Tag Archives: vacation

Slovenian beach

Best Slovenian Beach for Children: Izola, Strunjan or Portorož?

Slovenian beach – why go there at all when there’s Italy, Croatia, Spain and many other luxurious and cheap places? Why for me, Slovenia is a beautiful country with outstanding nature. The way to the beach (if going by bus or car) is an aesthetic experience on its own. Its people are civilized and friendly, its prices are cheap, hotels and guest-houses are cozy. (Although most don’t have mosquito nets on windows, which is annoying). No matter where you choose to stop for a night or for a coffee break, you will lay hands on a good restaurant.

Slovenian beach – what to expect?

Pebbles

Beaches in Slovenia can leave different memories and impressions on your soles if you are not wearing beach shoes depending on what you fall. But one thing can be promised – there will be no or little sand, so if you are a sand-castle builder – Slovenia beach is definitely not for you. But if you are a pebble-castle builder, then it is certainly a good place. Here is a list of amazing things to do with pebbles. If you are trampoline jumper and a diver, if you like water slides and good ice-cream – it’s another reason to go to Slovenian beach.

People

One thing that has surprised me (for good) were the people I came across during the vacation. Most of my beach neighbors were reasonably good-looking, polite and mannered. No rude shouting, no crazy beach games around, no insane surfing and so on – all quiet. I see it as a plus but some of you might see it as a minus – to each his own.

Generally speaking Slovenia cannot boast being the first choice beach resort for families during summer vacation. However, it has this clean, wave-less sea water, sports attractions and nice people around.

Izola, Strunjan or Portoroz – brief comparison

Here is a purely subjective comparison of three beaches, kids-wise: Izola, Strujan and Portoroz. Points of comparison are: shallow water accessibility (for small children), cleanliness, availability of jumping/playing facilities (for older children who can swim well and are bored from just splashing around).

 IzolaStrunjanPortorož
Pebble/SandSmall Pebbles - beach shoes requiredBig Pebbles/Stones - beach shoes are still required but stones are nicer for touchSand
Facilities for childrentwo spiral water slides, trampoline (outside of sea), small sand court for ball games. Excellent water trampoline (low prices), and small playground for very young children.Water trampoline, which looks decent from far away. My kids haven't tried it, so cannot recommend. Besides the trampoline haven't noticed any visible entertainment facilities.
Cafes nearbyTwo nice cafes with snacks, salads etc., reasonable prices. The ice-cream sold on the beach was not approved by my experienced ice-cream users. Two cafes, haven't tried food in any of them, the ice-cream, however, is memorably good. The place is swarmed with cafes and restaurants nearby, haven't tried any though, so cannot recommend. There is a supermarket nearby where you can buy snacks/water/almost anything else.
Shadow/Sun umbrellasAlmost no shadow. Sun umbrellas and long chairs exist for FREE use. Lots of shadow and trees. No sun umbrellas, but none are required anyway.Little shadow, lots of sun. Sun umbrellas exist but it's unknown whether they are for a fee or free.
Easy access to shallow water (for children)Nice, shallow water easily accessible from the beach. Becoming deeper and deeper the more you advance. Plenty of shallow water. Ideally for small kids. Access to water is through stairs, which is a bit annoying. Lots of shallow water but no sun umbrellas in the area of shallow water. So either brings yours, or sit quite far from the shallow water (not suitable for parents who want to watch their kids and being in the shadow at the same time).
Cleanliness of water Quite dirty water, seaweeds, mixture of sand, shells and pebbles. Cannot see the floor. Very clean water. Can see the large stones at the bottom. Quite tolerable clean water, not perfect but cleaner than in Izola beach.

As shown in the table above, different beaches have different properties and advantages. If you travel with very small kids or babies, you obviously don’t need a sea trampoline. However, if your family is a mixture of swimmers, ice-cream lovers, breast-feeding individuals and breast-milking individuals, pizza and wi-fi carvers – then you will need a versatile  choice of options. My choice falls on Strunjan and here is why:

First, it has a lot of shadow – for those who are not planning to bake themselves watching for kids.

Second, it has two tolerable cafes – which is not tremendously much but quite enough for an average family.

Third, it has excellent sea trampoline, which can attract a teenager for about 2 hours and leave you, mom, totally for yourself or yourself and babies. Empirically proven, trampolines are good for mental health since teenage kids don’t get bored and don’t make their parents go bananas.

Fourth, it has easy access to very shallow water with no waves. There are no sand, true, but the stones are slippery, big and not scratchy (still, would recommend beach shoes). The shallow water is ideal for young kids or kids who don’t know how to swim, or moms who don’t know how to swim with babies on their arms.

To me, there four components form the ideal beach for a diverse family with different interests, ages, tastes and expectations.

Slovenian beach
Trampoline on Izola Beach (outside of water)
Slovenian beach
Portoroz beach
Strunjan sea trampoline (with diving options for good swimmers)

Slovenian beach

thinking monkey

Moms, chocolate and solitude

summer bunny

A couple of days ago I met a friend of mine, whom I haven’t seen all summer. She has three kids, and though her general appeal is very attractive, the way I remember her is: balancing between being enormously tired and trying to look content. There are no other ways multitasking moms can look.

But this time when I met her for a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day, I noticed an alien light shining through her eyes, the skin looked fresh (makeup?) and there was an overwhelming look of victory in every gesture, movement and glimpse.

This is what a three-day child-free vacation can do to a mother. The short but rewarding tour was a present from her husband, who decided once in a long time to be generous and bring his wife 10 years back in time.

Not sure how long the effect will last, but one thing I am sure about: we all, mothers, need some time alone with ourselves where its only me and strong WI-fi connection.

What are the ultimate benefits of not seeing your child for a few days? I’ll name the obvious ones –and you are welcome to add the rest in comments.

1. You get some good night’s sleep.

sleeping dog

Even if your kids are big, they can still be night trouble-makers. Some kids like to share their parents’ bed (I see absolutely no problem with that, let’s argue about it in the next post). Some kids drink all your juices before falling asleep (a couple of fairy tales ple-e-e-ase, a midnight stand-up show they expect from you, then there is “mom-bring-me-some-water”, “mom-I-am-scared”, etc., etc.). So. When you are isolated, you can finally sleep in whichever position you want and at the time you want (after taking long, undisturbed shower).

2. Kds start appreciating their mom.

We tend to take for granted what we have. It’s terribly unfair, but often moms, who do not spend the entire time of their life with kids, are remembered as better moms. A short break from the routine is a good reminder that things do not last forever, that things can be different. Kids feel it very well, and don’t worry about hurting their feelings: it will take a lot more than 2-3 days to ruin anything (of course I’m not talking about kids under the age of 2-3 or super-sensitive/hyper-whatever kids).

3.  The “wow” effect on your husband/partner who starts appreciating you too.

All the “invisible” housework a woman carries on everyday without complaining: the magic of clean shirts, pairs of almost same socks, cooked food, visible floor (without supervision it gets covered extremely fast by pieces of Lego, clothes, paper, and small, sharp objects that cut into your bare feet in the middle of the night). So once your partner stays with the kids he will be, well, the one to do the laundry (we are not talking about romantic vacation, remember? It’s you and your laptop).

4. You view your own life from a different angle.

You have a rare chance to meditate, to NOT do things, to NOT worry – all your daily small and big house duties, concerns, thoughts and movements are frozen until the day you are back. For a couple of days you are back to your very old self, when you were a high school student, a teenage girl and could spend hours however you like. We, mothers, tend to completely neglect this part.

These are the obvious reasons I see for taking a short break, but there are surely more.

Now the practical guide: –how to make things happen.

There is no fairy who will turn a pumpkin into a carriage and bring servants to look after your kids. The good news is, that it is much easier to organize than it might seem.

First, decide where approximately you want to stay and for how long. Remember the main purpose: isolation, meditation and rest. If there are other things in your mind, like sightseeing, tours and restaurants, than the potential destinations will be different. So first, focus on your purpose: do you want to spend 2-3 days in blessed solitude with no crowded folks around, no buses, luggage and similar tourists\ attributes? Then look for a non-expensive quiet location and good, home-style hotel.

A hotel or an apartment? How to choose.

I personally would prefer a hotel with good breakfast included. I always read people’s reviews on breakfasts and I recommend you to do the same unless all you want to have is a piece of white bread with suspiciously-looking apricot jam (happened to me in a 4-star hotel). But it’s up to you: some people prefer having their coffee in a nearby cafe so hotel breakfasts are not a big thing for them. No matter what you choose, there is an important thing to bear in mind, from my own experience: while it’s obvious (to me, at least) that you don’t want to spend a fortune on this trip, don’t choose the cheapest hotel, just for the sake of it. Better pick a 3 star family run hotel with good reviews rather than 4 star hotel with worse feedback. The interior of the place you are staying in is one of the most important things: you should have this cozy homely feeling while staying there. So spend some time on research, read the reviews, look at the pictures, don’t give it up only because it’s a bit pricey. After all, it’s not like you’re taking this vacation every week.

Should I plan my time or just let it flow?

It’s a tough question, because planning contradicts the initial purpose of pure meditation and diving into yourself. On the other hand, being completely alone with yourself without knowing where to throw your body for the next 7 hours can be hard for some people. Especially moms who are used to continuous and often useless action. What I would advise it to check, just in case, what attractions and nice places exist around the place you are staying in. Parks? Museums? Open-air concerts? Even isolated villages can have nice sites but you must check for them in advance to avoid being stuck in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nowhere to go.

Who stays with the kids?

Organizing a proper care for the kids is no less important than your hotel, attractions and meditation. The best way for a mom to relax is to know that kids are in good hands. Ideally, if you do it during the weekend so your partner can take maybe one extra day off to cover your entire absence. Nannies, babysitters, grandparents, goblins– are a good additional help. Additional – is the keyword here.No matter how many helpers come and go there must be one captain on the ship, who will supervise and take control of all the action: the babysitting hours, the kids’ eating/sleeping/bathing schedule (not necessarily in this order). This is probably the time to take a risk and fully rely on your partner.

 

A few words for conclusion:

Before setting on this kind of vacation keep in mind, that there is no goal. Don’t set high expectations to avoid disappointment. Don’t think you’ll return enlightened, super-young or as a totally different person full of secret knowledge. This may happen and this may not. It depends on many factors, some of which you cannot predict. So my advice is – do your best in terms of choosing a place, preparing your kids and husband for your absence and – au revoir.