The Republic of Slovenia was the first to close their borders and declare independence from Yugoslavia. After 10 days of fighting, Slovenia became its own country in 1991. Now you know.  Nearly the size of the U.S. state New Jersey, Slovenia’s riviera is the smallest of the former Yugoslav states at just 46,6 km. Now you know that, as well.

No, not Venice, but Koper, Slovenia, once the capital of Venetian Istria. Our stroll around its medieval center was delightfully void of tourist gaggles; and the many unique stores along the narrow lanes offered agreeable shopping for we gals. It being Saturday the Farmer’s Market in an adjacent square along the harbor was abuzz, and before we knew it a couple of hours had passed.

Time to move along toward Piran. The roads connecting the towns are mostly two-lane, and rather pleasant to drive along.

Piran more than made up for the tourists that were lacking in Koper, and we all declared shoulder season to be the best time to enjoy this adorable city.

We sat for an outdoor lunch (seafood, but of course) and then a stroll along the corniche, with a little time to channel our inner mermaids.

This photo is from the Slovenia tourism site, to set the scene for our afternoon. We could see Piran from our resort; and treasured every warm and breezy step to the tip of the peninsula and back to the square.

Piran is noted additionally for its sea salt harvesting, dating to around 800 A.D.  Only a small portion of the flats remain, and the salt harvesting still follows traditional methods. As it turns out, we were in Piran on the weekend of its Salt Making Festival, celebrating the beginning of the harvest. The main square was alive with entertainment and vendors offering all manner of salt products, several of which came home with us.

A mother and daughter in traditional salt harvest dress.

Leaving Piran we had intended to walk around the salt pans, but there was confusion over whether dogs were permitted (the website read, “yea,” but the park staff said, “nay.”)  Compromise stepped in, and we were allowed a very short wander for a couple of snaps.

A seafood dinner feast at a Croatian tavern near our resort capped this low-key, last-minute, and entirely lovely getaway; and all too soon it was back across the brooding Austrian alps and toward home.