While biking and walking around Slovenia, writer Tracey Croke caught onto something: Slovenians seem to just “get” sustainable living. Turns out, gentle living and travel habits are part of a long-standing culture in this central European country.
It’s late afternoon in Slovenia’s leafy capital of Ljubljana. At a riverside café, I’m smirking at my branded glass of LOO-BLAH-NAH Gold Ale. The brewery’s use of SHOUTY CAPS is a cheeky nod to the common struggle visitors have in pronouncing the city of silent ‘J’s. Clearly, I’m not the first to miserably fail.
The word tickles me so much that I want to adopt it to write across those little green messages increasingly left in hotel bathrooms: “Save the planet: reuse towels.” Loo-blah-nah! Research shows that 90 percent of us want to travel better and half will pay more for more sustainable options. However, attracting the conscientious traveler coin is becoming a big greenwashing business. Cue the sustainable (cough; cost-saving) choice to opt out of room service, and let the expensive plastic bottles of water sit in the minibar.
Meanwhile, I can just chill out with my beer. The central European country of limestone peaks, vast forests, majestic cave systems and turquoise glacial lakes has been doing the environmental heavy lifting for travelers since 2015, with the enactment of the Slovenia Green program. Ljubljana is just one of 59 destinations (along with 143 accommodations, 61 restaurants (and a bunch of activities) that have been put through the wringer for us to prove that they are less impactful on the planet than other options.
But what does that really mean?