Upon arrival, Ljubljana seemed pretty average
. It didn't have that old world charm that we saw in Zagreb. It wasn't until we ventured into town a little deeper that we saw what it was all about. The old town has a pretty river snaking through it lined with gorgeous 19th and 20th century buildings. There seems to be a cafe for everyone and the feeling we got while walking through the cobblestone streets was very different than previous places. Maybe it had to do with the colder weather and low-season, but it was very chilled out. As we walked into the centre of the old town, we immediately felt a little more relaxed and our paced even seemed to slow a little. It was a great feeling. They have an open-air market that is quite large and full of picture-perfect produce. Lining the riverbanks were flea-market type stands selling everything imaginable. After checking out the goods, we heard a commotion of sorts a block or two away and headed to see what was up. Apparently we showed up the weekend that the Ljubljana Marathon was being held. The streets were all closed around the core which may have been a big reason as to why it seemed so quiet. But once we made it to the start/finish line, it was madness. At that moment they were starting the races for the younger categories, but for the rest of the weekend there always seemed to be a race going on. We even managed to catch a glimpse of the big guns on Sunday when the pros came out to what looking to us like a sprint for 42 kilometres. It was a pretty fun time as it was the first time that both of us experienced such an event
. From there we headed to a Slovenian restaurant for some traditional grub. Meg had a fabulous Goulash and I had what was described as a "country feast". It had about 4 or 5 different meats and a couple of unknown substances. We both did our best to finish it all, but for some reason the blood sausage was still on the plate at the end.
The next day was pretty much the same, we strolled the old town and checked out some of the flea-market. From there we headed to the national museum. It isn't that large and has an average collection of artifacts. The most interesting thing was the historical development of the Slovenian country and its people. It was quite detailed as we walked around the rooms reading a summation of each stage of development and viewing some artifacts that pertained to that particular time. Very well organized and presented. They also had a pretty cool wooly mammoth skeleton that we managed to sneak a peak at in another room. After a brief rest in our room, we went out in search of cider and spent the evening chatting in an Irish pub. We found Ljubljana to be a very comfortable place to be, we only wish we were here in the summer where it will buzz a little more with the countless festivals that occur throughout the city in high season. Maybe next time. From here we head north about an hour to Bled.
Megan and Kevin
So we left Croatia highly satisfied and hoped more of the same for Slovenia. We headed about two hours north-west to Ljubljana, the capital. Slovenia is another country that came to be with the disintegration of Yugoslavia. It is actually the first and arguably the most prosperous nation to claim independence from the former republic. Historically it has always had more of a western style which accelerated its inclusion in the EU. Their war of independence was much smoother than their neighbours' to the south as well. The war lasted ten days and claimed 66 lives. Still a substantial price, but much less dramatic then the struggles in Croatia and Bosnia. They certainly have a country to stand up and be proud of. It is beautiful. It touches the Adriatic, has a smattering of the Julian Alps and is full of beautiful lakes, rivers, and rolling hills.