A long time ago in a galaxy far away, we booked a trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia. We knew we wanted to spend some time there and to see some of the surrounding countries. We got our flights and seats and all that fun stuff booked and paid. Months later, Delta threw us a curve ball. We live in Saint George, Utah, so when we book international trips, we have to decide if we’re going to fly out of Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. The rest of our friends on this trip were flying out of Salt Lake, because they live near there. We opted to fly out of Las Vegas because it was a little cheaper and shorter for us (once you add in the drive to and from either LV or SLC). But there we were, about 6 months after making our choice and Delta cancelled our flight and booked us on new flights that cut a full day from our trip. There was no way that would work, since the rest of the crew wasn’t going to be missing anything and we would have a hard time catching up with them. So we had to make some hard choices and wound up starting our day 3 hours earlier, adding an extra stop in Detroit, and being pretty upset at Delta… But at least we could still arrive in Paris with the rest of the group and then journey on to Ljubljana together. Delta wound up changing little things like plane sizes and schedules, but they didn’t amount to enough for us to have to do anything.
Travel day started early for us. The rest of our crew flew from SLC at 2:30 pm, but we had to leave home very early to get to Las Vegas, hand-off my father-in-law to his son who was flying in from Portland, and catch our much earlier flight than we had originally booked. We got to Vegas before rush hour really started and picked up Dave for the hand-off. We all went to a keto bakery for some breakfast before dropping ourselves off back at the airport again.
At the airport, as Charmaine gave a hug goodbye to her dad, he got really anxious and asked if he really had to go with Dave (who he didn’t really seem to recognize at first). Charmaine told him yes, he really did have to go with Dave. He wasn’t super happy with the answer, but he went along with it because there wasn’t any other choice. Dave took Richard and our car and started their own adventure in Vegas as we headed inside Terminal 1 to fly to Detroit.
Overheating in Vegas
I really dislike being too hot on flights and almost all flights seem to be too hot for me. Leaving from Las Vegas, even in the morning, can really heat up the jetway and the plane as they sit helplessly motionless during loading and unloading. Today was no exception. We heard the gate attendant announce a pause during loading so nobody would have to spend time in the jetway now that it was “too hot for people”. I don’t think the jetway was all that bad, but the plane was super hot. And it only got hotter. And hotter. We wound up sitting there in the blistering Las Vegas sun for 40 minutes after our scheduled departure time. I had purposely picked our seats for the left half of the plane so we would be on the north side of the plane while flying – to keep our side out of the sun and hopefully a little cooler. But our plane was parked in such a way that the left half of the plane was taking the full brunt of that sunny death ray.
We booked seats A (window) and C (aisle) hoping that the middle seat between us would remain empty and we’d get a whole small row to ourselves. That almost never works, but when it does, it’s great. As usual, it didn’t work. A fairly large gentleman from just outside Toronto was set to sit between us today, but he was more than happy to accept the aisle seat in exchange for the middle seat he had booked. For me it meant I could sit next to Charmaine, but it also meant I had someone bigger than me (both taller and wider) pressing up against me. And that last part was just about the worst thing that could happen to me while sitting there, baking in our oven of a plane. I wound up extremely sweaty by the time we finally got off the ground. And the air conditioning never really caught up to cool us down. It was a hot and muggy trip all the way to Detroit.
Food Search at DTW
In Detroit we decided to have some lunch at Chic-Fil-A. I am in love with their Spicy Southwest Chicken Salad with their amazing Avocado Lime Ranch dressing. So we walked the full length of Terminal A in Detroit from gate A10 all the way down to A71 where Chic-Fil-A lives. Bad news, they don’t have their full menu at the airport and the part they cut out is salads. It makes sense. I don’t blame them, but it means I won’t waste my time trying again. Instead we went to a really great steakhouse we passed on our way there. I got a 7-pepper steak salad and Charmaine got a sirloin steak. They were both excellent and really hit the spot.
We hopped on our flight to Paris and they served up another dinner! That was completely unexpected, but it was Air France, so we didn’t really know what to expect. In general, Air France seems much nicer than Delta. This flight was a red-eye. Our flight was about 30-40 minutes late due to headwinds preventing our aircraft from arriving on time from Paris. I guess it just goes back and forth every day. So we wound up leaving Detroit around 10pm local time. It was only 8pm in Saint George at that point, but I was already pretty tired. Sadly, I didn’t sleep much – if at all – on the flight. I always have a hard time sleeping on airplanes and even though this one was pretty comfortable, I couldn’t find a position where I could sleep very long. It probably didn’t help that the woman directly in front of me was coughing almost non-stop for the duration of the flight. It didn’t sound like the type of cough you get when you’re really sick, but it was still enough to make me anxious and help keep me awake.
We arrived late in Paris, of course, and our already short layover seemed really short and we had to run to get through security and catch a bus to a different terminal to catch our final flight to Ljubljana. We just made it when they announced our flight was delayed by about 25 minutes. No big deal. We decided to hit the Air France lounge, which was really nice. They had way too many good pastries and cheeses. I could have been very comfortable sleeping and eating in there all day. But luckily our flight was only 25 minutes delayed and we left at 1:05. Curiously, my Fly with Delta app was showing that I had been bumped to the next flight, which didn’t leave until 9:10 pm. I’m very glad that didn’t happen.
The final flight was operated by Hop! which at first seemed like it might be a discount airline a la Sprit. Nobody in our group was sitting by anyone else from our group and they wouldn’t let anyone change their seat assignments. But the plane was comfortable and I actually managed to sleep about an hour of the short “hop” to Ljubljana.
Coming down over Slovenia was like a fairy tale. All the mountains were extremely picturesque and all the little villages looked like paintings. It reminded me a lot of Austria, and that makes sense since they share a border. Everything was so green and perfect, it almost didn’t seem real. We landed, retrieved our checked luggage, picked up our rental van, and headed off.
Our only mission in Ljubljana today was to drop off some missionary care packages to some sister missionaries who met us at a nearby chapel. It only took about 15 minutes to get there from the airport, so we had a few minutes to scout the place out before they arrived. It was sort of an interesting building for a Mormon church. It looked very similar to other European meetinghouses you may have seen, but this one had a ramp going down under the building with a big parking garage below the church. I thought that was pretty cool.
After that we parked over by the castle and walked around town. The first place we stopped was Gelateria Romantika, which we had seen reviewed several times on YouTube. Everyone was saying how amazing it was, so how could we pass it up? Well, the waffles were nothing like the waffles you find in Belgium, which was a huge disappointment, but the gelato was really amazing. We especially loved the Sicilian Almond Cream. I would go back just for some more of that.
We took the funicular railway (fancy tram) up to the castle and did a self-guided tour up there. It was pretty, but not all that spectacular. We have seen a lot of castles now, so it takes something really special to knock our socks off, and this one didn’t do it. The view from the top of the tower was pretty and the dual winding staircases up the tower were also fun and cool. After the castle, we wandered down through the restaurants along the river to find something to eat. The river was high. Much higher and muddier than we expected. They have been getting a lot of rain lately, which explains it, but it also made us wonder about the two adventures we have scheduled for the next tow days… it should be interesting to see how it all plays out. We saw a bunch of bridges along the river, including the famous Dragon Bridge. I thought the dragons were supposed to be a lot bigger, but it was still pretty cool.
We stopped at a local pizza place and had some pretty good and interesting pizzas before making the short trip up the mountains to the town of Bled.
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I like that underground parking too. Cool how they put a glass ceiling over it. Guess they don’t want to have to chlorinate their basement swimming pool!