Having been in the travel industry for decades, Travel Diversity owner Barry Gorringe never tires of hopping on a plane and discovering somewhere he’s never been before.
In May this year Barry and wife Caz did just that when they ventured for the first time to Slovenia and Croatia via Paris (the romantic devils). The appeal with Slovenia was it wasn’t your typical tourist destination – far from it, in fact – but it was nonetheless beautiful and seeped in history.
Slovenia is definitely a driving destination, Barry said. “The backroads are just funny and you do need a GPS, but the beauty of the place is you can arrive in small towns and find castles, museums or art galleries and you’re the only ones there. Depending on the time of year, you might only find a handful of people about – no large tour groups, so you can explore at your leisure.”
Barry and Caz toured Croatia on a sloop, with 20 cabins and about 40 people, which wasn’t exactly fancy, but it was fun once you got used to the routine of life on board ship.
“It’s a great way to see the place because you stop at all these small islands,” Barry said. The cruise was great fun. For Caz and myself, it was just the icing on the cake, really. We found music every night and us oldies were always the last in bed.”
The musical styles varied from classical guitar, to duos, to solo artists singing popular music – but 10 nights was too short, he said. The taste of what we got was really wonderful, but to fully appreciate the place, you would need at least three weeks there, if not longer.”
One unexpected adventure in Slovenia came after Barry and Caz were returning from a night out in town, when unseasonal snowfall combined with a narrow, winding road proved a recipe for near-disaster. “The GPS kept telling us to turn back, but it was a narrow road up through the mountains and there was nowhere safe to turn around,” Barry said. “We ended up being rescued by the police – not arrested, thank goodness. They made a bit of a joke about it and it all turned out well.”
The fact it’s so unspoiled and relatively off the beaten track made it a very appealing holiday for Barry and Caz. “It’s a beautiful country and well worth it if you’re looking for somewhere that’s not the traditional tourist destination,” he said.
“Slovenia itself has about two million people and is roughly the same size as Tasmania. The only busy part about it is the beach area, and the season doesn’t really start until June.” Barry and Caz travelled to Bled, which they said was simply “stunning”. “The countryside just blows you away and all the history which I didn’t even know about, makes it a very interesting place to visit,” Barry said.
“It was one of my best holidays.”