Ljubljana, Slovenia – Europe Day 36 – July 2

Once the cleaning lady let us in, Rob and Jaime passed out on the couch immediately inside the door. I went in search of warmth and found a large couch in a dark corner of the top floor. I woke up at 10:30am and Jaime was asleep on the couch across from me. She’d gone looking for me and found a couch of her own. Rob came upstairs and woke us up so we didn’t sleep all day. I wasn’t a fan of being awake at this point, but I understood the logic behind it.

The three of us made our way through Ljubljana’s beautiful park that separated the residential area of the city from the downtown commercial area. The park was dotted with wildflowers and winding paths. Families picnicked, people rode bikes and walked their dogs. It was a very tranquil place. On the other side of the park, we reached Ljubljana’s downtown. It’s more beautiful than Venice. The river winds directly through the city center and numerous bridges criss-cross the river connecting both banks.

We found ourselves in a large market selling various meats, cheeses, and produce. We all bought buckwheat cakes and grapes to share. I bought a “Cockta,” a crazy soda from Eastern Europe that tastes like Iron Brew. Everything was delicious, which I suspect had something to do with only eating an omelet and crepe the day before. With breakfast out of the way, we made our way from the market to the castle on the hill. From the top of the castle, we could see all of Ljubljana stretched out before us. Beneath the castle’s courtyard in an underground cavern was a series of modern art exhibits. We perused them then made our way to the courtyard for Elderberry flavored water on our way back down the hill.

Back in Ljubljana’s downtown, we ate gyros and sardines for lunch from a local cafe. I really enjoyed the pace of life in Ljubljana. No one is in a hurry, and the attitude of the city seems very carefree yet people still get things done and everything still runs on time, minus the train that took us here. After lunch, we returned to the hostel to nap, in hope of recovering from the night before. Jaime and I ended up staying awake and talking about San Francisco for the entire afternoon. I’m planning on visiting there on the way to Japan with my grandparents and she offered to show me around the city. The city sounds incredible, like a massive Gainesville, filled with interesting bars and parks, shops and taco trucks.

When Rob woke up, we walked back through the park and into the town center again. In one of the squares, a ballet performance was happening, complete with professional lights and audio equipment. A full production had been assembled in the square, free for anyone to come and watch. It was incredible. Further down our walk we stopped at a riverside cafe for dinner. Jaime and split a delicious magherita pizza with hot peppers and washed it down with a Hungarian beer.

Our waiter brought out Rob’s water with ice in it and gave us ketchup and tabasco to put on our pizza. The whole scenario was funny. Our waiter wasn’t being rude by doing this, by all accounts he was incredibly polite, I just don’t think he’d ever encountered Americans in Ljubljana, and this is what he’d learned about Americans from TV. Either way it was hilarious.

After dinner we returned to the hostel to call it a night. The hostel we stayed at was very bizarre. Based on the large number of doctor’s offices in the area, and the bizarre configuration of everything in the hostel, I suspect it was at one time a hospital. Everything was painted the sterile white hospital color and all the lights were harsh industrial florescents. The room Rob and I stayed in was a dorm, but each bed had its own room but with walls only on three sides, and a curtain on the last side. Because Jaime had booked late, she had a single room. It was more expensive but it was nicer and reminded me of a private hospital room with only two beds in it.