I feel sLOVEnia
Trip Start Aug 10, 2010
22Trip End Oct 28, 2010
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The next day I woke up bright and early to take a free walking tour of the city. While walking to the meeting spot, I noticed a young girl with an "F" scribbled on her cheek. I thought maybe it was a gothic thing, but I as I got closer and closer to the city center, I noticed more and more teens with F's written all over their faces and arms. It was really peculiar, and I later found out by our tour guide that it was the first day of school, and this was a hazing for freshman
Moving on, I met a bunch of travelers from France, Australia, the UK, and even California for the free walking tour. I was very surprised at how organized and clean Ljubljana was. I later learned that is the most developed of all the Balkan countries, with a very strong economy. It was the first to claim independence from Yugoslavia, and the war there only lasted 10 days, since both sides already felt it was separate to begin with.
The city was very picturesque, with a river running through it, lined with trees and cafes. There were many squares where everyone met before they went out for coffee or drinks. We walked through the city, learning about the famous poet Perseren who is their most regarded countryman. Which is interesting, because in most countries, you have statues of famous war heroes or presidents, and here its a poet. After the tour, I went with a few of the other travelers up to the fortress over looking the city to get a better view. We got an amazing 360 degree view of the entire city, with the snowy Apls in the background. After the long hike back down to the city, we all went to a traditional Slovenian restaurant and had Cevacipci, which is like small meatballs, only in the shape of a hotdog
Later that night I met another couch surfer for drinks named Jasna (Yasna). She had a long day at work so we sat by a river side cafe and drank glass after glass of wine, while we talked about each other's countries and cultures. After drinks, we met up with some of her friends and went to a called called "Top" as it was on top of one of the highest buildings in Ljubljana (which was about 30 stories high). It was R&B night so the music was pretty good, and we all danced together for a few hours before calling it a night.
The next day I woke up early because I wanted to pack in as much as possible in my last full day in Slovenia. The two things I had heard the most about as far as things to see in Slovenia were lake Bled and the caves. Both were about an hour away from Ljubljana. I decided to go to the lake first thinking that if I missed the cave I could do it in the morning before my flight the next day. So I caught the first bus I could for the one hour ride to lake bled. Once I arrived, I could see what everyone was talking about. It was a beautiful lake surrounded by snow covered alps and lush tress all around. In the middle was a small island that had an old monastery on it. I could feel how fresh the air was there the second I stepped out of the bus
We started off by sitting in a small train that would take us a few hundred meters down under the mountain. We were wooshing down into the darkness with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites all around. The train dropped us off at the lowest point where we would continue on foot with a guide. We walked for about an hour through cave after cave filled with stone deposits of all shapes and colors. They also had an aquarium with an amphibian that you can only find in this cave in all the world. It looked like a snake but with hands and legs, no eyes and no color; they call it the "human fish." After that we ended in a cave that is actually used as an amphitheater for musical events and religious ceremonies and is able to fit around 8,000 people. Once the tour ended I took a long hike back up to the city, where this time I had to catch a train back to the city.
Earlier in the day I received a call from a friend of my brothers who lived in Ljuljana
The next day I had a few hours to spare before my flight to Belgrade, so I hung out around the city and finally got a haircut. After that haircut, I will now know that a number 3 blade in Europe is a lot shorter than a number 3 blade in America :)