Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ljubjlana, Slovenia - And Then It Never Stopped Raining

You know that Winnie-the-Pooh song where it rains so much that everything floods and things are floating away, including Pooh himself and all his honey pots (CRISIS, HE LOVES HONEY)?  Well, that was our day in Ljubjlana.

What It's All About:
Rain. Lots of rain.

Ok finee. According to my guidebook, Ljubjlana (which, fun fact, is the capital city of Slovenia and is not as terrible to pronounce as it looks) is a completely charming city that is a blend of both Eastern Europe and Western Europe.  It's fairly small (only 270K people), and people often compare it to Salzburg, Vienna, or a town in Switzerland.  Slovenia is all about the outdoors and it has gorgeous mountain/river spaces, which is why it is slightly reminiscent of Switzerland.  The town itself is borders a river and has multiple gorgeous bridges that were designed by a famous local architect.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Arrived from Budapest via a 9-hour train. Apparently, it's only like 4-5 hours away typically, but the train stops at literally ever single city anywhere near Budapest and/or Ljubjlana on the journey over.  I swear we made like 20+ stops. It was super talented. On the bright side, the train was fairly empty so I found an empty compartment (lap of luxury) and settled in nicely.

Oh, you don't also do your own photoshoot when you get your own train compartment...?

  • Arriving in Ljubljana late evening, I checked into the hostel and met up with my friend Sunny, who I met at Daybreaker (a 7am morning sober dance party) in NYC a couple months earlier. He happened to be in Italy for a wedding last weekend, so tacked on a brief side trip to coordinate with my Slovenia itinerary. We did a brief walk through of the riverfront and its famous bridges

"This bridge reminds me of the Venetian in Vegas!" - direct C. Wang quote

  • The next morning, we did the walking tour. Which was really nice and interesting, and lasted for about an hour, then.....RAIN. SO MUCH RAIN. IT NEVER STOPPED RAINING. IT RAINED MORE THAN I'VE EVER SEEN.  Like, super heavy heavy rain + wind that never let up the entire time. My entire bottom half ended up soaked, it was very very cold, and I went through a couple outfit changes to prevent hypothermia. And it never stopped raining all day and night. Apparently this is "very rare" for the city. 

Dragon Bridge - Ljubljana's symbol is a dragon, based on an old story about Peter & the Argonauts slaying a dragon there

Adorable riverside market

And then it started raining

Rainy Franciscan church (the pink church!)

Rainy tour group walking

Rainy streets

It's nighttime! Still raining.

  • For lunch, Sunny and I met up with some people from our tour group at a local restaurant Sokol; which was touristy but offered Slovenian fare.  I had goulash in a bread bowl, so that was nice. And it was warm and dry indoors.

Bread bowls for the win

Fun Facts of the Day:
  • Slovenia wasn't a country until 1991 (it's a baby!)  - formerly a part of Yugoslavia, it wasn't as impacted by the wars and managed to maintain some semblance of culture and intact-ness, which is why it's so put-together and slightly fancy, but in a small-charming-city kind of way
  • They use Euros, and were one of the few net donors to the European Union when it was formed
  • Slovenians love the outdoors.  There are so, so many outdoor activities to do here!
  • The Slovenian flag features three mountains - rumor is you're not a true Slovenian until you climb the main mountain featured on the flag (Mount Triglav - apparently it's pretty difficult!) - the final step is when you reach the top, you get hit with a rope. Then ta-da! You're an official Slovenian.

Meal of the Day:
Rick Steves, genius that he is, recommended this incredible restaurant As Aperitivo - the food was delicious (fish!), the waiters were so on point, annnnnnd none of that really matters because the only thing that I cared about was they had this incredible famous strawberry cake. Which we obviously got for dinner.  It was borderline life-changing. Kind of like an incredibly light, airy cheesecake with thin white choco slivers and STRAWBERRIES.


So I'm being a baby about the rain - I could totally see how Ljubljana could be a lovely, lovely city to visit. There is a huge cafe culture by the riverfront that is unparalleled, the town itself was beautiful and had that smaller-town feel, and the people were incredibly sweet.  Also, for as many days that are a washout (no pun intended) like today, there have been just as many beautiful, insanely perfect sunny days. I am just thankful to be a part of any of them at all.


  1. The trains in Slovenia and (even worse in) Croatia are very slow. If you want to hop between Zagreb and Dubrovnik or Split and Dubrovnik, you should fly. It doesn't cost that much and the trains are REALLY bad. Alternatively, you could get on a boat in Split and sail down the coast to Dubrovnik. It rained in Ljubljiana when I was there too. It wasn't constant though and I did get to shop at the market and enjoy the cafes. I thought that dragon bridge was really cool (I think there was a good little fish restaurant under the bridge by the dragons). We stayed at the Anitq which was charming and gross at the same time. If you decide to go to Bovec (west of bled, over Triglav - almost in Italy), stay here: http://www.dobra-vila-bovec.si/ It is such an amazing hotel run by two brothers. They have an incredible restaurant and create the menu based on what's fresh. The Soca river runs through Bovec and it is a gorgeous turquoise color. Plus, if the pass is open, the trip across Triglav is amazing!!

  2. Also...go to Hot Horse in Ljubljiana. The burgers ARE made of horse meat but it is surprisingly tasty. Lauren even liked it and besides, when else will you get to try horse. You order and pay via this huge touch screen with lots of options and then the people behind the counter assemble your HUGE burger. -Brian Eatdrinksleep

    1. Omg is that Brian....posting!?!? :)

      Oh man, I wish I would have gotten your short list of recs beforehand! Horse burgers sound tasty, and I would have totally gone to Triglav (and climbed the mountain to be hit with a rope!!!) Thanks for all the insights anyhow, now do you have any for Croatia!?

      Hope you're doing well, miss you!