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36 Hours in Ljubljana

Nestled in the heart of Slovenia is Ljubljana (pronounced loo-bee-aa-nuh). The capital city is the perfect destination for the arts and culture lover. In Slovenia, they do not believe in placing politicians on pedestals, but instead their poets, artists, and architects. The best thing to do in Ljubljana is wander, so I am providing only a rough outline in comparison to other Saints Abroad features. 


DAY ONE   


Arrive at Ljubljana train station to the horrifying realisation that Uber doesn’t exist here. In fact, the only mode of transport is the two feet you are standing on. Ljubljana went car-free in 2012 and has reaped the benefits ever since. As you walk to your accommodation (let’s hope your bags aren’t too heavy), you’ll notice the clean streets and buildings. The usual ambience of the city does not apply here, with chatter and the running water from the river which splits the city in half being the only noise. 


After dropping bags, start exploring the old town. Head back to the central square where the infamous Pink Church reigns delicately. From here, a spider web of cobbled streets branches out across several bridges. The Triple Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was designed by the city's favourite architect, Jože Plečnik. Lose track of time as you explore, I promise you it’s more fun that way. 


Start your ascent up Castle Hill before the sun starts to set, it takes around 30 minutes depending on walking speed. The views are panoramic and give an idea of the geographical position of the city. There is a nice cafe for drinks at the top, so get your journal out and watch as the light changes. For the more adventurous, you can scale the castle walls and sit right at the edge of the viewpoint, please be careful not to fall! 


Head back down for dinner and try out the local speciality, Carnolian sausage and Teran wine. Wander some more and stop off at the 24-hour bakeries if you are peckish. There are lots of riverside bars for chilled drinks but much like St Andrews, you won’t find a lively nightclub scene here! 


DAY TWO


Get up early, grab a picnic from one of the many bakeries, and jump on the bus to Lake Bled. Spend the day here, try Bled cake (think giant custard cream), and sunbathe by the lakeside. Walk around to the opposite-facing side of the Lake and you will find lots of peaceful nooks to place your towel, read, and doze off in the sun. 


For the more active holidayers among us, a hike up to Vintgar Gorge showcases the natural beauty of Slovenia and can be done in the morning, leaving time to lounge lakeside. 


DAY THREE


Just before you leave for your flight, head down to the Willow-lined riverbank and sit on a bench. A stranger might approach you for a conversation, let them sit and talk with you. It is an unspoken custom in Ljubljana that if someone sits by the river alone, they are inviting a conversation with a neighbour about philosophy, art, or anything else in between. As a Brit, this situation rather startled me; however, it left a lasting impression on me and made Ljubljana become something incredibly unique and timeless. 


Photo by Natasha Currie



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