Ljubljana

12/07/2011 at 6:55 pm Leave a comment

We arrived in Ljubljana mid afternoon, and thanks to some excellent planning it was only a 10 minute walk from the main station to the M14 Alibi Hostel.

Ljubljana is a very small for a capital city with a population of just 270,000, making it only slightly larger than Reading, but much nicer (and less stabby).

Our first stop of the day was Ljubljanski grad which is yet another of Europe’s fine castles. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia the hill on which it is build was first fortified by the Romans in the year “fucking ages ago BC”. The castle in its current form dates to the 15th Century and was used by the Habsburgs to defend against invasion from the Ottomans. Travelling around Europe pretty much all the major castles I have seen have been built by the Habsburgs to defend against the Ottoman Empire.

Ljubljana Castle, complete with 15th Century restaurant.

The Castle has everything that the Habsburgs would have needed, including a gift shop, a fancy restaurant and some trendy modern art. You also get a great view over the city from which you can see the Ottoman horde approaching from the east. Unfortunately they Habsburgs didn’t think to put in any disabled access and subsequently getting up to (and down from) the castle is a bit of a steep climb. On the way down it would be particularly easy to slip and fall into a ravine.

Following a trip to the Castle we wondered through the Old Town and made our way to Tivoli Park which is the largest park in Ljubljana. Here we watched a mischievous Crow empty one of the bins onto the floor in search of food. Clever lad.

Another sight worth seeing is the Dragon Bridge so called because of the four dragons which sit on it’s corners. Built between 1900 and 1901 it is a simple yet fine piece of design.

In the evening we ate at a traditional Bosnian restaurant called Harambasa, as you do when in Slovenia. I can’t remember the name of the main meal but it was some kind of sausage served up with onions and cheese. Very tasty indeed. Dessert was essentially a flapjack and again had some name that I can’t remember.

A fellow traveller had recommended that we check out Lake Bled whilst in Slovenia. Staff at the hostel told us that we could catch a bus to Bled at 10:30am, so we got up at a reasonable hour and headed down to the station only to be informed that the next bus was not until 12:30pm. This would actually work out in out favour as we hadn’t yet had breakfast that morning. We headed back into the city centre and sat by the river eating croissants and drinking coffee.

We eventually got to Lake Bled which is only about 55km from Ljubljana. The Lake itself is not as big as I had imagined but it is extremely impressive looking. The water is a fantastic blue colour that I have never before seen on a lake and the town of Bled is dwarfed by the mountains behind it.

Impressive lake is impressive.

A castle overlooks the lake from the northern shore and in the middle of the lake is an island with a church on it. It is possible to get a boat there but Chris and I just decided to walk around instead. It only took us 90 minutes to complete the walk including all the time spent taking millions of photographs. If I’m lucky there might even be a few good ones.

As wonderful as Lake Bled looks it is slightly spoilt by the number of tourists. There is a tarmac path/road that goes all the way around it meaning that it is easily accessible by old people and small children. Considering the number of tourists the place is still extremely clean and you can go swimming in the lake, although I imagine it to be extremely cold.

We only had two days in Slovenia and we only really scratched the surface it what it has to offer. Despite this it is one of the nicest places I have visited on the trip. Certainly worth further exploration.

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Entry filed under: Slovenia. Tags: , , , , , , .

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