Published: April 15th 2006April 14th 2006
alas, we arrived by train.
Starving, we pounced on the first friendly-looking restaurant. Meal du jour? Fillet of Foal! Yummmmmy. I have never seen a horse dish, but Lindsay told me this is apparently a delicacy in Switzerland as well. This spurred way to many "so hungry i could eat a horse" comments and jokes that all the big dogs we saw were really just small horses, hiding from the cooks. Instead of fillet of foal or a nice horse burger, we settled for big salads and delicious coffees in a sunny square by the river. Another time we got - don't laugh, because it was good! - mexican food.
Ljubljana is ablsolutely glorious. Spring arrived in earnest, and the whole population seemed to be out enjoying their city. The river was lined with willows, packed cafe tables and bars, and people strolling, eating ice cream, or just sitting in the sun. I have never been in such a friendly place in Europe. Waiters, vendors, shopkeepers were all ridiculoulsy kind to us and spoke beautiful, unaccented English! There was a huge market the day we arrived, with streets lined with flower vendors and easter crafts for sale. The old town is a maze of modest but
endearing sights, like the dragon bridge, and some of the best cafe culture in Europe. You simply cannot go wrong. We were giddy with the prices - finally somewhere we could afford! Though it is always terrifying taking out thousands of any currency from an ATM (you can only hope you are doing the math right and haven't misplaced a zero or two in the wrong direction), and though we ended up spending Tolars by the thousands, it was one of the most affordable place I've been yet. Ljubljana had such a relaxing pace of life, and so much sunshine, that it was almost sedative. But we got ourselves up to the castle, on a big hill that is the most prominant feature of the city (nearly every locale in the city can boast great castle views). The walk up offered views of the majestic, snowy peaks of the Julian Alps, which got us excited for our next destination, Lake Bled.
We were planning on staying in an awesome hostel on Metalkova, an alternative area in a former Yugoslavian jail. Artists have transformed it with great graffiti murals and the hostel rooms (former jail cells) have been redone by artists.
Unfortunately, my online reservation was either lost or never went through, and they were completely full. After a slight panic, we walked down Metalkova to the Park Hotel, a HI hostel where we got a room. The building was vaguely communist but the staff was again extremely friendly, we were even closer to the old town center with beautiful views, and the price sure couldn't be beat. One of the best things about the city is the walkability. Everything to see is within walking distance, and with nice weather, what more can you ask for.
There are more photos below