Ljubljana: Clean Slovene

Posted by in Culture, Travel

The quirky and beautiful coexist in Ljubljana.


If Yugoslavia hadn’t disintegrated during the nineties, I probably wouldn’t have heard of Ljubljana. As it is I now have no less than eight countries to visit, no easy task as the travel options between them vary from easy to difficult to non-existent e.g cancelled trains, and coaches that arrive in the early hours and leave at even more incomprehensible ones – who comes up with these timings?

But I digress, Slovenia was first mooted a few years’ back. It’s taken that time to realize. I had it noted it as one of the countries to visit in 2018. So I am late and early at the same time! Like Slovakia it’s happening because of other factors regarding my professional practice but aside a sidewards glance of the central university nothing much happens.

Views from the night tower.

In city terms its DNA is part Edinburgh (Ljubljana’s castle is also perched atop the hill but has more in common with Bratislava’s picture postcard fable than Edinburgh’s dramatic cliffside residence) and part Vilnius. I catch the castle view during daylight and on a rainy night from the cities Neboticnik tower.

Night where the shadows fall and leaves reside.


After the dirty sleazy streets of Budapest it is clean – you could almost eat your meals from the floor! It’s also eco-minded with shiny bins for plastic, paper etc. Indeed, one of the first buildings I come across on my first stroll through the freshly fallen autumn leaves has banners flapping in the nippy nocturne proudly proclaiming it as a former ‘European Green Capital.’

Slanted architecture, modern houses.

My hostel (Vrba) is beside a stream in Embassy district. Most of my co-residents are off to Bled but not me, I just want to lose myself in the city (no change there then). Admittedly this centres on its architecture and most of that is of your aunt’s favourite chocolate tin variety (the castle as mentioned above for example) but that doesn’t mean the shock of the new doesn’t live here either. On arrival a sharp angular facade facing the station grabs my attention.

Cultural in cleansville.


So what’s going on culturally? When I’m in town there’s a German film festival going down. And during my overcast morning walkabout run into a clutch of good natured Thai women tourists. My interest in things of an Oriental nature continue, albeit with the graphic signage of the HAN restaurant.

Secret gardens and more wonderful buildings.

Ljubljana should really be called lovely-ana; it’s a neat city of compact squares, leafy lanes and secret gardens though its cleanliness and the euro make it an expensive option so tread carefully through those leaves, for some the streets are paved with gold.


Thanks for reading here. Should anyone be interested in my work; principally writing, photography, and teaching, please contact me for a FREE Overview PDF. Meanwhile, stay tuned with Kulture Kiosk via The Atlas or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where you can see some of my photos from around the world. Playlist and credits follow…

Clean – Depeche Mode
Only When I lose Myself – Depeche Mode
Secret Garden – Alan Parsons Project
You Remind Me of Gold – Human League