the people of Ljubljana adhered to bicycle as a good transport in town. The city is plane, and though wit a good structure of public transport, claiming that all trips in town will last less than half an hour, the bicycle is common used all over the plane town, leaving them at the entrance of shops without any kind of safety precautions. Tourists may use it too, with several renting points where you may book a bike for 5 € a day. There are guided bike tours.
If possible, visit Slovene Drama no metter of language barrier am sure you'll enjoy in the spectacle. Btw, if the performance is of a good quality we can understand it even if we don't speak the language.
SNG is situated in Erjavceva ulica, very close to Ursuline Church.
I don't know if Horse Burgers are very common in this area of Europe, in Sweden we do not have them. But they seem to be popular in Slovenia, long queus in front of the eateries at nights. I did not taste the burgers this time, so I can not say anything about them.
Taken for granted in some Western European countries, Bicycle Lanes in the city is not a local custom in most of the world.
This economical friendly to the environment vehicle, is very popular in the relatively compact city of Ljubliana. There are clear routes on the asfalt everywhere, not seperated from the pavements/ sidewalks.
Keep in mind, while walking by foot in Ljub, that we must respect this local law, and avoid stepping the lines of about one meter width.
Slovenian coffee is very good, everywhere. And when I'm on holiday I'm quite happy to drink coffee the way locals do. Mostly.
But: I really don't like coffee with milk, so cappuchinos etc are out. And sometimes, I want more than just an espresso; I just want a black coffee (basically, an espresso with added hot water).
I know what to ask for in various other countries (though I suspect they think I'm very odd sometimes) and now I know the Slovenian for what I want. Maybe it'll come in useful for you too!
" Podazjsana kava, prosim." ('podashana kava prohsim')
One of the most common souvenirs we saw in Ljubljana was replica beehive panels sold in what I presume was their original size plus much smaller versions and even refrigerator magnets. We had a laugh over many of the designs, old women being milled into pretty maids, bears with guns robbing the beekeepers, a devil sharpening a woman's tongue. There are also religious panels, folk art panels, historical panels and ones with mythical figures.
The beehive panel is a painted wooden board that was surrounded by other wooden boards that make up the beehive. They can be found on the beehives that are stacked on top of one another a bee-house. The panels 20-30 cm wide, 10-20 cm high, where the bees entered the hive were painted, so the bees could recognise their hive. Most of the original panels were created during the 1800s up through WWII. You might find an authentic panel for a lot of money at an antique store, what you'll find in the souvenir shops are replicas.
Even if you don't plan on buying one, take a look at them should you find them at a souvenir shop, I guarantee you'll laugh at least a few of them.
Not once but twice on our visit we ran into an interesting collection of superheroes walking down the street, no one but us paying them much attention. They weren't handing anything out, they weren't talking to people, just walking the streets of Ljubljana as if it were perfectly normal to be wearing a costume midday nowhere near Halloween.
I can only identify one of the four we saw, Batman, and I have to wonder what kind of cartoons kids in Slovenia are watching. A giant happy bear with a cape? What kind of super powers does he have? And then there's the one with the beak on his head and what looks like a puzzle piece on his chest. Is he Birdman? Puzzleman? And the 4th one's costume looked like he was shopping at the discount costume store because I can't even hazard a guess....
In what I presume is a seasonal art display, there were a couple of pieces of outdoor art in Preseren Square. The 1st photo shows a cascade of rocks, at the bottom there was a sign in English saying "Danger! Falling Rocks!" The other was a series of people in a trajectory.
LOOK OUT FOR THESE TRADITIONAL SLOVENIAN STRUCTURES WHILE YOU'RE ON THE ROAD
TOPLARJI: Double Hay Drying-Frame
Toplars are structures used for the drying and storing of hay and other produce, and are generally found throughout Europe. However, the double joint drying-frames or the so-called "Toplarji" are certainly a peculiarity of Slovenia. Each region may have some slight variants in 2 principal features: their functional and aesthetic aspects. Opinions concerning the origin of these hay drying-frames are still divided but it was postulated that the double form evolved and appeared in the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Being greatly agricultural based, Toplarjis are generally found in the Slovenian countryside, with the exception of the mountainous north-east and Primorsko (the Littoral).
75% of the Slovenian population is of the Catholic faith. There are plenty of castles in Slovenia, even more Churches and Cathedrals, and a possibly impossible-to-count number of roadside altars. You couldn't be driving and not ignore the one found round a bend, at a road fork or next to some important road junctions. I surmised that their presence are meant to bless the drivers with safety (since there can't be that many accidents on the Slovenian roads) and possibly also to alert drivers to any possible hints of danger.
Most of these altars, while simple, are ornately beautiful and for most of them, fastidiously maintained. I am not quite sure who actually does the maintenance!
Like all agricultural based countries, harvesting time is a time when manpower becomes really treasured.
Slovenia has a strong wine growing industry and so when it's time to harvest grapes, vineyards send out messages through friends and contacts to grab volunteers. For a day's work, you are not paid with cash, but with the richness of a great experience coupled with lovely tender Slovenian food into your stomach!
I have the great fortune of spending a most lovely day helping out my young chap's friend's family harvest grapes. I wouldn't even call it a chore - considering we spent more time eating as the family kept stuffing us with food.....glorious food! The sensation of cradling a bunch in your hands is intoxicating. The smell of freshly crushed grapes a fragrance I will never forgot.
It was also fun to be the sole representative from Asia. My presence invited plenty of queries and curious eyes. Made me feel like a star. (Right, Samo?)
NOTE: I am attaching a link below for folks wishing to partake in the harvesting activities. This is NOT the vineyard I was at and I am in NO ways promoting for them. It is purely for reference/info.
Every culture has its rites about the afterlife.
I noticed stalls selling such extremely colourful funereal lamps in the Markets of Ljubljana. I saw them as well, one at each grave, while visiting Vipava's Cemetery. Against a backdrop of sombre grey and eerie black, the kaleidoscopic lamps stood out in defiance of the bleak spirit that people usually associates with the afterlife.
They are essentially plastic containers for containing a white candle within. (From afar, I thought they were watermugs!) Slovenia has a holiday, celebrated on 1 Nov, Catholic in origin, called "Day of The Dead" (dan mrtvih), now renamed Remembrance Day (dan spomina na mrtve) officially and from what I gathered from my young chap, folks essentially visit the graves of the love ones on this day and place candles there for the souls to be able to find their way through the darkness to Heaven's gates.
I thought New Year's Eve in Ljubljana would be something special, after having enjoyed two previous visits to the city, but it proved to be a little of a let down. Like the club I ended up at until 4am, the whole thing felt very parochial, and it didn't even feel very Slovenian. I was surprised at first to discover all my friends in Ljubljana had made plans to escape to the countryside that night, but after spending the evening with drunken Slovene teenagers and crowds of Italian and Austrian tourists, I realised why they didn't hang around.
New Year's Eve celebrations in the city are centered around three locations that have good views of the castle: Republic Square, Preseren Square and the Marketplace underneath the Cathedral. I'm not 100% certain of that last location, as I didn't make it that far, but that's where the crowds seemed to be emanating from. The three areas all have different kinds of music, there was jazz in Preseren and local Slovenian rock in Republic, but all had the same food and drink. There was cold beer or potent warm mulled wine, and for food you could have fried meat in various forms.
The fireworks over the castle were spectacular, it has to be said, but they were nothing on the fireworks that were being let off all around my head for several hours before and after the midnight show. I don't know if this is a Slovene tradition, or something imported by the Italian tourists, but the fireworks were crazy (not to say dangerous). I saw at least one ambulance carrying off injured celebrators, and if one of the casually thrown bangers had gone off in my face, I'd not have a face left. On the stroke of midnight some thoughtful person let off a smoke bomb right next to me in Preseren Square, and I didn't see the fireworks on the castle for about five minutes, but barely being able to breathe was probably worse.
Just behind the Cathedral of St. Nicholas is a large open market square which seems to be open all weekdays. It is a mass of colorful produce, clothing, etc and sort of hidden behind some buildings at the north end is a beautiful flower market.
Just between the market and the river is a colonnaded area beside the river which has a series of shops - bakers, fish mongers, cheese shops, meat shops, etc. As the breakfast at our hotel was so woeful we decided to skip out on it one morning and stopped here for some nice pastries and good coffee (much better than the hotel's).
I don't know how they did it, but our friends in Ljubljana arranged to have a Medieval Festival while we were there and the parade came right down the street where we were sitting having drinks. This is a 2 day festival with lots of activity and our plan was to go up to the castle for the medieval arts fair. However our friends didn't arrange good weather (LOL) and we ended up just watching the grand parade then going for an early dinner.
I stole the description of the festival from the local Tourism Board so you have some idea about it and have attached photos of the parade.
"The biggest procession, taking place as part of the main programme of events and including all the knights' groups appearing at the festival, will set off from the Zvezda park in the Kongresni trg square and head towards Ljubljana Castle on 11 September at 2 p.m. The two festival days will see altogether 250 performing groups and solo performers including musicians, dancers, swordsmen, actors and other artists."
The festival is held every September. I can't identify the knights' groups but there were lots of them. One of our friends in Ljubljana joined us late as she was at the castle where she offered her calligraphy in the fair.
Ljubljana has some beautiful bridges, this is part of the triple bridge in the main square
dont act like a tourist and wander across the middle section, this is for traffic to cross, use the narrower left or right bridges, they are for pedestrians
and if you need the bathroom there are public toilets at these bridges, ladies to the left, men to the right, down the steps
Located a stone's throw away from Ljubljanica river, the main square & the famous Three Bridges....more
My 1st choice, Hotel Emonec, was fully booked for our 1st night in Ljubljana so I decided to splurge...more
Would recommend this hotel being very central, staff very friendly, one thing the hotel heating...more