Ljubljana

Ljubljana was one of the few capital cities of Europe I hadn’t seen, so in February 17 I put it right with a mega cheap 48 hour solo visit.

Easyjet from Gatwick and an Airbnb room in a central flat for a total of £110 made it almost rude not to!

I arrived after dark, so settled for a falafel, a couple of splendid dark beers and some night shots of the bridges over the River Ljubljanica.


Up bright and early for breakfast supplied by my generous host, my first port of call was Old Rog, an old bicycle factory turned Bohemian squat.

There are a few similar such places in Ljubljana and suffice to say they divide opinion with some believing they are artistic expressions of a free society, whilst to others they are a blight to make your eyes sore.

I quite enjoyed my saunter around the graffiti, rusting metal and creative objects. I may have felt differently if I lived in the city I suppose…….

Ljubljana is well known for its bridges, the first of which I crossed being the Dragon’s Bridge. Legend has it that a dragon used to live in the river, possibly due to vapor rising on a hot day resembling dragon smoke. The dragon is now the symbol of the city and every year there is a dragon carnival with dragon themed fancydress and floats.

Whatever the truth of the legend, the two snarling dragons at either end made for an imposing sight.

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The cobbled thoroughfares alongside the river are stuffed nowadays with bars & restaurants, whilst there are several novel statues to catch the eye.

Before long you come to the next bridge known as Butcher’s Bridge. This is the one that has had the lovers padlock treatment, which people seem to either love or hate. I actually quite like them as they do make for some interesting shots in the sunlight.

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You soon then come to the unique Triple Bridge. The Triple Bridge with its 642 balusters, is a group of three bridges connecting the historical medieval town on one bank and the modern city on the other. In truth the structure itself is made from rather bland materials, but the unusual design more than makes up for that.
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It was now time for me to stop at tourist information and join the Jože Plečnik tour that I had pre-booked at the airport.

It turned out that this would be a very private tour as I was the only punter!

Mario my guide was extremely knowledgeable, not only about Slovenia, Ljubljana and Plečnik, but also world affairs as a whole, with BREXIT especially being a well discussed topic.
I also learned that Slovenia had left Yugoslavia in 1991, so before the main Slavic conflict, as a result of a referendum overwhelmingly in favour of independence. I wasn’t sure if I knew that before or not!
Another fact that escaped me was that there had been a ten-day conflict that followed the Slovenian declaration of independence on 25 June 1991. It was fought between the Slovenian Territorial Defence and the Yugoslav People’s Army  lasting from 27 June until 7 July 1991, when the Brioni Accords were signed. History now states that it marked the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars.

As well as designing his capital city, Plečnik is also attributed with planning much of modern day Prague and you can definitely see a lot of similarities. He is to Ljubljana what Gaudí is to Barcelona, considered a national hero.

We took the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle for some splendid views and then walked down the other side to a far quieter part of the city away from the main touristic parts.

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The castle has seen plenty of action over the years due to the city’s strategically important position with battles involving the Venetians, Ottomans, Serbs & Habsburgs amongst others.

We ended in Plečnik’s house, all pretty much left as it has been at the time of his death in 1957.
After the two hour tour I wandered around the compact city taking in plenty of scenic spots. This included the notable 13th Century Cobbler’s Bridge, the latest version of which had been designed by Plečnik.
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The open air fruit & veg market was great and provided a cheap and healthy lunch. There was also a colourful flower section, though the sellers didn’t seem to be doing much of a trade going by their grumpy faces.

That evening after a tasty inexpensive meal, I found a rock club for some thrash metal entertainment. Not my favourite music, but with a lovely crowd and a couple of beers it was highly enjoyable.

I really enjoyed my stay in Ljubljana and would definitely recommend a visit. Once I have visited Berlin next January I will have to update my European capital ratings. I have at least one contender to break into my top ten. 

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Next day I was to take a short trip by train to Škofja Loka to see its renowned castle and museum…….. 

11 comments

  1. What a fantastic break and what luck to get your own private tour guide! Ljubljana is somewhere I really must go to, have read only good things! #citytripping

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