Interrailing 2016 – Ljubljana & Bled

Ljubljana was somewhat of a wild-card on our holiday check-list but there’s plenty of reasons to love Slovenia.

The Slovenian capital city is very small – most of the major tourist spots are within 5 minutes walking distance from each other. If, like us, you only have a small amount of time to explore, you can easily see everything Ljubljana has to offer.

We stayed in a 6-bed dorm at H20 hostel right next to the Dragon Bridge, which was lovely. It also has a launderette (€8 for 30kg) which we certainly made the most of!

Ljubljana is such an underrated city: vibrant, yet serene. I hugely appreciated the bakeries that stayed open all-hours, upping my calorie intake with every (regular) visit. Stay golden, Slovenian bakers.

 

Things to do/see:

Lake Bled

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Lake Bled had been on our radar long before we even considered our inter-railing holiday. Needless to say, we were pretty excited to catch our bus to Bled (even if it was €13) – we wore our bikinis under our clothes!

Unfortunately, the bikinis wouldn’t see the light of day: the weather was rubbish. But the lake was still stunning, and it absorbed the sky’s rainy offering with barely a sound to disturb the peace.

We caught a boat to the little island, where we rambled around, drank coffee, visited the on-shore museum and sat under the trees watching ducklings. By the end of two hours, Ciara and I were feeling fully rejuvenated after our hectic first couple of days abroad.

 

Ljubljana Castle

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To spur on my lust for romantic medieval backdrops (as if it needed any further goading), our first glimpse of the castle saw it shrouded in mist and peeking through the trees down to Ljubljana. Breathtaking.

Unfortunately, it got all the more breathtaking when I suggested (WHY) that Ciara and I should walk to the top of the hill to go inside. But for the sake of an extra 15 minutes and a mild asthma attack, the views on the way up were gorgeous.

Foliage framed the flashes of red roofs below us, and the little wooden rope bridges that led to the castle entrance were terrifyingly cool. If heights (and exercise) aren’t your thing though, you can catch the funicular to the castle for €4.

The castle itself was an odd mismatch of old-meets-new: actors in medieval costumes circulated the courtyard (my personal favourite was the stroppy buxom washer-woman who kept rolling her eyes at everyone), whilst below, glass and greenery reigned in all directions on mini-platforms. Needless to say, I got lost.

 

St Nicholas’s Cathedral

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St Nicholas’s Cathedral embodies what Ljubljana was for me: authentic. The overpowering incense, the slightly over-garnished gold on the walls and the people of all nationalities praying silently in the pews made it clear that this cathedral wasn’t just a tourist attraction, it was a spiritual sanctuary.

This is the most beautiful cathedral I have been to, and despite the fact that we were mostly tempted inside to hide from the hammering rain, we were reluctant to leave even after the skies cleared.

 

The streets themselves!

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Despite it’s romantic lock-bridge theme, the ‘Butcher’s Bridge’ that connects the market to the Petkovsek Embankment has some seriously creepy sculptures, such as this skull. The bridge also features sculptures of Adam and Eve’s banishment from Eden and the disembowelment of Prometheus. Yikes.
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Cute cafes and restaurants line the Petkovsek river bank. We stopped off for a coffee in Lockal Cafe, where you can buy a lock to put on the bridge (hopefully to make it a bit more cheery). I can imagine that in the heat of the summer sun, this row of restaurants would be a sweet little oasis.

 

What we ate/drank:

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Whilst waiting for our boat out to the island on the lake, we stopped off in Pri Planincu pizzeria to grab an affordable lunch. The original features of the restaurant had a modern spin (although I never did understand why there were four-leafed clovers everywhere), and the toilets had were decorated in the style of 90s teen-pop-culture, complete with kawaii undertones. Obviously.

 

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Grab a coffee or a bottle of water at the cafe on Bled Island, next to the church. The huge window offers a stunning view of the lake (and makes for a stunning picture).

 

Similar outfit to what I wore:

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What I listened to:

  1. Angela – The Lumineers
  2. Boy With a Coin – Iron & Wine
  3. Room No. 66 – Park Bench Society
  4. From Eden – Hozier
  5. I Will Be There – Odessa
  6. Got To My Head – Waters
  7. It’s Strange – Louis The Child
  8. Honey Whiskey – Nothing But Thieves
  9. Exit Music (For A Film) – Radiohead
  10. This is How We Walk on the Moon – Jose Gonzalez
  11. Since U Asked – Swim Good x Merival
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3 thoughts on “Interrailing 2016 – Ljubljana & Bled

    1. It was truly stunning! The rain made it all the better in the end, I think. Glad you thought that, I’m not the only one who fell in love with Slovenian streets then 😉 Thanks so much for your comment!

      Like

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