Advantages so much to see, do and learn, a beautiful city in the heart of Slovenia
Disadvantages not suitable for party animals and sun, sea, surf and sand seekers!
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
***LJUBLJANA***Ljubljana (pronounced: lube lee ana) is the capital city of Slovenia. There has been a lot of discussion into the name and where it originated from some believe that it was named after the Latin name 'aluviana' which refers to a flooded river. Romantics however would prefer to believe that the name refers to the Slavic word 'Luba' which means 'beloved'.
I visited Ljubljana two years ago for a European Convention. I really could not have imagined opr prepared for the outstanding beauty of the city. Unlike many cities I have visited this one is surrounded by greenery and is a really gorgeous sight to wake up to everyday.Walking through the city I was drawn immediately to the ornate carvings and beautiful artwork. The buildings have a lot of character and are beautiful. It is impossible to look out over Ljubljana without catching a glimpse of the gorgeous castle perched prominently on the hill. The Ljubljanica River flows elegantly down through the city, passing the cobbled streets and many cafes and restaurants.
On first impressions I was surprised at how young the locals seemed. I was told by my mate that the city is home to thousands of students, about 50,000 in total. It seems like a very easy going place with a great sense of tradition and culture.
Ljubljana is a modern city that has managed to hold onto its culture and traditions. I was quite surprised to see so many dragons dotted around the city. I was told that this dates back to the time of Jason and the Argonauts. The Argo (ship) sailed up the Ljubljanica, it is here that they took the ship apart and carried it to the Adriatic Sea on their shoulders. On his journey Jason had to slay the Ljubljana Dragon, hence the cities 'mascot'.The city is home to many museums, theatres and art galleries. I would not recommend playing the game 'bogeys' in any of these places though. Ljubljana boasts one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in the world. The first music society was formed in the 16th Century.
Squares are an important part of Slovene life. In the middle ages they represented the centres of different part of the city. Street life was concentrated between Stari Trg (Old Square), Mestni Trg (Town Square) and Gornji Trg (Upper Square). Today these squares are still occupied with street sellers, entertainment and buskers. The locals seem to congregate here to converse and use them as meeting places. We were told to wait at Stari Trg after a 'treasure hunt', it look us a very long time to work out where they were on about.
The weather is a lot like that of ours. One day it could be sunny the next it could be raining. When I went we were told that it would be hot and sunny, however on arrival I realised that my skirts and t-shirts would not be much use to me. Its best to go prepared for any kind of weather here. During the winter months the temperatures can drop to 3 degrees but can rise to 21 degrees during the summer months.Maribor is a popular place for skiers during the winter months and is the 2nd largest City in Slovenia (after Ljubljana).
There are many hotels to choose from in Ljubljana we stayed at the Grand Hotel Union. The hotel has a rating of 4* and is situated in the centre of town. The area is quiet but is close to all of the restaurants, bars and shops. The staff were amazing and the food was fantastic. The hotel rooms were very spacious with a balcony overlooking the city centre and the castle. The rooms had a mini bar with cheap alcohol and were topped up daily. A double room cost us 150 Euros per night which although expensive was worth it. Next time I go I would definitely pay this price as the service and quality was great.
***WHERE WE STAYED***
For more information visit: http://www.gh-union.si/
On a Saturday the locals set out tables and chairs for a local market and on a Sunday the local flea market sets up shop with a selection of local produce and crafts. I had a great time walking around browsing the local crafts. I bought a lovely leather handbag for a great price (about £5).As a very young city the shops also need to be modern and sell the much desired 'fashion'. There is even a MacDonalds for those who cannot go away from the UK without missing 'fast food'. I went shopping in a very 'hip' and 'tredy' clothes shop. They also have a large department store, my experiences of asking for tampons in here however was rather 'awful'. As soon as I said 'Tampax' they instantly knew what I meant (why on earth had I not thought of that?).
~*~ Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad) ~*~
The city of Ljubljana is overlooked by Ljubljana castle (Ljubljanski grad) a beautiful castle dating back to the 12th century. The castle has a Celtic and Roman historyThe castle is open to visitors daily between 9am and 10pm. Throughout the year the castle is a venue used for numerous cultural events including concerts, performances and exhibitions. On our last night a banquet was organised in the castle, this was a beautiful vantage point to look over the city, the lights below looked like fairy lights and it really was a sight to behold.
~*~Galleries and Museums~*~Ljubljana has over 40 galleries and 20 museums most of these are open daily from 10am to 5pm. I didn't get chance to see any of these but I heard lots of great things about them In a city such as Ljubljana where art, music and theatre is very important, there is so much to learn from these galleries and museums.
~*~Ljubljana zoo~*~The Ljubljana zoo is situated on the slope of Roznik hill in a wooden area, adding to a feel of the 'wild'. There are hundreds of wild animals from over 200 different species. The animals are very interesting to see and it's just different to a zoo in the UK. The animals look more at home as the area is less developed so it doesn't look like a commercial, entertainment site. It's only 6 Euros for adults so a very good price compared to zoos in England.
~*~In general~*~Ljubljana is a fantastic city. One of the activities throughout the week involved a treasure hunt and I saw more of the city than I ever would as a tourist. We went down small alley ways, talked to local businesses, found out the history of certain buildings and visited a few bars. We walked past the American Embassy; we also walked into the town hall. Most of these places are open to the public and many of the locals are more than happy to tell you about the buildings and their history. We had a private train on one of the days to take us to Lake Bled. We were allowed to drive the train and sound the horn. The stations in Slovenia are amazing. So rustic with a lot of character I felt like I was on my way to Hogwarts. These experiences made my stay in Slovenia and Ljubljana more special as I actually learned about their culture and tried some Slovenian food. My holidays usually involve sun, sea, surf, sand, English food and cocktails. This holiday was very special as there was no opportunity to do this, and I learned so much. If you can take a bit of time to explore the city and learn its history this will be a wonderful magical holiday for you.
The food of Slovenia tends to be derived from Italian, Balkan and European Cuisine. There are many restaurants boasting fantastic dishes ranging from Karst proscuitto (Air-dried pork leg) to Struklji (a dough like food that is stuffed with a variety of herbs and meats). The Potica was my favourite as it was stuffed with apple and was like an apple cake. The restaurant Rio Ham Ham was a lovely place to eat, they served all sorts of food from Slovenian to English cuisine. We had a beautiful omlette with seafood and a really cheap bottle of wine, very recommended. On one of the nights we were very hungry and in need of some food we visited a 'kebab takeaway'. We ordered a large pizza, chips and a can of drink. I paid with a 5 Euro note and got back about 3 Euros. We were shocked at how cheap it was.
***FOOD AND DRINK***
Wine in Slovenia is very popular I over indulged on a lot of wine during my stay. My favorite was Malvazija (a beautiful wine white from the coat of Slovenia - we guzzled a few glasses of this stuff).
I love this place and had I not attended the convention I would have never known about it. I had always dismissed Slovenia as a holiday destination. It is now up there as one of my best holidays ever. I would like to go back but would only return for a weekend. This is a perfect destination all year round and is ideal for that two week holiday or that romantic weekend away. Its not the place for 'lager louts' who go away to live it up, go clubbing, eat English food and drink English beer. There is so much to do, see and learn in Ljubljana.
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