Slovenia, at the end of November, was the last holiday of the year. Honestly. All that now remains is to look forward to 2015, look back on some wonderful travelling memories in 2014 and count down in days rather than months...

As I had managed to leave just enough time for a long weekend, I had hoped to visit the Adriatic coast as it had brought me many happy memories with my grandparents in the late 1970s and, more recently, I have found myself returning and very much enjoying it. Slovenia it was then and, although I am told that their part of the Adriatic coast is a mere thirty-three kilometres, it is nonetheless impressive.
Flying with WizzAir from Luton, I went up the night before and put up in the Comfort Hotel, very close to the Railway Station, my favourite, the Strathmore, having closed down, I earlier found out. Well, the room at the Comfort was fine, the staff friendly but, with windows barred and having to ring to be allowed in, I did wonder if it wasn't possibly situated in the finest part of Luton. Everything was okay but I have had more interesting evenings.

Luton Airport always seems to be busy at impossibly early hours of the morning and, although it was quieter this time, it still took time. Maybe I was lucky with the baggage allowance. I may have been a couple of kilos over but when the girl at check-in looked at my passport and said that we share the same birthday, I found myself in luck. ( With the baggage, I mean...) The flight was fine: a tad bumpy but it was pretty much on time. With so few direct flights to Ljubljana, it can mean that the onward journey by public transport might not always be completely straight forward and my journey, whilst smooth with a break of a couple of hours to again enjoy Slovenia's capital, meant that I only reached Strunjan at 6pm after arriving at 11am. No matter, it was interesting whilst it was light and the people on the bus were friendly.

I had initially booked into a hotel at Portoroz but, after being mortified to find that the early bus which I had planned to take on the return wasn't running, I decided to stay in Strunjan which was very slightly more convenient for the return bus: 4.30am... As it happened, the hotel that I stayed in, the Salinera, was fantastic. Extremely friendly staff, set in its own gardens overlooking the sea, very decent meals and a spa and it proved to be a wise choice. The room was very good with a balcony and, as it turned out, I had the best of the weather.

I was told of the dreadful floods - and had seen evidence of them near the famous caves in Postojna - in the past month and that the weather wasn't due to be especially good. As it turned out, the Saturday was very nice whilst Sunday, if overcast, was dry until literally the very minute I arrived back at the hotel whence it rained for the rest of the day.

One thing intrigued me about the hotel. The female name badges gave their status and it seemed as if Ms did not appear (unless I saw too few female staff). Was it to ward off men with ideas when they saw a Mrs and make any Miss wish that they didn't have to wear a badge? Whatever, I would like my readership to know that I behaved impeccably and decorously.
Some of Ljubljana's Old City guardians The Bernardin Group's Salinera hotel at Strunjan
Further custodians, this time of Piran
Piran's main square
Piran from the town walls
The beautiful setting of Izola
The spa was excellent with an array of saunas and infrared cabins but I was a little surprised to be asked by another guest if this was my first time in a sauna... It wasn't but it was good of her to point out that, for health reasons, it was better not to keep returning to the saunas as quickly as I was. I do know this and am aware of it but, as I had only just arrived and only had the last hour of the day to go in, I wanted to make the most of my money's worth. I'm also a highly impatient soul and lounging about on a wooden bed isn't my idea of bliss: I did so, itching to get up and move about but dutifully "rested" uneasily for between ten and fifteen minutes after which I was on the move again without, I hoped, being timed.

The restaurant was also pleasant with decent buffets. Ever since I met a chap in Croatia a couple of years ago whose family, himself included, suffered with heart trouble and who had moved on to the Mediterranean Diet with alarmingly good results, I have been quite a fan of it. So, once again, I found myself on the olive oil, fish and red wine but I can't say that I am its most disciplined disciple as the meat rather took my fancy after the fish... In moderation, though, I like to say. Everything they offered actually took my fancy.

I walked to Portoroz and Piran on the Saturday. Portoroz is more modern but, with its array of hotels set along one main road and right by the sea, was very pleasant whilst Piran, a much older town and Slovenia's example of Croatia's Rovinj, was the more enticing. Again, set on a promontory, and with magnificent sea views, it is the most idyllic place. Well, other than being chased twice by a beggar. One euro will buy entrance to the old town walls high above the town and it is excellent value for the views and photographic opportunities. The sun came out and this Italian-style town looked fantastic.

I had rather hoped to visit Trieste but, being a Sunday, there was only one bus in each direction and I didn't fancy being up at 6am so decided instead to visit Koper. I had anticipated it being just a port but there was more to it than that and the town was pleasant. I also hoped against hope that I would find a better and later of way of getting to Ljubljana the following day but it wasn't possible as the trains had been suspended so the 4.30am bus it had to be.

I continued on to Izola which was beautiful. Okay, on a better day, it would have been even better but it is another lovely town on the coast, surrounded by yachts and smaller shipping vessels, a quaint town and lovely walks along the shore line. I even managed to walk back along the shore: it wasn't remotely precarious other than having to walk along a main road without verges for a short distance but the main difficulty was the lack of signs. For once, I guessed correctly and walked along the higher point of the coast which led back to Strunjan. The rains returned immediately whilst I rested my weary legs and blistered feet in the spa.

Surprisingly, the day I hadn't looked forward to wasn't quite as grim as I had imagined. Up at 3.40am, the Salinera had very kindly prepared some breakfast for me and I was on my way at 4.10am. The 4.32am bus did turn up and the rain bucketed down all the way after I got on the bus. I got to the Strunjan bus stop in the dry so was again lucky and there were quite a few people on the bus at that ungodly hour and arrival into Ljubljana was at the same time as I had been getting up the previous two days. A short wait there and I was on the way to the airport where, inevitably, the one part of my luggage seized at security was the hotel's yoghurt. I was admonished, explained that I was going to eat it before getting on the aircraft but to no avail.

The WizzAir flight back to Luton was fine especially as I had a row of emergency exit seats to myself. With a small bottle of red wine, I toasted an excellent year's travelling and plenty to look forward to in 2015 starting with Canada, ending with Peru and, sandwiched in between, Greece, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Most are booked too and I can't wait.