jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 70 [9 Apr 09] – Ljubljana

Posted in Ljubljana by jn82 on April 9, 2009

Woke up at 6.30am and left our very nice hotel in Salzburg to catch the 8.12am train from Salzburg to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. The first part of the train ride from Salzburg to Villach from 8.12am – 10.42am was on an Austrian euro-city train, so the first class carriage there was good and there was hardly anyone else in the carriage. From Villach to Ljubljana (10.52am – 12.32am) we were on a Slovenian inter-city train which had only two second class carriages on them. The carriages were pretty old on the inside, but perfectly clean and usable.

Inter-city 313: Pretty new looking Slovenian railway Siemens locomotive pulling two old second class carriages.

Ljubljana is the first of a few Eastern European cities we will be visiting, before heading back to Western Europe briefly and on to Scandinavia after. It was part of the former Yugoslavia and gained independence sometime in the ’90s. The city itself is pretty small, with around 250,000 people (the whole of Slovenia has a population of around two million). This is good as it meant that all the main attractions are within walking distance.

After dropping out bags and checking into the hotel, we headed for the city’s main tourist site, Ljubljana Castle, via the old city to see the many bridges. Walking along the river Ljubljanica for a few minutes, we reached Prešernov trg (Prešeren Square), the central square in Ljubljana. Just in front of the square was the “Triple Bridge”, the city’s best known bridge and the first of three bridges we intended to see.

Prešernov trg and the Triple Bridge.

Walking down from the Triple Bridge, we passed many sidewalk cafes and bars which were packed with people just sitting and having a drink, watching the world go by. It was probably so crowded here today because the sun was out in full force, and after a pretty intense winter, the locals could probably use a bit of the sun now. Another reason for that is because Ljubljana is just a very chill out city where people hang out all day and do not really do very much (or get stressed). Further forn from the Triple Bridge and past the cafes is the Cobbler Bridge, which we went in in order to get to the castle.

Cobbler Bridge.

A 20 minute or so uphill walk later, and we were at the castle. Compared to the other castles we have visited so far in Europe, this one was was not very impressive as it was pretty small, had nothing on display and the main tower was closed for some restoration works. The view of the city from the elevated terrace was pretty decent, but looking down at the city one realises that there no real landmarks which you can pick up.

City view.

After the castle, we walked back along the river in the direction of the last bridge, the Dragon Bridge. Description from Wikipedia: “There is a legend that Jason was the founder of Ljubljana, and he and his Argonauts killed a dragon. This is one of the four dragon statues in the bridge. According to local legends, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails. Some local people have nicknamed this structure “mother-in-law” because of its fiery nature.

Along the river.

The Dragon Bridge.

After sightseeing, I bought a 0.44€ Slovenian beer and went back to the hostel for a pre-dinner rest. For dinner, we headed to a small place Klub preserne zdravljice recommended by the guy at the hostel for some traditional Slovenian food.

The not so Slovenian salad.

Divjačinski golaž: Venison goulash with bread dumplings.

All in all a pretty good day, and I am excited to finally be in Eastern Europe.

Today’s pictures here.

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