Balkans Day 16 - Ljubljana

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September 26th 2018
Published: September 26th 2018
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Today, another country, we are going to Ljubljana in Slovenia. Things I know about Ljubljana; it’s the capital of Slovenia.

First, I go for a run along the service road from the village to the National Park. It’s very pretty running through the forest as the sun rises behind the mountains, but it’s minus 1 degrees and I didn’t pack a hat or gloves.

Once I’ve showered/defrosted we set off for Ljubljana. As we head north, we pass dozens upon dozens of coaches taking tour groups to Plitvice to play sardines on a boardwalk.

When we reach the Slovenian border, we have to queue for 20 minutes. This is a surprise, as both countries are in the EU and a disappointment, as it was my last chance to exercise my freedom of movement as a EU citizen. At least I’m not a lorry driver; the lorry queue snakes for miles down the motorway, and approaching the border requires zigzagging round the collection of drivers standing in the road chatting and smoking cigarettes.

In Slovenia you need a to display a vignette to drive on the motorway, which we plan to purchase at the first petrol station. This plan causes the old man significant distress, as not having a vignette carries a fine of up to €800 and in his mind, the whole of the Slovenian police force is lying in wait in the few hundred metres between the border and the petrol station. Luckily, there are vignettes for sale at the border so the old man can relax.

Finally, we are in Slovenia. It has taken us half an hour and cost €16 in exit and entry tolls. So much for freedom of movement.

We drive the final 50 miles to Ljubljana, park up and take a walk around the city. It’s not a very big city, so it doesn’t take long. We walk along the river, across various bridges (Triple, Roman and Dragon), through several squares (Congress, Presernov and Republic) then take the funicular up to the castle.

We descend and check in to our hostel. There are plates of cookies and sweets in reception. The old man abandons me to work his way through the food on offer. The receptionist proceeds to offer apple and pear brandy, so when the old man finally reappears, he’s somewhat the worse for wear.

If the evening we go to Druga Violina for dinner. Three good things about Druga Violina; (1) the food, (2) it’s a social enterprise providing employment for people with disabilities, so you can bask in the warm, fuzzy glow that your custom is going to a good cause and (3) allergens are marked on the menu.

We return to our hostel. We’ve enjoyed our day in Ljubljana, it’s an intimate little capital. Tomorrow we move on to see more of Slovenia.

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