On Monday morning I woke early to find my way to Ljubljana. I was camping just south of the city and although I was worried when I covertly went to bed that someone might find me and my tent, in the morning only one thing was clear: the fact that I was completely invisible. It’s much cooler here too, being surrounded by mountains and I’m glad I finally get to use my jumper again that I’ve been reluctantly carrying around for the last couple of months when it’s been over 30 degrees everyday.
Ljubljana is a small city, the smallest capital I’ve been to, with a little less than 300,000 people. It doesn’t feel like a capital city but rather a quiet town. It’s a very peaceful place and retains a lot of the surrounding green countryside within the city. Old churches fill the skyline combined with a blend of architecture strongly influenced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and some modern communist buildings, evidently focused around practicality rather than style.
Bicycles are a popular method of transport, especially because of the large number of students residing here, with cyclepaths almost on every street (bonus!). There’s also hectares of nice green parks and miles of riverside walks, with bars, clubs and restaurants only a few feet away.
An interesting ‘alternative’ district near the train station called Metelkova is the hip place to be. Whilst most of the city hasn’t escaped graffiti (especially the trains) this is the area where it’s definitely most concentrated. Only a couple of minutes from the city centre, and over the high walls of an old military barracks, you will come across a hidden part of Ljubljana, where anything arty goes, spray painting is legal, drugs and squatting are tolerated and there’s even a few dingy bars, some clubs, some sort of home-made museum and a hostel where you can stay in old prison cells.
In other news, my bike has been completely fixed thanks to the skillful mechanics here and is no longer stuck together by rope. Also my knee has finally healed from when I fell in Zagreb. So it’s all go for travelling through and maybe over the mountains. I’m leaving the city today and heading back into the wild. There’s so much untouched countryside here it would be a shame not to explore it. Over 70% of the country is covered in forest!