Many people outside of Europe are unfamiliar with the small country of Slovenia, located at the tip of the Adriatic Sea and bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia.  It used to be part of Yugoslavia until it seceded in 1991.

Map of Slovenia

Map of Slovenia

I’ve been hearing great things about the country from travel aficionados and was looking forward to visiting it for myself.  I arrived in the capital city of Ljubljana (pronounced LOOB lee ahna) after a long train ride (beginning in Budapest with changes in Vienna and Villach along the way) and checked into my hotel (Hotel Cubo – LOVED it!) just a bit before 10pm.

Modern, yet cozy room at Hotel Cubo

Modern, yet cozy room at Hotel Cubo

I had one full day to check out the city and was determined to see what I could.  The weather had actually taken a cool turn, which was a nice break from the constant heat of the past few of weeks.

Overhead view of Ljubljana

Overhead view of Ljubljana

Ljubljana is a cute little city, whose historical center is situated along the Ljubljanica River.  There are several bridges which cross the Ljubljanica, the most notable of which are the Triple Bridge and the modern Butcher’s Bridge which is noteworthy for the padlocks (or “love locks”) attached to its railings by couples to symbolize eternal love for each other…they attach the lock and throw the key into the river (similar to the Pont des Arts in Paris).

Triple Bridge

Triple Bridge

"Love locks" on Butcher's Bridge

“Love locks” on Butcher’s Bridge

I found the city to be pretty, clean, friendly and progressive, boasting a multitude of trendy restaurants, charming cafes, fashionable boutiques and well-preserved historical monuments, the most famous of which is Ljubljana Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city.  It is very easy to navigate the city and communication is aided by the fact that most everyone speaks English.

Ljubljana Castle overlooking the city

Ljubljana Castle overlooking the city

After a day of exploring the city, I had a fantastic dinner at a restaurant called Valvas’or, situated along a cobbled street not far from the city hall.  I ended up joining a couple of friendly guys from Belgium who were sitting at the table next to mine and who were also visiting Ljubljana for the first time.  They were as impressed with it as I was.

Valvas'or Restaurant

Valvas’or Restaurant

Unfortunately, since I was sans iPhone (which also served as my camera), I was unable to take pictures during my visit, but have included a few on this post that were pulled from the web.

I really enjoyed my stay, and wish I had more time to explore outside the city.  Lake Bled is supposed to be magnificent, but will have to wait until next time.   Next stop: Venice!

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  1. Dan Ferko says:

    Hi Kim – It’s your Bhutanian friends from Canada Anne and Dan Ferko! Been following your epic journey since we saw you in Bhutan in the spring. Amazing! – Glad you loved Ljubljana. My parents are Slovenian and we did a Backroads trip a year ago riding from Venice / Udine Italy to Lake Bled over the Julian Alps and it was spectacular. We then went on to Ljubljana and had the same thoughts as you – beautiful city! In fact we also stayed at the Hotel Cubo. You should put all your journey notes into a travel book and sell it, you are very good at it. Enjoy the balance of your trip and looking forward (as always) to the next installment of “Kim’s Gap Year. Take care – Anne and Dan Ferko – Toronto

    • Kim Natale says:

      So nice to hear from my favorite Canadians! I’m still having a great time, but can’t seem to keep up with my blog. Am currently in France taking a 2 week French course in Sancerre, and my studies have gotten in the way of my blogging. Still having a wonderful time and can’t believe that my ‘gap year’ will soon come to an end. If I could earn a living from my blog, I would happily do so! There is so much to see and experience in this great big world. Thank you for following along. Next post to come soon… Tout le meilleur!

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