down to the river. It turned out perfect. There were lots of rocks to climb and plenty of spots – we were the only ones there!
The next day we went to a different swimming hole – this time close to the Italian border in Robič. We had been there before with Nannie and Pappi but it was too cold to swim. We wanted to go check it out in the summer – and boy are we glad we did! It turned out to be so great. Not crowded, either! People had made little dams out of rocks and it made for amazing swimming holes with warm Natisone river water. What a fun day!
From there we went into Italy on a wild goose chase to find focaccia (fail) and gelato (score!) and made it back to avoid the little summer storm. Beautiful sunsets surrounded us in Srpenica. The next day we explored the town of Bovec and had lunch at a yummy brewery in town. We also took a walk down to the river again to see where the tours put in the water. Finally, we went up to Kostnica s Cerkvijo Sv. Antona to see the church and memorial there. It’s somber but has a terrific view over Kobarid.
In Slovenia, the journey is just as beautiful as the destination. It was spectacular views through Slovenia on our way through Austria and all the way back to Budapest!
We had one solid evening in Budapest together after driving all day long, and we wanted to make the most of it as it was Grammy’s first time there! We checked into our apartment and headed straight for Rosa Gelato near St. Stephen’s Cathedral, then walked along the park to Parliament and along the river to the Shoes on the Danube memorial before catching a taxi to the Buda side to the Castle District. We walked around the Fisherman’s Bastion at sunset (gorgeous!) and Willow even got to hold a golden eagle! She was in heaven! We didn’t get nearly enough photos with Grammy but she assured us she had a terrific time. She certainly kept up with the jet-setting Rodgersons! What a super special, exclusive visit for us all. Thanks for everything Grammy, and come again soon (with Grampy)!!