As children most of us were enthusiastic about technology and means of transportation at some point. For some it was space ships, for others fast cars and aeroplanes. And finally for some this enthusiasm was towards trains.
Growing up with an older brother I went through quite a few of these phases. And since our father worked for a railway company trains were a big part of our childhood. I remember numerous winter nights we spent together building railways and playing with trains all over our living room.
Childhood fantasies and fascinations make a good foundation for theme of an incentive. People like to remember those nice memories they have and if possible make them true again. Even if just for one day. One of these incentives is Museum Train Ride and few days back I was a part of it.
It was cold October Saturday – type of day you would just like to stay in bed. Nevertheless a plan was made and so we went. We started the journey in Bled, an alpine pearl. Morning view of Bled alone was worth getting on the road. At the railway station we met with Franz Ferdinand and his lady! It was a sign this will not be regular train ride.
Steam beauty arrived to the train station and we were ready to go. It was really amazing feeling embarking on wooden coaches! And these are not a replica but real restored wooden coaches! With characters of the era the 2,5h drive passed by incredibly fast. This is also due to the fact you are driving on most picturesque Transalpine railway too.
Before I get lost in the memories of this experience let me just mention some of the highlights: Soča River, Solkan Bridge, Goriška Brda region, wine tasting…
Museum train ride has all the features of a perfect incentive in any period of year. Some whisperers say you can even meet Santa on this train in winter!
Without a doubt Eurobasket 2013 (EB) was one of the most important events Slovenia ever hosted. It was the biggest sport event with clear traits of a big MICE event. You don’t agree? It’s not hard to find several similarities with it in every event you organized. We all know it can be a challenge sometimes to organize accommodation, transfer and select the right catering partner. With a big event like this you also need volunteers, hospitality department, IT department, promotion and branding department, ticketing department and more. Everything must be synchronized. I believe we can all learn something from how it was executed.
Let’s go back to year 2009. In September of that year nothing really special was happening in the country. In the beginning of the month there was a friendly football match against England. I still remember that match. It demonstrated a lot of nation values. Against all odds we were fighting until the very end and lost 2-1 after controversial decision of the main judge. It was very unfortunate, but we demonstrated we can fight against bigger nations. Later that month rumor spread, Slovenia was considering a bid for men Eurobasket 2013. In such a sport aware country it was easy to feel excitement, even if it was only a rumor.
Nothing was confirmed or denied until May next year. That’s when FIBA made it official. They confirmed Slovenia decided for a candidacy along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy. You could feel a wave of hope and positivism in the air. Even if only few believed Slovenia had any chance in winning against bigger countries, we would fight, like before. Only this time there was a lot of different factors to consider.
If I name some of the most important they considered: size of the country, infrastructure and maybe the most important, Slovenia is a basketball nation. Some might object this last claim, but it is a team sport in which we always exceeded the most (in the last decade we always managed to qualify for quarter finals. Beside that we have a star point guard in NBA and players in best European clubs) and because of that it was easier to imagine the arenas will be full. Local organizing committee confirmed that important matches would be played in Ljubljana and first round matches in smaller cities like Jesenice, Celje, Koper, … Since there is at most hour and a half of transfer from capital to any of the cities, fans wouldn’t have problems attending games no matter where they were accommodated. Another important factor was infrastructure. In any of above mentioned cities you could find adequate arena and good hotels with restaurants nearby. Public passenger traffic and enough parking place were also important.
Time passed from May until October and left only Italy and Slovenia in play. Others already folded because they wouldn’t want to meet the requirements. And when Italy folded in October 2010 because of inadequate facilities road was clear. Slovenia was confirmed as a host of Euro basket 2013 on December 5th 2010.
Everything after that now seems like a distant history, but the truth is that it probably was a rocky ride full of hard work and dedication of organizers, government and basketball spirit. I am sure there was a lack of trust in their abilities at times and they felt that they will not make it. But they did it and prepared for us a true basketball spectacle. Have you had a chance to be a part of it? In every case, keep following our blog for some additional insights.
As a DMC I often think of the boundaries of destination. Are these natural, political, economical, business, language or any other type of delimitation? As the region which spreads from the Alps to the Adriatic includes several countries and lands the area is extremely dynamic with cultural heritage and landscapes. Slovenia as a centrally positioned country combines most of the diversity of Alpine, Pannonian, Karst and Mediterranean environment. Thinking broader MICE in Slovenia can not only be limited to its borders, but can also use close extensions which can be found in Venice, Vienna, Budapest or Eastern Adriatic coast. Naturally the point of view can be inverse and Ljubljana, Bled or Piran as destinations can be used as MICE added value in all Alps-Adria countries.
The region itself offers great attractions with support of complete infrastructure suitable for corporate MICE groups and associations. For example having a congress in Portorož, Slovenia for 1000 delegates provides a good opportunity to visit Queen of the Adriatic – Venice, cozy capital Ljubljana, Alpine Pearls Bled and Bohinj, land of gourmet experiences Istria and many more jewels you never thought were there. Openness of borders is another factor that is having the impact on tourist flow especially later when Croatia enters the Schengen Area.
With these words I would like to encourage DMCs and MICE experts to use the advantages and opportunities of the region for creating interconnected programs which are giving the participants better experience at their events.
Magic of Christmas is upon-us. Smell of snow, taste of cinnamon, mulled wine and hot chocolate. And most important of all – this is time for family and friends. But you don’t have to spend your Christmas at home to feel and taste all that. You can simply visit Ljubljana and its Christmas Market!
Ljubljana is a diverse small capital that has a lot to offer all year round. But visiting Ljubljana in December is always something special. Hearty people meeting their friends on vibrant streets of Ljubljana, trembling bright Christmas lights and Christmas Market – all that is December in Ljubljana. The picture could not be more perfect – imagine thousands lights all around Ljubljana city center and its main square – Prešeren square and a biiiiiiig Christmas tree tying it all together.
From the square it all continues down the river banks. To the left and to the right you will find The Christmas Market. You’ll see small wooden market stalls where you can find authentic art crafts, all kind of gifts, hand crafted candles, toys, even local handmade warm slippers and winter caps and much more. If you just want to treat yourself there are different kinds of sweets available. You can see it, feel it or taste it all!
Tasty food, good warm drinks and shopping spree are not the only things you can experience. Ljubljana will held various events intended for people of all ages and different tastes such as Music concerts, Street theatre performances and Ice skating at the Kongresni Square Ice ring. You can even book a special guided tour with Father Christmas. It will all end with spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations held in various city centre squares.
You should definitely experience true winter wonderland and its Christmas spirit in Ljubljana. There is nothing left to say but see you next year right?!
Until we meet again wish you happy holidays, blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!
Last evening – only positive vibrations in the air
Please take a step back and think what is the basic element of every trip? What lasts longer than sweets that you buy in local candy shop? How do you perceive the moments of time spent at destination?
It happened on the sunniest weekend in October somewhere in the west Slovenia. Our second FAM trip this year. Shocked by the fresh air, the positive atmosphere was ignited by smiles of our Russian guests. Mission Alpine gems started the very next day by the Bohinj Lake embraced with high peaks of Julian Alps. A common phenomenon – temperature inversion kicked us to the heights among the layers of warm air saturated with accordion music and accompanied by blueberry brandy. Typically Slovenian. Breath taking panorama of Bled lake, reminiscent carriage ride, castle coffee, vintage cars scenery drive and wine tasting. Enough.
The sun followed the weather forecast for Sunday. Reception at Mayor’s office can evolve to a coffee time at the bank of Ljubljanica river. Only in Ljubljana. A moment later cruising with 30 knots in the Adriatic Sea and medieval stopover in town of Piran for the search of local products. Slowing down with massage and sunset dinner over the bay of Piran.
In the name of Love, how do we feel the trip three weeks later? Experience it!