So they say.. that the only country in the world with “love” on its name is Slovenia! Hence, it’s tourism tagline: “I feel sLOVEnia! My way”. 😉 Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe, about half the size of Switzerland. Bordered by Austria to the north, Italy to the southwest, Hungary to the northeast, and Croatia to the south, it boasts of beautiful nature with varying terrains. I really wanted to visit this mysterious place, so we made sure to include it in our list. Our stop: the capital city, Ljubljana! And boy, it did not disappoint!
12:53 PM Train from Villach HBF (Austria) to Ljubljana (Slovenia) via FT 211 Vinkovci (1 hr and 39 mins)
The trip from Villach to Ljubljana was a comfortable 1 hour and 39 minutes – train ride! There weren’t too many people traveling the route, so we had a whole coach to ourselves. Our tickets were checked by a polite conductor. We passed by several tunnels, including the fourth longest railway tunnel in Austria and the longest in Slovenia – the Karawanks Tunnel. It is 7,976 meters in length, and about 80 trains use it everyday! We also enjoyed the green scenery on the way..
13:29 PM Lunch at an open street restaurant/eatery
When we got to our accommodation, the reception was crowded with luggages and our room was not yet ready, so we opted to go out first and find a place to eat. I remember the capital to be not very big, and it seemed like almost all attractions were reachable by foot. We passed by several small restaurants, but didn’t find anything appetizing easily. Tired, we decided to stay in an open street eatery, a type of restaurant that is very popular all over Europe in summer. Without too much expectation, we ordered a plate-to-be-shared by two, like we often do. It was a feast! So I guessed, we were hitting two birds at the same time – our hunger + killing time 😉
16:00 PM Check in at H20stel
It was only in Slovenia where we decided to try and stay in a hostel. For one, the prices of hotels were ridiculously high for a supposedly cheap city. 😛 Unlike in Bratislava where they took “cheap budget travel” to heart, it was a game of tourist trap in Ljubljana. Plus, it was summer! So here’s a peek to the cozy little ceiling room we stayed in in Ljubljana ❤ The stay wasn’t bad though.. The location was perfect!
16:40 PM Sightseeing + River cruise
What I love about summer is that you can stay out even late at night because.. well, the sun doesn’t set early like 6pm in the Philippines. So Carl and I decided to go out and explore a bit of the city. First impression? It’s a a city oozing with romance! It would be perfect for honeymooners! The river Ljubljanica was stunning, decorated with many different bridges! One of the most famous is the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski most). It is a must to take a selfie with the Dragons, if you are in Ljubljana! 😉 Built between 1900-1901, it was crafted by the Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninović with an Art Nouveau inspiration.
We followed the river and reached yet another lovely footbridge – the Mesarski most, adorned with many love padlocks, and has exhilirating see-through side paths! There were also amazing bronze statues around and on the bridge.
Mesarski most (footbridge) | 2018
I guess the highlight of the day in the city was the river cruise. Ljubljanica river flows through the Ljubljana Marshes, and adorned by historically interesting bridges, like the Dragon Bridge and the Mesarski, the Trnovo bridge, the Cobblers’ bridge which provided space for cobbler workshops, and the Triple bridge – all built in the early 1930s and designed by architect Jože Plečnik. To get to the boat, we had to cross the Mesarski bridge, say hi to the Central Market, and go downstairs to the river bank.
The boat leaves from a small port under the Mesarski bridge. You can buy refreshments on board, but I don’t remember seeing a toilet. 😉 It was a really relaxing boat tour, and we even came across some paddlers, and some group dancing/aerobics on one of the banks. During the river cruise, I realized how romantic Ljubljana can be.. ❤ Here are some of the sights our eyes feasted on during the cruise:
The tour took approximately one hour, and it was worth it! Going back to the center to grab some sweet treats, we came across a talented harp player. Then, we continued on towards Prešernov trg square, where the ultimate shopping street was! Every city has one, you know 😉 But since it was beginning to get dark, there wasn’t many stores open. But we still enjoyed the sights of the Triple Bridge, the reddish pink Franciscan church of Annunciation built in the 17th century, and the beautiful apartment buildings. And yes, it was a cobbled street for the medieval feels!
20:20 PM Enjoying banana split @ Kavarna Cacao
The banks of Ljubljanica was lined with kiosks, souvenir shops and restaurants! One of the busiest in summer was Kavarna Cacao cake shop. They also sell ice cream, sandwiches and fruit juices. Luckily, there were empty seats waiting for us, so we enjoyed banana split as a treat for a wonderful travel day gone by!
After the dessert, we went back to the hostel to get som night rest, excited to continue exploring Ljubljana the next day! So there you have it, day 8 of our Interrail adventure and 4.travel day. Until the next entry! #spreadlove