Feeling better

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End Sep 19, 2006

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Flag of Slovenia  ,
Thursday, August 31, 2006

Following a disheartening, even slightly depressing day of wandering around Ljubljana, from one vaguely interesting street I've already seen to yet another example of Plecnik's architecture, the city is redeeming itself come evening time as the almost-weekend festival atmosphere begins to kick in.

Parts of the old town that, during the day were regular streets for disinterested pedestrians, are now open-air concert venues swarming with tourists and locals, drinking and laughing. One is barely out of earshot of the a capella tenor when the trumpet of a jazz quintet kicks in from another stage and then, as you walk towards the Peseron Square, the wafting wail of an Argentine tango band takes over. Other acts include traditional Slovene folk, an experimental Jethro Tull-type group, an awesome toe-tapping dad's army polka band, even a belly dancer, jiggling to a predominantly male audience.

Amidst the music, stalls have appeared selling everything from corn and fried calamari to klobassa sausage and a variety of items I cannot identify. The town is awash with Loobies of all demographics and a fair sprinkling of pleasantly surprised tourists, such as myself. The city has a youthful, energetic, laissez-faire feel to it. The restaurants and cafes are full, pedestrians are laughing, entertainers are entertaining and even I am having a bearable time.

Twas not always thus. My dad began at 9am with a walk around Tivoli Gardens, the city park across the highway from the hostel. Speaking of hostel and highway, they are close enough that closed windows and earplugs do not block out the all-night traffic din, so sleep - difficult enough in a dorm situation - is really at a premium. Anyway, Tivoli Gardens is nice enough but I am done within an hour and only have the castle left on my 'remotely interesting things to see' list. Sure enough, the castle is remotely interesting, although only for the view from its tower, which gives a 360 degree panorama of Ljubljana. The castle is quite old (11th century) but restorations have been done in a modern style, meaning there is an odd combination of original stone blocks, steel girders and double-glazed plexiglass windows. On my way back down the hill from the castle, I find a quiet, secluded spot with a park bench to spend an hour reading in the sun. Time is creeping like an elderly paraplegic and I have to shake my watch to confirm it is only 1pm. I've completely done Ljubljana and I still have a day and a half here.

Somehow I make it through to sunset and then the city comes alive.
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