‘Go at least once a year to a place you’ve never been before’ – Dalai Lama
Note: If there is one place you visit this year, even if only for a weekend, let it be Ljubljana – it’s beautiful.
Day 22: Zagreb – Ljubljana 06.09.15
Plan of Action
- Travel from Zagreb to Ljubljana
- Find a hostel
- Explore Old Town
- Visit the Triple Bridge
Travelling from Zagreb to Ljubljana was pretty straightforward actually and we made it in plenty of time. The only downside was that – for the first time – we hadn’t booked a hostel in advance. We had looked into some, but hadn’t come to a decision. We also weren’t sure where the train station was in relation to the town centre. Fortunately, that wasn’t too much of an issue as it is literally a 15-20min walk to the heart of Ljubljana from the station. The station also has some awesome maps that not only lists points of interest, it also lists all hotels and hostels. We ended up settling on a recently re-opened hostel called Dragondoss that was not only inexpensive, but extremely central too.
This is where we hit a slight bump in the road though. Once we got onto the hostels wifi I received an e-mail from a gentleman informing me that I had lost my interrail pass on the walk from the station to the hostel (you write your e-mail in the pass in case of emergency). Fortunately, he and his girlfriend were a lovely and honest couple and he happily provided me with details about where they were – so we set off to find them.
They were at a pub near a forever lock bridge in Old Town and, conveniently, we had to pass the Triple Bridge which allowed us to tick that off of the list. I must admit, when you are travelling you get to see a lot of bridges but this was definitely one of the more impressive ones. I mean, it was visually stunning and lives up to its name; three intricately carved bridges that work as one.
We spotted an ATM by the bridge which meant we could get some cash as we were both without euros as the last few cities we’d been in had had their own currencies. After that we made our way in the direction of the lock bridge according to our map (unlike Vienna, this time I didn’t get us lost). Sure enough we soon found ourselves by the forever lock bridge and walked past nearby row of pubs looking for two people to match the descriptions we had been given.
It was on our third of fourth walk-by that I heard my name being called out with an air of questioning – we followed the voice and I was re-united with my interrail pass!
The couple who had found my pass were really lovely and we spent a couple of hours chatting with them and sharing a drink before they headed off to Ljubljana castle whilst we decided to further explore the Old Town.
Walking around Ljubljana made me feel like I was back in Bath again. Every building was built out of the same sort of stone and it was all well-organised. Every building seemed to have been built with a plan in mind and everything led back the canal and the cities many bridges. We soon lost track of time and before we knew it the sun had set and everything was illuminated by different coloured lights. It really was a sight to behold and helped create a wonderful atmosphere that was enhanced by the unusual hubbub of a Monday evening.
Day 23: 07.09.15
Plan of Action:
- Visit Ljubljana Castle
- Visit the Nebotičnik Skyscraper
There are so many impressive pieces of architecture around Ljubljana, but nothing measures up to Ljublajana Castle. What makes it so impressive is that parts of the castle were built out of the remnants of stone from an old fortress in the 15th Century. These misshapen pieces of rock still hold until this day.
Whilst there we decided to take part in the castle tour which was not only unique, but also a lot of fun. Not only does the tour guide provide you with the necessary historical context, they also employ a couple of actors to tell stories that have passed down over the centuries through a series of monologues and duologue’s. Rather than being cheesey, this unique element made the tour one of the best I have ever been on. One of the more interesting tales was that of George and the Dragon which – according to Slovenian fable – took place on the grounds of Ljubljana Castle, leading the city to adopt the dragon as an important part of their livelihood.
Moreover the view from the castle allegedly allows you to see around 1/3 of Slovenia. I am not sure if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. You really can see for miles all around.
After leaving Ljubljana Castle we walked over to the Nebotičnik Skyscraper for dinner and the chance to watch the sunset over not only Ljubljana, but wider Slovenia too. It was unbelievable and actually surprisingly moving.
As I said at the start of this post, if there is one place you visit this year, even if only for a weekend, let it be Ljubljana – it’s beautiful.