It’s Sunday and early afternoon when we arrive in Ljubljana. We haven’t organised anywhere to stay in advance our of arrival, but first priority is lunch. Lunch with WiFi; as this will also allow us to search accommodation options online.
Lunch, by the way, was excellent. I had a spelt pasta with trout and Don had gnocchi with rabbit.
After lunch we check out a youth hostel nearby – a room was €45 with shared bathroom. I am not all that keen to share a bathroom, but at least we have a fall back option if nothing better turns up. After several other options come in well beyond our budget, we check out a new apartment renovation, even with the offer of ‘a good deal’, it’s still €75 per night plus €15 per day for parking. A couple of blocks further out is Penzion Pod Lippo. And from the moment Damien greets us, I know this is the place. He shows us a clean spacious room and can offer us free parking as well; for €58 per night.
The location is in the heart of the University precinct, so there are plenty of cafés, bars and reasonable restaurants. It’s only a 10 minute walk into the centre of the old town. The Pod Lippo staff could not have been more helpful with providing information on what to do and see, and organising a laundry service. They provide desktop computers in your room, plus in a small kitchenette area. After working off a tablet, a keyboard and mouse is a welcome change.
We do the usual tourist thing and check out the old town. More out of guilt for our recent lack of visiting castles, monasteries or churches, we thought we had better check-out Ljubljana’s castle. Well, what a surprise it is.
Perched above the city, we take the inclinator up and arrive amongst the foundations of the castle. The restoration of old with the integration of new has been done seamlessly. Materials including timbers, stainless steel and wire blend with ancient stone foundations. Amongst the well preserved history, modern function spaces and art exhibitions inhabit century old dining rooms, entertaining halls and underground bunkers.
Ljubljana dates back to prehistoric times and during the 1st Century AD the Romans built the city of Emona, the foundations of which still exist today. ‘iEmona’ is an interactive display showcasing the historic city. It’s located in an underground walkway and is another example of how well this city presents it’s history using modern technology. The fact that it’s free is also impressive!
Ljubljana is a beautiful city; still somewhat of a hidden gem, but tourists are now flocking there, as its one of the better preserved old towns in Europe.
The highlight of our stay was dinner with Helen and Rod, friends from Melbourne. We had been traveling in the vicinity of each other for weeks, never managing to coordinate the same destination at the same time, until Ljubljana. When you are on the road for this long, it’s a treat to see a familiar face and have a conversation with people you know.
It was a wonderful catch-up and we enjoyed a superb meal at Julija; where much wine and food was consumed – until they closed and politely threw us out. Probably a good thing, as we may have ordered another bottle of wine!
Lake Bled. & Lake Bohinj
On our way to Austria we detour via Lake Bled and Bohinj. They are both about 50km north west of Ljubljana.
At Lake Bohinj I open the car door to be met with a blast of cool air, so fresh you can taste and smell it. The humidity was building below, on the lake and it looks like a summer storm is brewing, but here we are surrounded by Slovenia’s alps and the temperature is refreshing. We take a 30min trek up to Savica Waterfall, supposedly one of the most spectacular in Slovenia, mmm… guess they don’t have many!
Lake Bled, is busy with holiday makers; canoeing, swimming, baking on the shore. Renowned for its picturesque island and yep, they built a church on it! And of course, looking over the lake is a Castle. We did go up to the castle, decided the view from afar was better than the view atop. After Ljubliana’s castle experience we didn’t think anything could out-do it, so we skipped the tour.
Coincidentally, we run into Helen and Rod and again bid farewell, both confessing to slow starts and sore heads that morning!