We woke up at 8am, crossing all our fingers that our car won’t have any parking ticket attached to it. That’s actually the only reason we woke up that early, since we knew (I asked a police officer the day before) that the parking should be paid from 9am, and we were sure that at 9.01 the check would start. We hurried up packing and having a terrible and not enough filling breakfast and we rolled through the 3 rounds of stairs that separated us from the car. Surprisingly, no ticket on the car, no more money wasted for any sticker missing and we left as fast as we could, but within the speed limit. One thing that was very different from the days before, is that we stopped at basically every gas station on the way and bought first the goddamn Austrian toll sticker (valid for 10 days, used for 2h) and then, 50km before the border, even the Slovenian one. I didn’t dare to ask also the Czech one that we will need in more than a week, but I was close to. While we were driving on our dear Austrian highways, we received a message on Facebook from both the guy who served us yesterday in Vienna and the owner of the restaurant. They both apologized for the bad experience and invited us back at their place. The owner also asked our details so that he could refund our bill, but we refused. Apparently they took seriously the reviews we left, and this is already a merit note for them, even if they acted just to keep a good reputation. We crossed most of Austria to reach Slovenian border and to be inspected by the Slovenian highway authorities that this time we left without any reason to rob us. The roads of Slovenia are very good and we managed to reach quite quickly the Capital, Ljubljana. In the morning we booked for a very cheap price a room in what looked like an hostel, but actually is a sport center that has some rooms (probably as dorm for sport people). The place is quite far from the city center, in a quiet and green area, and we reached it very fast once we entered in the city. The room is very basic and has the classical sport lockers rather than a proper closet, no TV and no plugs. The first impression was not great, especially with the noise of the water in the pipes that cross our room, since our room is the closest to the shared toilets. In addition to this, it started raining heavily and we were very close to stay in our hotel-not-hotel and just wait for tomorrow to come. If we would have done it, we would have regretted completely. It turns out in fact, that we had a wonderful afternoon and evening in the city center. First we asked some suggestion to the receptionist, who suggested us to eat in some market which is only open on Friday. So we jumped on a bus and it took quite long to get to the city center (something like 1h) due to a very big traffic jam. Not surprisingly we also got down at the wrong bus stop and we had to walk slightly more than necessary, but as we got down in a central area, the walk was very pleasuring. The center of the city is very tidy and cozy and full of green. The city itself is small, but less than we expected for a city with only 280000 inhabitants. In Ljubljana apparently the core of the city, a sort of old town, is just accessible on foot and by bike (and there are tons of them) and this makes it even more enjoyable. The area is full of restaurants and bars of all kind and at least for what we have seen has kept an authenticity, lacking the mass-souvenir shops at every corner that are very common in many other cities. We walked in the direction of this market suggested and we entered in the pedestrian area. To reach our destination we crossed one of the famous attraction of the city, ‘the three bridges‘ where there is a nice view of the river that flows through the city. Few minutes of walking after, we smelled the market and its big variety of cuisines that offered. We approached it and it took many minutes and many rounds to choose what to actually eat. Apparently on Friday many restaurants open stands in this square and offer their dishes as ‘street food’ and so there was everything, from ice cream shops and bakeries to meat and grill dedicated stands and from Asian cuisine to local one. There were also few stands of breweries and many that sold drinks in general. The choice was very hard, but at the end we picked two different places for our main dishes and two different for our desserts. We had a portion of fried calamari and of the best grilled meat in town [cit.], and for dessert a slice of a delicious strawberry and chocolate cake and ‘Tonka’, a semi cold chocolate base with raspberry on top. Everything was very very good and relatively cheap and we have been really satisfied of the choice made and grateful for the suggestion received. After our dinner, we decided to have another walk and we headed to the castle, which sits on a hill just near the city center. The road to get there was very steep and we sweat quite a few to get on top, but the view was rewarding and the top of the hill, near the walls of the castle, was full of benches with people and couples chilling, and we joined them retaking our breath. After the castle, we decided to start walking back to the bus stop with calm and without hurrying and so we headed back from where we came from. While walking, a guy who was running a stand invited us to try a ‘puzzle’ that he claimed comes from the mountains of Slovenia. At first we were a bit suspicious, but then we decided to give it a try. The end of the story is that we left 1 hour later with 2 of his puzzles in our backpack, but we had actually a lot of fun in cracking open and then building back (way harder than opening) this small wooden tool while this guy was drinking beer, smoking weed, joking with all the people who approached his stand and last but not least making millions of perfect imitations of birds sounds. As said, we had a lot of fun and we spent basically one hour playing this game before buying it for some Euros mixed with some foreign currency to try to reach the actual price and we have not been the only one, since every person who stopped there also ended up buying at least one of them as well. I guess that sometimes less is more and it was amazing how such a small tool combined with the funny attitude of the guy who spoke at least 10 languages and was telling stories and jokes completed and put the cherry on top of our Slovenian experience that we cannot define less than amazing. We wish we had more time to spend in this city and also to explore some caves nearby because we feel that Ljubljana has a lot to offer and has generally a very pleasant vibe and atmosphere that make us recommend it to anybody looking for a destination even for only a weekend.
With this good day spent in Ljubljana we wish you goodnight and we hope to see you again tomorrow from Italy with some tales from Venice, our next stop, bye!