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A Visit to Slovenia The Invisible Country

It is a remarkable fact of life, how this little country nestled at the eastern edge of the Alps can be a household word all across Europe, but virtually unknown within the United States.

Visitors from all across the continent have been coming here for years, to sample its famous crème cake and visit the church in the middle of the lake. The Church of the Assumption, as it is called, looks a lot like a fairy tale castle, especially with the densely forested mountains in the background. The small body of water is called Lake Bled and it sparkles like a jewel in the crisp mountain air. Slovenia is the name of this small nation that is wedged between Austria and Italy at the upper end of the Adriatic Sea.

Over the course of modern history, the prosperous land has seen more than its fair share of foreign occupiers. First the Romans came and left behind a whole bunch of buildings and baths. Then the Turks marched through with their barbarous legions. Next came the more benevolent reign of Hapsburgs from Vienna, while at other times the prosperous city-state of Venice has made its presence known. Strangely enough Napolean made it this far east, which proved a welcome relief from the German influence of Vienna. The Third Reich ruled for a while and then after the war Slovenia became a part of Yugoslavia, which was a part of the Soviet orbit.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the resurgence of Eastern European self-determination, Slovenia unilaterally declared its own independence. Croatia responded with an air attack on the capitol of Ljubljana and soon the Balkan region was at war. This event became known as the Ten Day War, a small episode within the larger Serbia-Bosnia Conflict. When the smoke cleared, Slovenia was still independent and leaning more heavily toward the Americans and British than ever before. The rise of the Euro and the fall of the dollar have now pushed the small Slavic nation back towards Italy and the European Union. These recent events underscore how the Slovenians have always kept a strong since of independence and national unity throughout their dramatic course of history.

Meanwhile tourism is growing again and so is the vivant economy, as the old nation enters a new era with the Euro. Altogether it is one of the most unique and affordable countries in Europe, a winning combination no matter how you look at it. Come enjoy the café life in Ljubljana a city filled with many of these outdoor ventures. Sit at one of the numerous restaurants that line the banks of the Ljubljanica River and watch the day or evening slowly pass by along with the lazy river current.

On the shores of the sparkling Adriatic visitors will find some wonderful old-world architecture, a shining sea and a few nice beaches. This is a winning combination no matter how you look at it. And don't forget that just a few hours travel to the north, lie the towering Julian Alps that help form the roof of Europe. From here all the way to France and Switzerland in the west, lay one of the great mountain systems of the world. They are a vast networks of high snow-capped peaks and receding glaciers that are melting faster than an ice cream sundae on a hot August afternoon. Take your time while visiting this charming land, for it is a small country with a much varied landscape. Distances are small and the flow of life moves a little slower here.