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Published: July 14th 2019
And so to Slovenia and meeting up with Pete and Elfi (Elfi the wonderful cake maker from Olney). First stop Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia and one which we knew very little about. On our first night we wandered into the old town to get a feel for the place, a lovely city with plenty of history.
As per usual the next day we attended a walking tour of Ljubljana (definitely worth doing). It’s astounding the history of the country, a part of the former Yugoslavia. For a few months after the end of the First World War it was the centre of European politics, as the Vienna convention to redraw the political lines of Europe was held in Ljubljana.
Our tour guide talked about the changes that her grandfather had seen and how he lived in the same village but had changed nationality 4 times in his 91 year lifetime!
During the Second World War Ljubljana became a Ghetto once it had been captured by the Italians. 33km of barbed wire was put around the city while it was occupied.
In a square in the city there is a statue of the poet Preseren which is unusual as
he was a poet rather than a King or warrior. However in the struggle over the years to maintain a sense of identity, as they were governed by different countries, the Slavic language was kept alive by stating the value of words and poets, so they celebrate poets & books rather than swordsmen or politicians.
Plecnik was an architect who built the famous 3 bridges amongst other buildings in the city & also built the new library. It was completed during the second world war, just ahead of the Italians approaching to occupy the city. The residents in order to stop them using what was an empty building as an HQ for the army, transferred thousands of books hand to hand across the city from the old library to the new one before the Italian army arrived. Thus the Italians set up their HQ elsewhere and the Library was saved.
Friday nights in Ljubljana means Jazz in the square - a great band.
Next day we walked up to Ljubljana
castle. On the way an unexpected surprise was the photography exhibition on the route up. Photographer Matjaz Krivic has created a series of images focused on clean
energy including shots of Lithium, the driving force of the 21st century - in various forms as well as the Bolivian salt flats, electric cars, electric planes and boats & how Norway is leading the world in green energy and how China, Australia and the US are trying to corner the lithium market around the world.
It was also nice once we got to the castle to be greeted by a phalanx of Fanfare trumpeters playing trumpet voluntary - a reminder of our wedding day when my sister Elizabeth played it as we entered the church.
The castle was worth going around not just for the historical elements but some great art which was hosted there including the Mad hatters wardrobe.
That afternoon we walked to Metelkova Ulica, an arty area which was full of graffiti and was supposed to be great fun in the evenings ( but the students had gone home). We also visited the nearby contemporary art museum - a bit odd to say the least.
Our last night in Ljubljana we ate at Jules restaurant in the centre and had a fantastic meal, we were lucky to get a table.
off to the lakes and our apartment was perfectly situated between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj.
We decided to cycle Lake Bohinj the next morning, about 25k. Parts of it were steepish hills and unfortunately Peter hadn’t quite got the hang of the gears and while trying to change gear went backwards into Sue. All I heard was the crash! They were more shaken than hurt.
Having tried cycling we decided to walk around Lake Bled the next day. A very pleasant wander round including another visit to a castle with great views of the Lake and Blejski island with a church in the middle.
Our last day with Peter and Elfi saw us climb up the hills to Osojnica to take in a couple of viewpoints of lake Bled.
Then a 15 minute drive to Vintner Gorge a beautiful, if busy walk above the river. At the end of the walk Sue and Elfi decided to ignore the ‘no climbing signs’ and climb over a fence down to get a better view for a pic of the waterfall. Surprised we weren’t thrown out!
A long day but the walks were both well worth doing. After
stopping for a meal we went back to collapse on our last night in Slovenia. Next morning we were off - Pete and Elfi to Austria and us to Verona for a Night at the Opera!
A great week with great friends.
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