In a region that is smaller than Wales, there are rivers, mountains, gorges, ancient woods, vineyards, a (small) Mediterranean shoreline, caves, castles, and alpine churches. This is Slovenia, a sometimes forgotten nation that was a part of Yugoslavia until 1991 and is today a vibrant EU democracy, nestled prettily between Croatia (to the south and east), Austria (to the north), and Germany (to the west). As soon as you get off the airport in the country's capital, Ljubljana, in the summer, you can immediately see how it contrasts with the cheek by jowl fleshpots of southern Europe. This 300,000-person city is compact, pedestrianized, and full of Baroque buildings. More on that later. Late in the spring, I'm taking my folks on vacation and paying back a lifetime of favors. We're traveling through this nation's wilderness, where everything appears to have been thrown together like flowers for a bouquet. But first, we leave the city and travel for 40 minutes south-east to Hisa Ida, a family-run hotel with seven rooms in Ivancna Gorica. When my parents and I ask how to turn the heating down, the response we receive is "Open the window," which is a lesson in Slovenian directness. At one breakfast, we stood up to leave after the arrival of meats, cheese, eggs, fruit, toast, jam, and pancakes, only to see another course emerge through the kitchen door. We are served generous portions in the mornings and evenings. This prepares us well for a day of fly fishing on the moss-covered River Krka with Green Adventure. We are surrounded by steep hills, red-roofed storybook homes, broad green pastures, and churches with ringing bells. The abundance and accessibility of outdoor activities is what draws many people to our nation. Almost all year long, activities like hiking, kayaking, cycling (or e-biking), skiing, and fishing are available. The summer season is popular, with temperatures averaging in the mid-20s, and it is less expensive here than in most places in Europe – around This prepares us well for a day of fly fishing on the moss-covered River Krka with Green Adventure. We are surrounded by steep hills, red-roofed storybook homes, broad green pastures, and churches with ringing bells. The abundance and accessibility of outdoor activities is what draws many people to our nation. Almost all year long, activities like hiking, kayaking, cycling (or e-biking), skiing, and fishing are available. Average summertime temperatures are in the mid-20s, and the cost of living is lower here than it is in most other parts of Europe (around €2 for a pint is a decent indicator). The following day, after driving for approximately an hour past the nation's capital, we fly with Flycom Aviation for a half-hour chopper ride because many of Slovenia's alpine treasures are concentrated in the nation's northwest region. Circular aerial excursions are widespread and can cost as little as €50 per person, although it's more likely to cost approximately €150. The Soca Valley, Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, the Valley of the Seven Lakes, and the Julian Alps are all visible. Farms and smallholdings surround Triglav, the highest peak (9,396 feet). Our pilot tells us with pride about ascending the mountain with his daughter, who is eight, last summer. When my mother praises the country's beauty, he responds, "Yes, but it does get tiresome after 12 or 14 flights a day." We spend the rest of the day fishing on the Sava Bohinjka river in Bohinj, which puts us among this country's many calling cards, including pine forest, steep, snow-covered peaks, clear, turquoise, icy water, and a guide, Matjaz, who spends the afternoon picking up trash from the riverbank, after another hour-long drive further to the north-west. The majority of Slovenians appear to shrug off the kinds of environmental commitments made by celebrities like Emma Watson and Leonardo DiCaprio in public. The environment is significant in this context, with a dedication to sustainability manifested in a dislike of oversaturation, devotion to locally grown food, and the appeal of electric vehicles.At the nearby Sunrose 7, a small boutique hotel with remote-controlled Velux windows and a gleaming coffee maker at reception, another side of the nation is unveiled that evening. Here, juxtaposition is prevalent throughout. Light, ultra-modern tasting menus compete in restaurants with substantial stews, sausages, and sauerkraut. You can travel from a busy urban center all the way up into the mountains in ten minutes.The following morning, an e-bike trip takes us to Lake Bohinj, the largest lake in the nation at just over two miles long, which is located in a lush valley. It is even more appropriate for the myth that God created Bohinj Valley for Himself and cleared it of people on this rainy day because it is devoid of the picnickers and swimmers who often throng here in the summer. However, a few individuals remained, and this is how the Slovenians ended up settling in this area. We experience rain at Tolmin Gorge, the Triglav National Park's lowest point at 590 feet above sea level, where our guide appears to emerge from the woods like Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia. He guides us over sheer cliffs that tower over crystal-clear water while pointing us black and yellow salamanders that are emerging from bushes thanks to the recent rain.