Published: October 16th 2008October 16th 2008
For those who don't know Ljubljana is either pronounced Lube-lee-ah-na, or Yube-lyah-na I heard it both ways...so who knows. But I prefer the first.
We arrived in Ljubljana at about 11 on Saturday. Our hostel wouldn’t let us check in until 3, but let us drop off our bags so we could enjoy a walk around the town. It was kind of grey so I decided it was time to get a coat. While shopping around stumbled upon the market and the town center. Ljubljana really reminds me of Portland with a bit more pizzazz and insane beauty. The trees are turning a stunning red and orange this time of the year, and they cover the landscape. But then at about 1 or 2 everything in the city closed. And everything is also closed on Sundays, so we decided that we better book another day in Ljubljana or we wouldn’t get to see anything. We checked into our hostel and pretty much passed out. Night trains are not so comfortable, though the seats fold all the way down. When we woke up we made some dinner and met the rest of our roommates—Matt, Kirstie, Hannah, and Daniel. We had a
12 bed dorm, but most of the others were fairly antisocial. Matt was from Hawaii and had met Kirstie and Hannah in Czech Republic at some small place in Bohemia. He somehow convinced them to come to Slovenia, though I’m sure it wasn’t hard. Kirstie and Hannah both were from England. Daniel was an Aussie from Adelaide. We all sat around and had few beers, getting to know each other, and Matt told us about a place next door that was supposed to be pretty fun, so we checked it out. It was definitely interesting but a little rough, and not everyone was happy with the choice. Matt wanted to stay but the Californians weren’t so hot on the idea. They are more traditional club girls, so we asked the receptionist at our hostel where a good club was, and the search began. We walked around aimlessly for awhile when we stumbled into two girls from Zagreb, Ivana and Nella. They joined our search and told us where not to go. Once we found a place I started talking to Ivana. We hit it off right away. She is 21 and studying a hand full of social sciences at the
Me and the wife
university in Zagreb. Her and Nella were visiting Ljubljana for the weekend, and started classes again really soon. Nella tried teaching us how to waltz and how to salsa but after a few drinks in me it was a failed attempt. Ivana and I resorted to jumping around aimlessly, and doing renditions of the robot and other 80s dances. We both decided there are no jobs for philosophers so it was best if we got married and ran a mom and pop kidney selling business. Ivana would distract the victim with her good looks and seductive ways and I would perform the surgery while they were distracted. The other girls dragged me to the dance floor for a bit and took some crazy photos. It was a pretty good night. We all walked back to the hostel and passed out again, but not before I made plans to spend the day with Ivana before she went back to Zagreb. We met for breakfast and headed for the movie theatre though we couldn’t catch a bus and had to change our plans. We walked around the downtown area for awhile and sat in a few cafés. Ivana told me that Nella
had some great jokes about Slovenia, and I was pretty curious, though she had to think of how to translate them before she could tell them. The most import things to remember about Slovenia are that 1) It’s tiny, only 2 million people in the entire country (12 million in London alone) and 2) they have barely any part of the coast but have been trying to get more coast since their independence. Nella’s first joke was: Why can’t you open an umbrella in Slovenia?....Because you’ll hit someone. And the only other one I can remember is: Why can’t Slovenians swim?...Because they’d need their passports. Then we went to the Ethnographic museum. On the first floor were some ridiculous instruments, and then on the rest was full of crazy Slovenian art. It was pretty amazing. Then we had to part ways, Ivana’s train was leaving.
I went back to the hostel and took a nap, to be woken up by the three girls giving me a kebab. Kebabs in Europe aren’t the same as they are in America, in the U.S. we only know shish kebabs, but in Euroland kebabs come in many forms. The doner kebab is kind
of like a burrito. Or you can get a kebab that is more like a gyro sandwich. The thing that makes it a kebab is that the meat is gyrated on a giant steel post. And the chunk of meat is shaved and put into a wrap or tortilla like thing. Then you get a bunch of onions, garlic, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, and ranch like sauce. It’s great.
We went downstairs in the hostel and ate our kebabs. We thought any place in the hostel was open for sitting, but I guess there is a café down there and we were told we could finish eating, but not to do it again. Which was kind of strange but whatever. Daniel was planning on going to Budapest in few days, but we convinced him to delay it a bit and head to Bled with us. When we finished and went upstairs Matt, Kirstie and Hannah were making dinner. I sat with them and talked for a bit, and made some more food. Chelsea, Madeline, Julia, Matt, and Daniel all went into our room but I stayed out with Kirstie and Hannah. We talked with a couple Irish guys for awhile
and then watched my Louis C.K. stand up that I had on my computer. They thought it was great, and then we went to sleep.
The next day Matt, Kirstie and Hannah left for Bled, but we agreed to meet up when we got there the next day. We all went down and had breakfast together and said goodbye. The girls and Daniel rented bikes and I told them I’d try to catch up, but I wanted to shower first. After my shower I went down and rented a bike and rode around the river for awhile, dodging in and out of car traffic and foot traffic. Ljubljana is a pretty big biking place, and there are so many that if you’re walking you don’t want to swagger around too much because you might get hit. I road up to the castle on top of the hill. By the time I got there I was so pooped and sweaty that I needed a few minutes to collect myself. This time of the year most places are under construction and so was the case for the castle, but most of it was still open. The most amazing thing was the
park outside, though there were many couples making out. I spent awhile at the castle before I headed down to check out the University area. I then bought some food for lunch and dinner and rode back to the hostel. After I ate I rode around town more and then came back to find the girls and Daniel. They had seen me at the market but said I was going to fast for them to catch me. They had met someone at the Kebab stand who told them about this pub called Parliament and they wanted to go to that, but first they wanted to get some Mexican food. So we went out for Slovexican. Two guys from our hostel were also going to the same place so we all got a table together. The margaritas were pretty much just tequila and salt, though there was a semblance of mix. I had two enchiladas, and it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t terribly authentic, being Slovexican and all, but I was impressed. We came back to the hostel to hand in our bike locks and then headed for the pub. And the place was packed. I met this girl named Lone
(pronounced kind of like Luna…though not quite) and she told me that every Monday night the University has a big party at this pub and that is why it was so packed. She was from Denmark, but was on exchange. She is a painter and judging from her attitude towards it I’d say she’s probably pretty good at it. I spent most of the night talking about art with her but from time to time gazed over to the girls and watched them take flaming shots of Sambuka. When they disappeared I figured it was best to call it a night and go back to the hostel. The great thing about Ljubljana is that even though it is the biggest city in Slovenia, after ten the streets are empty and silent, though stuff is still going on. But because it is so small you get the same small town feeling though you’re in a big city. It’s nice.
The next day we woke up ate breakfast and caught a bus to Bled.
There are more photos below