This morning Eitan went to rent the car at the bus station and drove back to the hostel to pick up Sarah. We drove a couple hours to the town of Ptuj. One of the oldest towns in Slovenia, Ptuj equals Ljubljana in terms of historical importance, but the compact medieval core, with its castle, museums, monasteries and churches, can easily be seen in a day.
Immediately after we arrived we found a local diner to eat some lunch. We shared this chicken breast which came out with a green layer of I don’t know what and a salad and soup special buffet. No one spoke English there and it was extremely cheap, it felt like a true local experience. It was not bad, enough to keep us going for the day.
We had absolutely no idea what is there to do here, our original plan was to go to the wineries around the area, but we read too late that you need to be part of a tour to visit them. We stopped at the tourist information office for advice; the only interesting thing to do here would be the castle.
We walked to the castle. It is situated on a hill alongside the river Drava overlooking the town.
The castle was built in the mid-12th century, when it was constructed to defend against the Hungarians. When the castle was built, the town of Ptuj was part of the Archdiocese of Salzburg.
The view from the top was beautiful with all the red roof houses and the river on the horizon.
We walked down the hill along the narrow alleyways without any direction.
After the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, Ptuj was occupied by Nazi Germany. From 1941 to 1944 the town’s Slovenian population was dispossessed and deported. Their homes were taken over by German speakers from South Tyrol and Gottschee County, who had themselves been evicted according to an agreement between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. These German immigrants, along with the native German Pettauer, were expelled to Austria in 1945; many later settled in North America.
We literally finished visiting Ptuj in a couple of hours so we ended up visiting one of the wineries taste rooms in town. The owner was super nice and gave us the tastings for free, everything we wanted to drink… freeeee! Eitan was driving so he had to limit himself, but Sarah enjoyed all the amazing white wine that is famous in this region. The owner is friends with Robert Mondavi, who owns a pretty big winery in California, so he was really excited to have some Californias visiting over there (There are not many Americans visiting Slovenia).
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Slovenian people love wine; In fact, there is a vineyard or winery for every 70 people. But I prefer beer most of the time and I couldn’t leave Slovenia without trying their most famous beer: Lasko a very refreshing lager.