Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. And yes, that’s how it’s spelled. I’m still working on trying to figure out the pronunciation, but I believe it’s something like Yoob-Yana.
It was a seven and a half hour train ride from Budapest to Ljubljana. An uneventful train ride other than when Tony came back from the bathroom the first time. He sat down in the seat facing me (we had a cube with four seats…two facing two) and he said, “Well, the bathrooms are interesting. Two of them are locked and won’t open. I assume they are not working given that no one responded when I knocked on the doors and no one has come out. The other one, well, there was a button to flush, and when I hit it, the bottom of the toilet opened up and everything inside just dropped onto the tracks below. As in, I could see the tracks below the train and the toilet contents just fell right onto the tracks.” He said it so matter-of-factly. No disgust, just shock. So somewhere between Budapest and Ljubljana, Tony was able to successfully mark his territory.
We arrived in Ljubljana late in the day, around 9:30 pm. Our hotel was a short five-minute walk away, and after settling in our bags and checking a few emails, we ventured out for some food. It was around 11 pm at this point, and a whopping 25 degrees Fahrenheit. I was very tired, and the cold wasn’t helping my mood. We walked around for about 10 minutes when we decided to head back. I waited to eat until breakfast the next day while Tony had a croissant out of a vending machine in the hotel lobby to curb his hunger.
The next morning we were up early. While Ljubljana isn’t a big city, we only had one day and thus we wanted to make sure we saw everything. Both being hungry, our first mission was food. We walked about 10 minutes and found a row of cafes and restaurants, right next to dozens of street vendors, along the river. I had a large serving of meat lasagna and Tony had beef stew. Next was dessert – a Slovanian classic – Prekmurska Gibnina. It has layers of cottage cheese, apples, poppyseeds, cream, and walnuts. Tony had one bite of his and turned his nose up. I, on the other hand, devoured mine. I thought it was delicious!
We finished the rest of the day walking through Old Town and going up another Funicular Railway to see the Ljubljana Castle. It was an extremely cold day (it’s amazing what a difference 15 degrees can do), and so we spent most of our time indoors. The thing I found the most intriguing about the Slovenians was their desire to eat outside. Every restaurant and café that we walked past had tables out front, often with a dozen people having breakfast or lunch. And while the restaurants would provide a fleece blanket for their customers, for the life of me, I could not figure out what could possibly be enjoyable about eating in 25 degree weather. I will chalk this one up to a cultural difference, and something interesting I’ve learned from my visit to Ljubljana.
Please feel free to read Tony’s perspective of our trip at http://www.whereistony.com.