Ljubljana: Clean Slovene
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.
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 IN THE CITY
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.’
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.
CULTURE FOR 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.
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.
PLAYLIST AND CREDITS
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Clean – Depeche Mode
Only When I lose Myself – Depeche Mode
Secret Garden – Alan Parsons Project
You Remind Me of Gold – Human League