Lovely Ljubljana

I must admit that I had no expectation of what to find in the land of Melania Trump. I’ve been to a number of the countries that border Slovenia — Austria, Italy, Croatia. I knew Slovenia was in the EU, used the Euro and didn’t require me to get a visa. So, it sounded easy. And, after four weeks on the road… easy sounded good. I flew into the capital of Ljubljana and met the hotel shuttle at the airport. Easy! I arrived at the Hotel Slon, checked in and then proceeded to wander Old Town on foot. Easy!

In the immediate vicinity of my hotel, I was struck by the gorgeous architecture. I knew I wanted to see the castle, but I had also read the walk along the Ljubljanica River was lovely. Mostly shaded, and lined with cafes, it was a gorgeous introduction to the city.

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I passed a number of interesting bridges and buildings before coming nearly full circle to the main square. As you can see, the area is super lush. It’s lined with trees and gardens.

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In the square, the bright pink Ljubljana Cathedral dominates the view.

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The main square, Krekov Trg, is home to a fabulous Central Market that lines the river and flows into the square. It’s full of produce, clothing, souvenirs and handicrafts.

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Ljublana, like the other cities I’ve visited, is home to amazing street art as well.

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Just off the main square is the funicular to the Ljubjlana Grad — the castle. It’s not the only way to get to the top, but it’s a cool ride. I’d recommend it, for sure. The ride up give you an interesting perspective on the city.

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The Ljubljana city flag flies atop the castle’s clocktower in the interior courtyard.

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The “backside” of the castle faces away from the city, but it’s where you arrive if you walk, drive or take the the tourist train (more on that later) to the castle.

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It’s a bit humorous to me that all the castle rehabs in Slovenia have windows. But, at least they make for interesting photos. This is from the penitentiary looking into the interior courtyard.

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The penitentiary was used as recently as World War I to house prisoners of war. According to the guide, they were mostly Italian.

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After winding my way up a spiral staircase (ingeniously made one-way), I was rewarded with an amazing 360-degree view. This is looking north toward the city.

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The castle also had a chapel, whose dome had been gorgeously restored.

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After I had made the rounds of the castle, I hopped on the Urban Tourist Train, which does a 90-minute drive around the city.

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One of the best spots was the Spica, which is Ljubjlana’s answer to the beach. The waterfront, lined with lounge chairs, cafes and sunbathers (though not in the early morning), also offers opportunities for water sports.

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Also on the route, I passed the John the Baptist church. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Near the end of the route, the train passes the last remaining section of the city’s Roman Wall. Around the time of World War I, the expanding city tore down most of the wall. But, this small section remains thanks to a public outcry that prevents its destruction.

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Eventually, the train winds its way back to the Town Hall in the main square. On the flight to Ljubljana, Adria’s in-flight magazine had mentioned a “famous” ice cream shop in the square called Vigo. When I arrived, masses of people were standing around enjoying their treats, but the line had subsided a bit. I popped in for a lemon tiramisu cup. It was definitely worth it.

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BoundfortheBalkans

American expat. University professor. World traveller. Dog lover. Eating and drinking my way through the Balkans for 7 weeks.

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