Trip Start Mar 02, 2009
90Trip End Aug 20, 2009
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A few things I'd read pegged Ljubljana as the new "it" place of Europe. (Former locations including Berlin and Prague.) After visiting, I have to completely agree.
It's fantastic. With a population around 270,000, it's not too big and not too small. Everything's clean. And the economy seems tourist driven...so every location is bend-over-backwards welcoming. Adding to this, it's no trouble to get by with English and things are very reasonably priced.
The hostel was 13 for a dorm (first night) and 25 for a private (second night) that overlooked the water. Food (the going fare being sandwiches) is 5ish for breakfast, 8ish for lunch and 10-12 for dinner. Granted, there are always options to go for more or less expensive; this is just an average.
Cafe culture thrives. From nine in the morning until well into the following night, there are tables lining the main streets and people lounging everywhere. Coffee and snacks give way to full out dinners...which eventually become drinks, mingling and music.
An example place: River.
There was also no shortage of entertainment. Aside from quite a few solo street performers, we also had a run-in with a local brass band. The guys were just walking around and would periodically stop to play a song or two for gathering crowds. They ended up walking in front of us at one point and put on a little marching show. Very cool.
I went up to a trumpet player at one point and asked the name of the last song they'd played. I walked with him and we chatted briefly...then I let him get on his way. I started walking back to a shop and, some half a minute later, felt a hand tap me. I spun around. It was the trumpet player again. "I made a mistake! Forget what I said!" He then informed me of the correct name of the song. This adequately summarizes the nature of the people there.
A snafu on the first night with the reservations led to not only apologies, but also the calling around to various different places for rebooking.
Such a cool change from the "What do you want?!" kind of attitude I've come to expect from the service industry.
As for technology, let's just say that the people of Ljubljana have embraced it. There's wireless everywhere and free access to computers in most hostels. (That's right... Free.)
So yeah. Great town, great people, great weather. It was an awesome weekend.
Side note: TravelPod doesn't do accents... I quickly discovered this with German...but have never made a deal about it because I've always been able to just add an 'e' or do the double 's' thing. Without this work-around, the Slovenian names aren't all spelled correctly. (And now I'm laughing because I'm like, "Who reading this would even notice?")