May 28, Saturday
Our start today was slow. I woke up early and wrote a draft of yesterday for the blog and reviewed the pictures so far. We lingered over breakfast as some of our group are sick. Being Saturday, there are issues related to pharmacy access…
Today was a day of walking around, joining the bustle of young families enjoying the beautiful weather. Highlights today were a walk through the Saturday morning market, a visit to the castle and a boat ride on the Ljubljana River at dusk. Here is a slide show of the sights of Ljubljana.
I promise not to go on and on, as I am wont to do, describing the day, but I just want to talk a moment about the castle visit. From below, as you walk the city, you can see the castle far above on the top of a hill, the tower literally towering over you. The castle walls appear to be aged stone. It is very picturesque.
You can walk up the hill, but we opted to take the funicular. From the moment you step off the funicular, the castle becomes an “experience” something less than authentic. On the pro side, the castle becomes a place that can be revisited often, restaurant, shops and art exhibits occupy spaces around the open courtyard. But do not expect a tour of a medieval castle. The audio guide will describe it, but you will need some serious imagination to see it.
The views of the city below and the Julian Alps on the horizon are very pretty and the restaurants certainly looked interesting, though we did not choose to eat up there.
We did have 3 splendid meals in Ljubljana: dinner the first night at Valvasor, lunch today at Marley & Me, and dinner the second night at Julija, coincidentally all right next door to one another on the same little stretch of street.
Ljubljana is another option, and a very good one, as a base for exploring the region. Lipica and the caves are an easy day trip, as is Lake Bled. We drove from Ljubljana to Kobarid in under two hours so, for a long day, that area and its WWI sights are also accessible. We have not been oriented at all toward eastern Slovenia, so I cannot comment on the city as a jumping off place for exploring there.
The feeling in Ljubljana is great. The scene of bars and cafes along the river is hopping. The sense of safety, the cleanliness of the streets and the friendliness of the inhabitants all contribute to a extremely satisfying stay.
And now is the time to go, before Slovenia is over run with tourists!
Keep reading! Next we’re headed along the extreme western side of Slovenia to comune with Nature and learn more about World War I. Click here to continue.