My train arrived in Ljubljana at 7am, which was much more convenient than the intended 6 am. I had arranged for another couchsurfer host here to maximize my experience. I had no trouble walking to the other side of this small town arrived at his a half hour later. He was waiting for me with a breakfast of muesli, homemade jogurt, and whatever else I wanted to add into it.
We started chatting a bit on his icy cold balcony, and it was immediately clear that I had picked a good host. He was an ethnic Pol whose family emigrated to Canada. He had spent the last couple years teaching in Japan, studying in Scotland, and now working here in Slovenia. We found common ground straight away, and then he got me sorted on what to do in the city. I felt reborn after scrubbing away a night of train filth, and then took that with me into the day.
I started walking around, but really it is a very small capital without many obvious monuments. I looked at the market, a few of the old buildings, and also some artsy statues on Butcher’s Bridge.
I wasn’t sure what to fill my time with before the evening, so I stopped into a hostel for some advice. I was informed of another walking tour, got given some free coffee and also found a companion for the rest of the day. Thanks Zeppelin Hostel!
The guy that I spent the day with was a Sikh from Toronto, evidenced by his familiar sounding accent. One of the things that I really enjoyed was hearing about the Sikh religion, which he was very happy to talk about. I went to Amritsar, which has their headquarters, but I never had the chance to really talk to anyone there about their beliefs. What he shared was easily digestible, for I knowing nothing at all made the fruits of knowledge hanging low.
The walking tour was just starting as we showed up at the Triple Bridge, so I got my brain sponge ready to soak up all that she was spewing. Things started with an introduction to the town, some explanations of the various statues, and also some of the logic behind the city planning. The church had a bronze door made to honor the visit of Pope John Paul, and it was covered with important people and events. The guy in the middle, on the right was a missionary who went to Michigan to work with the Cherokee tribe.
Another of the interesting things she explained was the town’s inseparable association with dragons. In a mythical story, there was a dragon that was protecting the swamp that this area used to be. The dragon was defeated in the end, but they thought that it was cool enough to make him a municipal symbol and emblazon the image of it everywhere: the city coat of arms, beer cans, sewer covers, and the Dragon Bridge.
She took us to a few more stops before sitting us down and talking about how the county came to split away from Yugoslavia. Of all the walking tours yet, she was the best at making me understand that period of time.
The Sikh was cold, so after the tour we stopped at the H&M so that he could buy a few layers. I too was cold, but I’m a survivor. With that errand sorted, we ascended up to castle located in the middle of the town. I was willing pay for the tour so we parted ways there.
The tour lasted an hour and included all the expected information about the history and those that called it home. The chapel has the family crests of all these people painted on the roof, which was worth a picture.
She also brought us through a prison and then up to the top of a tower. The view was excellent and then for whatever reason came with a complimentary glass of champagne. This would have been a whole lot better were it not raining, but fortunately I had already gone up to the top to see the view before the weather and darkness set in.
I trudged towards home in the rain and met Cyprian and a friend of his at a cafe. They were meeting to discuss how they could go about organizing a small event. The goal was to go three weeks without adding any waste to the world. Whether the packaging could be recycled or not was irrelevant, since just the act of buying it would further its production. We brainstormed briefly about how to make this happen, but in the end basically decided to postpone things.
We said goodbye to his buddy and went next door to get some pizza. One of the foods available in this country is horse meat, so of course I had get the pepperoni version of that. And because they also had deer pepperoni, we had them toss a that on as well. This was certainly a new combination for me, not something you can get at Hungry Howie’s. After our food we pretty much just passed out.
This town isn’t famous for anything in particular, which was nice because I could enjoy without having to worry about crossing sightseeing spots off a list. I did spend another night with Cyprian, but this was the last day that I spent in the city.