Thursday, October 13, 2011

Staycation road trip: Klagenfurt and Minimundus, July 2011

The final installment of summer road trips:

Statue of Liberty

Way back in July when Mr. C and me were deciding how to spend our staycation fortnight, I expressed a wish to go to Minimundus, an entertainment park located just outside Klagenfurt near the Wörthersee lake.

Borobudur, buddist temple in Indonesia and me wearing the glasses that have since broke

Minimundus houses around 150 models of famous structures from around the World. Some modern, some from ancient times that no longer exist today.
Mr. C joked it was a very economical tour of the World and a fast one too! So off we went one sunny, slightly humid day in July.

Vatican city

The park is amazing to say the least. Immaculate and full of greenery and flower arrangements. On our three hour tour we saw at least half a dozen employees working on the models, cleaning the exhibits or pruning the flower beds.
Everyone was nice and accommodating. The atmosphere was very relaxed.

Minimundus' residents

The carps in the shallow lake were very friendly and also a bit ronde. I think they get fed a lot by the tourists!

overview of a portion of the park

The staff goes to great length to reproduce the models with extreme accuracy, whenever possible the same material is used for the model as was used for the actual structure.

CN Tower, Toronto

After we've seen everything in Minimundus, we went to...three guesses? No? Okay, we went to Ikea. There isn't one in Slovenia, so this is an opportunity not to miss. We bought some stuff for our apartment as well as some things requested by friends and relatives. And  we had lunch there too.

Queen Maria Theresa

Making the most of our trip, we decided to pop into Klagenfurt as well. No maps or guide books, we winged it. Followed the road signs and managed (with only one U-turn) to land smack in the middle of the centre.

By now the weather had turned sour. All the humidity resulted in an afternoon storm, so we sought refuge in a cafe. Had some coffee and after a good 30 minutes the rain stopped so we were able to walk around for another hour.

Mr. C and the Wörthersee Mandl, a mythical creature who supposedly created the Lake Wörthersee
I think we managed to see a lot in the three hours we spent in Klagenfurt that day, but next time I'll be bringing a map and a guide book with me. That way, I'll have a better overview of the centre and at least some background on the history and architecture.
Since Klagenfurt is only an hour and a half away from us, I expect we'll be venturing out there soon.


  1. Oh wow! THAT was a staycation???? Looks like a dream vacation to me!

  2. I never realized that Slovenia is so near to every possible interesting place. Seems, that I missed my history classes ; )
    I think that it is great, that you two get moving around now, when you have the chance for it : )

  3. How clean Slovenia is just like the Netherlands.
    We seem to be 'litter bugs' here urrg.

    The architecture of Vatican city is awesome such an interesting way to spend a day.

    Thank you for the photos. Ida

  4. Mandy: From my perspective a few road trips with minimal expense doesn't really constitute proper vacation. But we are extremely fortunate to have so many beautiful metropolises just a couple of hours drive away.

    Mette: That's very true, from Ljubljana we can reach Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, Trieste, Venice and Milan. All under 5 hours away.
    We are spoiled for choices ;-)

    ida: I was perhaps a bit too vague in the description, but Klagenfurt is in Austria. And though Slovenia is very clean, as you've seen from other photos, Austrians just take it to a whole new level.

  5. Wow, you really are spoiled in terms of choices! I would love to live a convenient distance from all of the cities you listed.

    Vatican city is looking very good in the park, if it weren't for the trees I might have been fooled :). The statue of Maria Theresa made me wonder if the average Slovene has good feelings about the Hapsburg era or if the days before its full sovereignty are considered dark days.

    The earrings arrived! I put them right on and love them so much I'll wear them to choir rehearsal tonight. Thank you for your lovely note, the pretty box, and the beautiful key chain. Now I won't have to mix up Martin's and my keys anymore.

  6. Susan: There are a lot of mixed feelings regarding our political past. Modern generations are far more angry and prejudiced over the events that happened in the recent history: the dissolution of Yugoslavia and subsequent war in Croatia and Bosnia.
    Not many have the knowledge of our distant past, even fewer care about it. But Maria Theresa remains a well liked, even loved ruler. She did a lot for our region, infrastructure, education, she made grammar school mandatory for all children and most who know of her think fondly of her.
    I am again pleasantly surprised and impressed with your knowledge of our region :-)
    Also, really thrilled you liked the earrings. As for the note, I hope it wasn't too smudgy, I'm a lefty and writing on glossy card paper usually results in disaster.

  7. Your writing is fine. I think most US persons don't fully understand what happened re: the dissolution of Yugoslavia, I know I don't, but I do know it wasn't formed realistically in the first place in terms of ethnic/religious populations. The Balkans remain a mystery, I'll eventually catch up as I'm now up to about 1899 in my readings of European history leading up to WWI.

    I knew that Maria Theresa was a reformer, and am glad to hear she is well regarded.

  8. More likely my geography needs some attention!!
    Yes Austria is also very clean we have spent many happy times there.Ida

  9. Susan: you are partly right about the ethnic question of Yugoslavia, it wasn't however the only reason for the dissolution. This region remains a mystery, there is no democratic political culture, no respect, a lot of distorting of the facts going on and even the events of Slovenia's WWII tragedies have resurfaced in an attempt to gain some votes.
    The atmosphere is ripe, wounds have not yet healed and every few year some right wing extremist starts igniting old resentments, not letting the past be. I've visited most former republic and was greeted with warmth and kindness everywhere, yet according to our politicians our relations with our "southern neighbours" remain tight?!

    ida: It happens. Which parts of Austria did you visit?