I got that opportunity this week when most of our family and I flew to Ljubljana, the capital and home of Zemanta. In addition to attending my first board meeting at the company's offices, we spent a day seeing the sights and scenes of Ljubljana and a day and a half on the Adriatic coast in the towns of Portoroz and Piran.
Slovenia is a small european country that sits between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. It was part of the old Yugoslavia (its most northern part) and was the first country to secede (mostly peacefully).
It reminds me most of Italy but also a bit of Austria. The food we ate tended to lean Italian and it was all very good. The wines also reminded me of northern Italy and they were terrific. An added benefit is everything costs a lot less in Slovenia. And like most of europe these days, english is spoken well most everywhere.
The population is small, about 2mm in total, of which about 300k live in and around Ljubljana. But it is a well educated, commerce minded, and democratic country that has modernized significantly in the past decade. The roads from Ljubljana to the coast are among the best I've been on anywhere.
We did not visit the alpine part of Slovenia but you can see some very high peaks from Ljubljana and we flew over the alps there and back. There's serious skiing, hiking, and other mountain sport to be had in Slovenia.
My favorite part of the trip, other than a morning with the entire Zemanta team, was the Adriatic coastline. It is stunning and I am told if you drive south into Croatia, its even more beautiful.
We'll have to return for a longer stay and visit the mountains and the croatian coastline and other spots. It's on the ever expanding list of places we have to get back to.
If you have not ventured to that part of the world, I'd strongly consider it. You can have a lovely time with less crowds at half the price of the traditional hot spots of europe.
And there's some hot startups to invest in too!