Katja HIKING, ITALY | SICILY Leave a Comment

Ever heard of the gorgeous Orrido dello Slizza gorge in Italy? Most probably not, but that’s okay, you can read more about it in this post. We’ve also just discovered it last summer and are big fans ever since. Ziljica in Slovenian, Slizza in Italian or Gailitz in German is an alpine river that originates under the Sella Nevea pass in the Julian Alps. There, it is initially called Rio del Lago, later it also flows through the Lago di Predil lake, it is joined by numerous streams in Tarvisio, and ends a little after the Austrian town of Arnoldstein, when it flows into the larger Gail river. On one section near Tarvisio, which is only a 20-minute drive from Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, you can visit this place by hiking a circular 2 kilometres long path that takes you to the heart of this unique gorge along the crystal clear turquoise Ziljica. If you have been to Bled, Slovenia, and visited the Vintgar gorge over there, this place is fairly similar, but much less visited. It is a wonderful half-day trip from Kranjska Gora or anywhere else in Slovenia. In this post you can check out more photos and information about this beautiful easy hike.

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HAUSER KAIBLING, Austria | 1 week skiing at 4 Berge Skischaukel Schladming


According to some statistics, January is the most depressing month of the year for many. Well, definitely not for us. Family visits and the festive atmosphere drags on into the first week of January every year, then it’s my birthday, (also my mother-in-law’s just a day before mine), we usually get some snowfall and landscapes get their charming winter look, we are full of new energy while starting a fresh calendar year and the month basically flies by very quick. We usually manage to go skiing in January. Especially the last two seasons, we treated ourselves to a whole week of skiing abroad for a couple of times. This year we chose excellent ski resorts in the Schladming area in Austria, and together with our friends from Germany booked a house for 10 people with a pool and sauna in the Bergresort Hauser Kaibling by Alps resorts. Lu enjoyed ski school during together with the older two children, while our youngest two had fun on the special children’s areas and playgrounds at the foot of the ski slope. More about the ski resort and accommodation below.

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CYPRUS | 1 week of family holidays in the NW part of the island


Best destinations for an autumn break in Europe? Cyprus is rightfully on the list, and last October we finally visited it for the first time. Since Lu always has 2 weeks of school holidays at that time, we booked really cheap plane tickets from Zagreb to Paphos, but instead of intensive exploration of the island and daily movements to new locations, we chose a one-week vacation in a private villa with a pool near the beach for a change. Despite the fact that we primarily wanted just to enjoy the sun, the sea, good food and rest, we also ended up renting a car for the whole time of our stay. Having a car enabled us independent transportation to and from the airport as well as day trips to different parts of the island’s western part. For our next visit to this diverse Mediterranean island, we still have a lot of interesting places in the east of the Greek part of Cyprus, as well as the entire Turkish part left to explore. Read more about the places we’ve seen during our let’s call it a relaxing active-passive vacation.

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BRITTANY, France | road trip with a LR Defender camper and a baby


Last year’s road trip through France started in the north of Germany, from where we crossed Netherlands and the Belgian-French border in just one day. After a long day of driving we arrived to Normandy and spent the next days discovering its beautiful coastline, slowly moving west. At Mont-Saint-Michel, we crossed the virtual border into Brittany, which was actually our main destination. Dramatic cliffs, luxurious villas, medieval fishing villages, dreamy beaches and islands, interesting architecture, cider, galettes, and much more. And those magical shades of blue and green! We were definitely not disappointed. On the contrary, we were quite impressed! We drove almost the entire coast from east to west and further south before continuing all the way to the Ile de Re island near La Rochelle. In this super comprehensive post you can read about the most beautiful and interesting places in Brittany, including those that we have saved for our next visit. Read More


NORMANDY, France | short Defender road trip on the way to Brittany


We chose France for our first real family road trip with Mila, who was 3 months old at the time. Afterall she is half French and it seemed like a good idea. Our final goal was to reach Ile de Re island, where we ended up staying a month while visiting Charlie´s family and friends, but instead of just rushing on highways we decided to take it slow this time. So we took our time while driving along the northern coastline of the country exploring places I´ve never been to before. The route led us from northern Germany through the Netherlands and Belgium to the French coast, where we spent the first night near the city of Calais, before continuing westward in the following days. We actually focused more on Brittany, wehere we also spent more time, but Normandy pleasantly surprised us with its dramatic cliffs and sandy bays, charming villages, picturesque fishing towns, rich agricultural estates, historically important places, interesting culinary delicacies and much more. To save some time we had to leave out some of the attractions I marked on the map while planning this trip, especially those located further inland, but I will shortly mention those in this post as well, for everyone with a bit more time heading this way.

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ALBANIA | wild camping road trip with a LR Defender camper and a baby


Often after returning home from trips, people ask which place we liked the most. And usually I never don’t have the answer to that question. But this time it´s different, because this time we can both give a clear answer, Albania. There were many moments when we felt like at home. Also, I have been wanting to go to Albania for such a long time now, but there was always something that we couldn´t go. Therefore it was even sweeter now, when we finally took the time to do a 3-week long road trip through the Balkan countries out of which we spent the longest in Albania. We could have easily stayed longer and not get bored too and we have many reasons to go back some day. It was another great destination for our LR Defender camper, especially since wild camping is allowed and there are many possibilities for off the beaten track explorations. From the hills to the sea, sleepy villages and modern cities, great roads and super off road options, mountain passes with dizzying views, mysterious bunkers, beaches with a Caribbean touch, turquoise rivers and lakes, friendly locals, animals and more and more. There is a little bit of everything in Albania. In this post, I write about our journey, from north to south and back to the north, including lots of photos for those who either don´t have the time to read or prefer the visual posts. Here we go!

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BALKAN ROAD TRIP | from Slovenia to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, N. Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina with our LR Defender camper


We finally made it! After cancelling it back in 2019 due to health issues, postponing it in 2020 due to the pandemics and postponing it again due to pregnancy and baby in 2021, we finally did it in 2022. An epic Balkan road trip with our Defender that is. It was well deserved I believe, and we really had a wonderful time. Although a little bit different than originally planned, since we had Mila on board, but travelling around these countries with an 11 month old baby turned out to be a great idea actually. I´ve lived in Slovenia for the first 27 years of my life so it might sounds strange, but I have never ever been to most of the countries we visited this time, even though they are really close to my home country, geographically speaking. But isn´t it often like this that we are mostly attracted to faraway places and not the ones closer to home? Anyhow, the time was just right now and we´ve enjoyed driving through so many different landscapes, were swimming in the Mediterranean sea, walked on snow in the mountains, sweated a little bit during a couple of easy hikes, ate a whole lot of amazing local food, met some of the friendliest people and so much more. And yes, we were also a little bit appalled about the amount of trash in some places, but we were prepared for it and it wasn´t a big shock for us. The possibilities for a road trip route in the Balkans are of course endless, in this post I am presenting you how we did it. I think it turned out just awesome and we would actually do it again the same way. At the end of this post I also added logistical advice and some statistics regarding prices, mileage, accommodation and more. More posts about what to see and do in individual countries are coming up later on the blog.

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VAL THORENS, France | skiing winter holidays in the French Alps


The best ski place in Europe? For me, definitely in France. Surely there are many other awesome spots in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and elsewhere, but the French Val Thorens and Tignes are right at the top of my list. I have visited both French Alp resorts several times and I can say that I know them quite well. However, with each visit I still discover something new as it keeps developing and expanding. After about a decade (due to living in Germany, the pandemics and my second pregnancy), I finally got the chance to return to Europe´s highest ski resort in March 2022. Val Thorens lies on 2300m above sea level and it was absolutely amazing to wake up surrounded by all those mighty mountain peaks covered in snow once again. Even though Mila was only 9 months old at the time and I obviously couldn´t ski as much as in pre-baby times, I made the best out of this week and had 5 wonderful half-day ski days. The content of this post is based on this year´s and all of my previous visits to Val Thorens, read it to find out more about the village itself, accommodation possibilities, ski slopes in the largest ski system in the world, 3 Vallees, which also includes Meribel, Courchevel and other areas.

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WILDKOGEL ARENA, Austria | 1 week skiing holidays in one of the best Austrian family ski resorts


At the end of January this year the stars finally coincided and we were able to enjoy a proper week long ski holiday after a two years long break due to the pandemic and later on pregnancy. Going away for skiing was something I used to do every season since I can remember but after I moved to Germany in 2010 this became logistically difficult so I only had a couple of ski days here and there in the last decade. Therefore this getaway to Austrian Wildkogel ski are felt even better. Unfortunately Lu could not join us, as German schools are too strict for days off outside of official holidays and the state he lives in actually doesn´t even have winter holidays except the holiday days around Christmas. So it was Charlie, me and Mila then. And our friends from abroad. Two more families, so there were a total of six of us adults and five children, ages 8 months to 8 years. While staying in a beautiful chalet we had a little bit of everything regarding weather conditions – from wonderful sunny days to a real snow storm. Read more about our chalet and the excellent family ski resort in the Austrian Wildkogel Arena in the continuation of this article.

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SOUTHERN SWEDEN | autumn wild camping trip with a LR Defender camper


This year´s October trip took us to the south of Sweden. Why did we chose to go there in October? Because Lu has two weeks of autumn vacation at his German school at the time. And why Sweden? Because we found a cheap ferry ticket from Rostock, Germany, and because wild camping is allowed there. Just right for our Defender, which we converted into a camper alittle over two years ago. We didn’t have an exact itinerary, but in the end I think we managed to experience the best of the southern part of the country, camp at a couple of really great spots, admire countless lakes, red wooden houses hidden among fragrant pine forests, chill at beautiful archipelagos and check out a few modern cities. All this and more completely without tourists, we were alone almost everywhere. Sure, it was a bit colder and windier, but we enjoyed the beautiful nature in complete peace and quiet. Spontaneously, we chose to drive up the west coast from Trelleborg, to the last major town before the Norwegian border, crossed via Jönkoping to the east coast, to Kalmar, and slowly descended back to Trelleborg. A great circle route with something for everyone´s taste. Read more about what you can see and experience in this part of Sweden, and a little more about our wild camping in this new blog post. With extra lots of photos for those who lack time to read it all.

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