Ljubljana! Slovenia’s capital city! And what a city it is! After spending a lot of time in small towns throughout southwestern Slovenia, we decided to head to Ljubljana to see some of the architecture, and get a sense for what city-life is Slovenia. To our surprise, we both immediately fell in love with this charming little city.
We found a parking spot near the Old Town and walked around. Having gotten an early start with bouldering that day, and then having to eat, shower, and drive to Ljubljana, we only had a couple things on our agenda: walk through old town; visit the farmers’ market to buy milk, vegetables, and bread; and visit Ljubljana Castle.
The pace of life in the old town is fantastic. Everybody walks or rides bikes, and the majority of the restaurants and cafes have seating outside. When the weather is good enough everyone sits outside. We visited the farmers’ market and bought some vegetables to help us get through the rest of our trip. The lovely older lady gave us a bunch of extra carrots and greens before we left. 🙂
After doing some light shopping (cups for our future van!), we asked around for a local bakery and were pointed in the direction of Pekarna Osem (8 Bakeries), a tiny little bakery tucked down a side street underneath the castle and bought a delicious loaf of sourdough. We were too excited to wait until later, so we had a bite of the bread as we walked out. Totally delicious!Right across the street there was a little place, called Flo Cafe, themed with old sewing machines where we sat and had a coffee and tea.
We walked up to the castle, and paid the admission fee to be able to go in. It turns out you don’t have to pay admission! You only have to pay if yo
u want to go up the watchtower, which is actually a pretty awesome view. The admission fee also gives you access to the small but worthwhile Museum of Puppetry, and you can watch the ‘3d’ history film that plays every 15 minutes or so.
We were walking back through the old town and we still hadn’t found a place to buy milk when we stumbled across a milk vending machine! Milk from local dairy farms dispensed into glass containers and purchased on the street! We fumbled with the machine a bit, but were able to get a little over a liter of fresh whole milk to drink for the rest of our trip.
When we returned to Ljubljana on our last night in Slovenia, we went with the plan to eat one traditional Slovenian meal and take in some culture. We headed to Gostilna Sokol, which is where all of the tourists go. Sadly, because of that, the prices are a lot higher than other Gostilnas and the service isn’t really good. Usually you can eat a two course meal with a glass of wine for two people at a Gostilna in Slovenia for about €14. Our meal cost the two of us €32 for one course and a drink. But the food was pretty good, and the Peasant’s Plate that I ordered had some interesting sausages and flavors I’d never had before.
For the culture portion of our trip, we visited the Ljubljana Opera to see Madama Butterfly and afterwards wanted to head to a jazz club that’s pretty well known. The orchestra and singers in the opera were fantastic, as was the set design (stark and simple with enough Japanese style touch points to be clear). Unfortunately the lighting design left a lot to be desired. Afterwards when we tried to go to find the jazz club’s winter home, the directions pointed us towards a nondescript building near the city center, but we couldn’t find it and decided to head back to where we were staying for the night. In the summer, however, the jazz club has an outside home in a park behind the opera house and is supposed to be a fantastic place to hang out.
All in all, we’d both definitely go back to this charming little city. Summer seems like the right time to go, when everyone eats outside and there are plenty of cultural festivities to be enjoyed.