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When researching how best to get from Ljubljana, Slovenia where we had flown in and spent the night to Trieste, Italy where we were to embark Oceania Vista, there were a number of options. The least expensive options were to do it on our own riding either a bus or a train. We’re both in our mid-40’s (well beyond our back-packer phase) and aren’t the lightest packers. This basically meant that we were looking to book private transportation.
I started by looking at daytrip, a company that specializes in getting you from one place to another, driven by a knowledgeable local, with the option to add on site-seeing along the way. The search is simple and starts like many travel portals.
The initial search results are typically the lowest cost option with the smallest vehicle that can accommodate the number of passengers and pieces of luggage selected. From here you can upgrade to larger vehicles if desired, and more interestingly, add in stops along the way to turn your transportation into an excursion.
On this trip there were a number of options including: Postonja Cave, Skocjan Caves, the Medievel town of Stanjel, Predjama Castle, Lipica Stud Farm, and Miramare Castle. They have recommended amounts of time to visit, but if you walk fast and don’t read every plaque you can choose to shorten, or if you like to take it all in and finish with a leisurely coffee at the end of your tour you can add time to the stop. You can also, if your schedule permits, add multiple stops.
In our case we didn’t want to leave the hotel terribly early given we’d only arrived the afternoon before and we wanted to arrive around our early boarding time so we elected one 90-minute stop at Predjama Castle to maximize the day without pushing it too much.
I booked our ride, including a stop at Predjama Castle, and paid for the trip. I was comfortable booking several months ahead as daytrip had a generous 24-hour cancellation policy.
Two days before our scheduled trip we received a confirmation from daytrip with a photo of our driver, their phone number, and license plate of the vehicle. Then 24 hours ahead we received two more notices that our vehicle had been upgraded to a larger Mercedes Sprinter Van at no charge to us and that our driver had changed. Again the driver’s name, photo, phone number, and vehicle information was provided.
The morning of, we went down to the lobby about 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled pick-up and found our friendly driver waiting in the circle in front of the Intercontinental Ljubljana. He helped us bring our substantial luggage from the lobby out to the car and loaded it and us into the comfortable and impeccably clean vehicle. He told us a bit about himself, inquired about us and our interests, and then told us a bit about the ancient history of Ljubljana, the history of modern Slovenia, and about Trieste, our final destination. He was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Time passed quickly and the mountainous scenery outside the window was beautiful. Before we knew it we turned off the excellent highway (courtesy of the EU) and onto a road that would lead us up the hill to Predjama Castle, the largest castle built inside a cave. Our driver provided some history on the castle and the families that had occupied it and let us know that we had 90 minutes to explore. He dropped us right at the entrance to the ticket office and let us know he’d meet us in the same spot.
Predjama Castle was fascinating and definitely worth the stop!
We arrived back about 5 minutes ahead of our appointed time and our driver was already waiting for us. We hopped in and off we went to Trieste. In under an hour we were at the port and our driver was helping us get our luggage into the terminal.
The experience couldn’t have been any better and we are looking forward to another daytrip adventure the next time the opportunity presents itself.
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