Edit Blog Post
Published: August 1st 2009
So we are on our way from Split to Ljubljana, Slovenia (Loo be yarna). Francine and Angie thought that they would be really really smart and take the back seat of the bus so that they could stretch out during the night and have a good night's sleep. So we raced to the back seats and were lucky because there were very few people on the bus. Our luck held out until about the 6, 7 stop and then a women and daughter had to sit in the back with us. But people got out a couple a stops later and they moved. Then about 11pm a group of 4 people came on the bus and there were no other seats so 3 of them had to seat in the back with us, Francine was able to trade her seat for one with the partner seat empty. Angie stayed in back with the loud group until they got out around 2 AM. This trip was about 11 ½ hours for us, with stops about every 2 hours and a border crossing included during the night. No one was getting a lot of sleep.
What really surprised us
was when we arrived in Ljubljuna, Slovenia the bus station was closed and it was 4:30 AM. There are taxis available but we had no reservations and no place to go. So we consult the Lonely Planet book for a hostel and see this really great one called Celica Hostel, it is an old prison now renovated for travelers. We walk there to find them opened but no rooms.
We then walk a few blocks over and find another hostel that during the school year is the college dorm for Dom Tabor University. We luck out as they have rooms available. We take one and quickly seek out our dorm room and our beds and fall fast asleep till around 11:30 AM. Our room is large with three beds and desks and plenty of floor space. We have the room to ourselves. Time to get up and shower and see the town.
The first thing on the list is money and food. Angie is able to access the ATM and we see this Mexican Restaurant. A good combination! The menu looks so good that we have trouble deciding and of course we get more food than we can eat.
Mainly due to the large portions. Angie had the barbecue chicken, with rice and beans and onion rings, Francine had chicken and vegetable tortillas and we also shared a large plate of nachos too and they were really good but filling. We waddled away from the restaurant.
Slovenia has a population of just over 2 million people and it is one of the newest member of the EU since 2004. In the 7th c. it was the Slavic principality of Carantania then was held by the Habsburg Monarchy and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918 they became part of Yugoslavia and in l991 they opted for independence. Ljubljana has 260,000 residents in the capital city. Slovenia has made a successful transition from a socialist to a market economy mainly because of its industrial history, openness to the world and good economic policies. There is private ownership of business and property, the tax system was modified and unemployment had decreased. We noticed that prices are higher than we expected. Thinking that this was a poor country and that services and commodities would be cheap is incorrect. Our lunch for 2 cost around 30 Euro. The nights lodging in the hostel
was 18 Euros each that 2 years ago only cost 8 Euros. The town is clean and the people are nice but reserved. We find that many speak English. Thank goodness, because we don't speak Slovenian.
Ljubljana Castle and the Funicular
The castle like all others sits on the hill and the fun way to see the castle is to take the funicular up to the top. Much of the castle area has been remodeled and is a nice little park setting. The castle tower is accessed by a winding staircase and the views are spectacular. You can see the Julian Alps in the distance, the Old Town and the Sava River that runs through the city. There is a 3-D movie on the history of the city that has good information but poor film quality.
The Triple bridge was built by a cunning maneuver in 1895 when an earthquake struck the city. The Habsburg monarchy was led to believe that the bridge (a single bridge) was destroyed which it wasn't but the king sent money for it to be rebuilt, so the architect Plecnik was able to build his graceful architectural wonder which has become the unique
symbol of Ljubljana.
St. Nicholas Cathedral is an easily recognizable landmark of the city with its green dome and twin towers and is located on Vodnik Square by the nearby market and the Triple Bridge. Inside much of the original Baroque decor remains with frescoes but the exterior has had many changes throughout the centuries from the 1262 when it was originally built.
Dragon Bridge- Built in the beginning of the 20th century to replace an old wooden bridge constructed in 1819, which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 1895. The bridge was originally named The Jubilee Bridge of the Emperor Franz Josef but is now know for the four imposing dragons found sitting guard on the corners.
Church of the Annunciation - is a Franciscan church located on Prešeren Square that just happens to be painted pink. Built between 1646 and 1660 (the bell towers following later) The layout takes the form of an early-Baroque basilica with one nave and two rows ol lateral chapels.
A visit to the tourist information to find out about a visit to Bled leaves us wondering if we should actually make the effort to go there. A few
other tourists have said that the little town is similar to Ljubljana and very touristy. Also they tell us that Zagreb, Croatia is not really worth the effort, it is a big city and it is nicer in Dubrovnik and Split. We decide not to make the trips.
We head back to the train station and find out about trains to Budapest, Hungary and buy our tickets for the next mornings train. Back to the hostel and prepare for the next leg of our trip to Budapest. We have to be up early.
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