December 15, 2008

Slovenia, an ideal place to visit.

This past week we have accumulated an incredible amount of snow here, to the point that the hockey game on Thursday was postponed. I felt that with all this snow, I should head to the ski slopes. So on Sunday I made the drive to Slovenia to check out the skiing areas there. I went to the resort area of Kranjska Gora, which is about 45 minutes from where I am living in Italy. This resort area is complete with spas, a decent sized ski area, 5 star hotels, and numerous cafes and bars. I spent the afternoon skiing the powder filled slopes and finished with a wonderful Slovenian dinner. I have decided after my three visits to Slovenia, that I absolutely love it! I recommend this country to anyone and everyone. You can't beat the national parks, the coastline, the crystal clear blue rivers, or the mountainous areas. Not to mention this country is completely suitable for Celiacs. The Slovenian people are some of the friendliest people I have met in Europe.

For dinner we went to a restaurant that was recommended by some of the other guys here on the team. I admit I was slightly nervous upon entering this restaurant and seeing on everyone's plate fried food, gravies, dumplings, and other inedible items for me. At this point I thought to myself that I would be enjoying a simple salad and maybe some potatoes if I was lucky! However, to my surprise the menu was great! I skimmed through looking for items that were suitable and found more than I could imagine. I always pick a couple items I believe to be gluten free and then will hand the server my celiac card (which unfortunately was not in Slovenian, but everyone in Slovenia speaks English, German, and Italian almost fluently), she took it and looked it over, consulted another fellow server, asked me a couple questions, and within 3 minutes I was set with a dinner of seafood risotto followed by trout served with boiled potatoes and spinach. The meal ended up being absolutely wonderful and was by far one of the best meals I have had so far this year in Europe. My seafood risotto was filled with fresh mussels, calamari, and even crab. My trout was baked to perfection in a salt filled pan, which is a very common way to cook fish in this area. The meat literally fell of the bones. The spinach was sautéed in garlic and salt and paired beautifully with the boiled potatoes. I must have said about ten times what a wonderful meal it was. And from now on I have no fear of eating in Slovenia!

I have begun to realize that food and meal times in Europe are very important. I have never gone hungry since I have been here. I have found that as long as you make yourself clear and have a nice little celiac card to take along with you, every restaurant will want to please you. I was very nervous the first couple times I ate out, but have begun to enjoy the adventure of going out to eat in different countries. Unlike Americans, who are often times uneducated with Celiac Disease and may think you are simply a picky eater; Europeans thrive on pleasing those that have restricted diets. Therefore, my advice to Celiacs is don't limit yourself, travel and experience what other cultures have to offer, because you may find their ways simply irresistible to your taste buds.


Anonymous said...

Being from Slovenia (a native Ljubljanese :) I am very glad you had a good time - all the more so because you were able to find the right food for your needs. (In my experience the local food is often too "heavy" for many travelers.)

I hope you come back. ;)

And merry traveling!

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