Our Journeys

Slovenia and Northern Italy with Chef Cathy Whims - Summer 2019
June 3-15, 2019

$5,250

Slovenia and Northern Italy with Chef Cathy Whims – Summer 2019

On this amazing journeys, you will have the unique opportunity of traveling through Slovenia and Northern Italy with Chef Cathy Whims, owner of Nostrana. Cathy is excited to host again a small group of travelers and CJ’s founder Alessandra, to share her knowledge, and discover with you some amazing, hidden spots of Europe. Cathy’s love for coffee, local simple food, elegant restaurants, and some incredible wine will add to your experience for sure! Along the way, you will also enjoy pristine landscapes, charming villages, grand cities, thermal spas and UNESCO protected sites.


MAP




ITINERARY


*Please click on each day to view daily itinerary.

DAY 0 - Sunday, June 2nd

Fly from the USA to Ljubljana, Slovenia

Your connection flight from Portland will likely be through Frankfurt. Please ask us if you would like help with your air reservation.

DAY 1 - Monday, June 3rd: Ljubljana

Upon your arrival at Ljubljana airport, you'll be picked up and transferred to your centrally located hotel. After check-in, the group will meet for a welcome talk and dinner. Sleep in Ljubljana

DAY 2 - Tuesday, June 4th: Ljubljana

This morning you will enjoy a walking tour around the city and discover why Ljubljana was named the European Green Capital of 2016. The city was the obvious choice for the capital when Slovenia achieved independence in 1991. Ljubljana has always been a bridge between the German, Latin and Slavic cultures due to its geographic location. This cultural diversity is visible in the complex architecture along the river canals of the city center. You will have time to enjoy the colorful city’s central market, and will dine at a very refined, awesome restaurant a few miles outside the city. Sleep in Ljubljana

DAY 3 - Wednesday, June 5th: Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj

Today, you'll visit Lake Bled, an amazing jewel of nature nestled at the feet of the Julian Alps. Slovenia’s only island, Bled is located in the middle of an alpine lake with mountains on all sides. This spectacular location inspired Slavic populations to venerate Ziva, the goddess of love and fertility. Later, Christians built a church here that is still visited by pilgrims. The village of Bled is one of the most beloved locations in Slovenia. You will enjoy a great boat excursion on the lake and then will walk to the city castle from which you will enjoy some of the most amazing views you have ever seen. You will then enjoy a lunch of fresh trout and other local specialties, followed by a traditional local liquor. You will then reach Lake Bohinj, and visit the waterfalls nearby. Time permitting, you will also enjoy a stroll along the shoreline promenade, home for hundreds of wild flowers. Sleep in Ljubljana

DAY 4 - Thursday, June 6th: Predjama Castle, truffles and Škocjan Caves

Today you will learn about the Karst area with a visit to the impressive Škocjan Caves, the most significant underground phenomena in the Karst region of Slovenia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For ages, people have been attracted to the gorge where the Reka River disappears mysteriously under a rocky wall. Archaeological research has shown that people lived in the caves and the surrounding area in prehistoric times. You will then indulge in a great truffle meal nearby. In the afternoon you will visit Predjama Castle. Perched high on a cliff, it officially dates back to the 16th century but there are traces that go back much further to when it is said to be the living quarters of the robber knight Erazem.” Sleep in Trieste

DAY 5 - Friday, June 7th: Trieste

You will spend the full day in Trieste. You will first visit ILLY Coffee and learn about the production of Illy’s great coffee, followed by a coffee tasting class. You will then have lunch in a traditional pork buffet restaurant, and explore the city center. You will then venture to the scenic Miramare castle just outside Trieste. This was the home of Maximilian of Habsburg before he was appointed Emperor of Mexico. This area, for a long time Venetian, became the Austro-Hungarian harbor and the Hapsburg empire's only opening to the sea. Sleep in Trieste

DAY 6 - Saturday, June 8th: Scenic hike, farmhouse visit and local wine production

This morning you will enjoy a short hike with views above the gulf of Trieste, a breathtaking intake of Mediterranean coastal scenery. You will then reach a very fun local wine producer (Zidarich or Kante) for a wine tasting. A late lunch will follow, at a family owned farmhouse nearby. The owners produce all that is served on the table, including jams, herbs, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cured meats, etc. Energy and time permitting, we will then drive to either Koper or Piran in Slovenia and enjoy some free time walking around these fun seaside villages. Sleep in Trieste

DAY 7 - Sunday, June 9th: Livio Felluga wine production and San Daniele ham

This morning you will leave Slovenia and head back to Italy, where you will visit Livio Felluga’s world class wine production- pending confirmation. You will then enjoy an amazing lunch of local specialties. You will then reach San Daniele for a visit of a local ham producer and see the traditional production process that make this prosciutto so unique and tasty. Sleep in Spilimbergo or Udine

DAY 8 - Monday, June 10th: Bassano del Grappae

You will first visit the city of Bassano del Grappa, well known for its famous liquor. You will visit this lovely town’s famous Alpini bridge and charming local museum before heading to a tour of a local grappa produce where you will the opportunity to taste this distinctive liquor. You will then drive to the thermal spa town of Abano Terme, your home for the next three nights, where you will have time to relax at your resort’s spa. . Sleep in Abano Terme

DAY 9 - Tuesday, June 11th: Padua

Today, you will visit Padua, a major art center of the Veneto region and once a mighty rival of nearby Venice. Your day will include a visit to the Cappella degli Scrovegni, one of the greatest masterpieces of Giotto and a tour of Padua’s city center where you will see its famous university that gives this city such a great vibrancy. You will then indulge with a lunch at il Calandrino, the little brother of famous Le Calandre, in Sarmeola di Rubano. Sleep in Abano Terme

DAY 10 - Wednesday, June 12th: Riverboat cruise on the Brenta river

This morning you will climb aboard the riverboat “Burchiello” for an unforgettable cruise on the historic Brenta River, which connects Venice to Padua. You will explore the enchanting lands of the Doges and admire more than fifty luxurious villas – the summer residences of former Venetian nobility. You will have a picnic lunch on board the boat - or as soon as disembarked from this 5-hour cruise. Sleep in Abano Terme

DAY 11 - Thursday, June 13th: Wine tasting of Amarone wine, Lake Garda and Sirmione

This morning you will enjoy a scenic drive to Italy’s spectacular lake region where you will visit Sirmione, one of the most historic villages on the shores of Lake Garda. The town, inhabited since ancient times, owes its fame to its spectacular thermal spas. You will take in the lake with a boat tour, and will have time to walk on the lake shores or enjoy this little town before heading to a delightful lunch and wine tasting in the Valpolicella countryside. There, you will learn about Amarone and Ripasso wines, and taste some of the best at a great local producer. Sleep in Verona

DAY 12 - Friday, June 14th: Verona

Today you will visit the beautiful city of Verona, renowned all over the world for its opera Arena and the love story of Romeo and Juliet. You will enjoy Juliet’s balcony and explore the city center, meandering through Erbe Square’s central market and Verona’s elegant and intriguing small alleys. You will later savor a dinner of local specialties at one of Cathy's favorite restaurants. Sleep in Verona

DAY 13 - Saturday, June 15th: End of trip or extension to Venice

You will fly out of Verona airport for your trip back home. Verona airport has direct connections with the following cities: London, Munich, Frankfurt, Madrid, Amsterdam, Rome If you wish to extend your trip, we will offer a two-nights/three-days post tour in Venice.

DAY 1 EXTENSION - Saturday, June 15th: Venice Extension

You will be transferred today by driver to start your two-night extensions in Venice. Sleep in Venice

DAY 2 EXTENSION - Sunday, June 16th: Venice Extension

Today you will enjoy an off-the-beaten path walking tour of the magical city of Venice. In the evening you will enjoy a classical music concert. Sleep in Venice

DAY 3 EXTENSION - Monday, June 17th: End of Extension trip

You will to be transferred to the Venice airport for your trip back home.



INFORMATION


Trip Details:
3 nights in Ljubljana
3 nights in Trieste
1 night in Spilimbergo or Udine
3 nights in Abano Terme
2 nights in Verona
Total: 12 nights, 13 days

Price:
$ 5,250 per person in double room
$ 850 single supplement

Venice Extension Price: $795 per person in double room

What is included in the trip

  • Accommodation in carefully selected, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and one main meal per day, including wine
  • Tastings and visits as per itinerary
  • Entrance fee to gardens and attractions as per itinerary
  • On-trip transportation in a deluxe air-conditioned private bus
  • Boat rides as per itinerary
  • Arrival and departure airport transfer
  • The services of a professional tour leader and professional guides alongside the presence of Cathy Whims for the duration of the tour

What is not included

  • International airfare to and from Italy
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Travel insurance (please ask us for a quote or more info)
  • Venice Extension

    • Transfer from Verona to Venice on last day of main tour
    • 2 nights accommodation, in centrally located Venice hotel
    • 1 city tour with local expert guide
    • 1 ticket to a classical music concert

    • About Your Host


      A born-again Italian, Chef Cathy is a six-time James Beard Award finalist and one of the two Oregon chefs to be a part of the White House Diplomatic Corps of Chefs. Invited by the James Beard Foundation and the US State Department, Cathy represented the United States at the World Expo 2015 in Milan. In the course of her professional career, Cathy has studied with Marcella and Victor Hazan at their home in Venice, and Madeleine Kamman at the School for American Chefs. Co-owner of award-winning restaurant “Nostrana”, Cathy has cooked with Giancinto Albarello in Genoa and in his own kitchen at the Antica Torre Trattoria in Barbaresco, and with Marco Forneris at Osteria La Libera in Alba, both renowned restaurants of the Langhe. Her passion and never-ending curiosity for Italy takes Cathy there many times every year. She is excited to share some of her personal connections with local chefs and producers with you, and to return to some of the places close to her heart.

      MORE INFO

Please check here for the latest Covid-19 travel updates

Dear Friends & Travelers,

The safety and well-being of our clients is our top priority.

We have been closely monitoring the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and relying on recommendations from the US State Department, CDC, World Health Organization, and other relevant authorities at home and abroad. Based on the latest developments, we have made the difficult decision, in coordination with our trip hosts and partners, to reschedule all departures starting on or before December 31, 2020.

We want to assure you that we are making every effort to do the right thing for our clients, partners, and local vendors in this time of uncertainty, and we look forward to sharing our passion for experiencing the world with you by offering the following options:

1. Join your group’s alternate date
We are offering each of our affected groups a future alternate date and will gladly transfer your reservation to this date.
2. Reschedule your trip on a different Customized Journeys departure
If the alternate date for your program does not work for you, we are happy to work with you to find a different date, private trip, or future program that will suit your needs and interests.
3. Receive a Future Travel Credit (FTC)
If your preference is to wait to make a decision, we will put your reservation on hold and apply your funds toward a future Customized Journeys travel program of your choosing. This FTC is valid for 2 years from your original departure date.

We share your disappointment and appreciate your understanding during this challenging time. As the situation continues to evolve, we have learned that what makes sense today may be different tomorrow. Our planning could be further adjusted, and we will update you as we continue to work through developments. In the meantime, we’d like you to know that we are reviewing every aspect of how we run our trips with the intent of safeguarding the health and well-being of our clients.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need additional information to help with your decision process.

Thank you for your commitment and understanding.

The Customized Journeys team