I didn’t intend to go to Slovenia. It was never a burning desire for me to visit Ljubljana but having to connect there to get to Sarajevo I made the most of it and organised my onward flight to give me a day and a half to see what the Slovenian capital had to offer.
Ljubljana is an attractive place and very modern in a lot of ways. It has interesting architecture and a pleasant ambience but did seem a bit on the quiet side. I am basing this judgement on the rainy Sunday in June that I visited which is probably not a fair representation of the life this city has to offer.
The Ljubljanica river running through the centre of the city
Ljubljana is home to around 275,000 people which makes it rather small as capital cities go. This is definitely a benefit though as the city had a sort of village-like atmosphere in a lot of areas, especially with all the green space and low, old, rustic buildings crumbling away in various corners of the city. I got the feeling they were trying to market the city and the county as a whole along an eco-friendly trajectory which is definitely something to be applauded. It is perhaps an obvious choice as many people come to Slovenia to hike in the mountains or visit natural features such as the Postojna caves or Lake Bled. Some of the villages and farms you pass on the way from the airport look really idyllic too. Ljubljana had clearly spent a lot of money on their parks and there were bicycles everywhere. Top marks.
The centre of the city is really well preserved and the castle which overlooks the old town is equally impressive and well worth the climb through wooded paths to the summit of the hill it sits on. On the way up you get excellent views over the city when there are clearings in the trees which otherwise engulf you.
The antique market that was taking place by the river was really unusual, selling old enamel signs, military medals and old posters. The Ethnographic Museum was a really interesting place where you can’t fail to learn about Slovenian agricultural history because the exhibits are vast. I can safely say I will never forget what a Slovenian hay rack looks like until the day I die. I couldn’t see everything though because, being a Sunday, not everything was open. There was also a massive downpour of rain about midday and I was forced to waste time in a tea house where I had the most disappointing rosehip tea I have ever had (known as šipek čaj in Slovenian). I wasn’t too sorry when I had to return to the hotel either because Hotel Meksiko is one of the most pleasant hotels I have ever stayed in. It is located right next to a hospital but you couldn’t tell because it was literally silent. Seems they don’t have many emergencies anyway.
I did have a pleasant day exploring Ljubljana, it was interesting but not engrossing. I have great respect for the city’s attitude to nature and heritage but that said, I would not rush back. I feel bad saying this because it was a sweet place but it just didn’t excite me in the way other cities have that I’ve visited before and since. Still, I wish it all the best, and who knows, I may have to connect there again sometime.