Europe’s Top Cities- #7

              Ljubljana is my favourite city that I cannot pronounce. I’ve been sticking with a yub-yaana sound but I have trialled lub- laana and lajub-layana, it remains a mystery to me. (Wikipedia says lju:b’lja:ne which I can’t even read). Luckily for everyone involved I only have to type it and not sing it so I don’t really know what I am on about. Feel free to play around with it and see what strange sounds you come up with, let me know if you get anything city sounding.

              If you thought the name was interesting, the city it is for is even more intriguing. Our visit came after a busy few days in Italy on our road trip and was a welcome change from the manic streets of Venice and Rome. My knowledge of Slovenia was nearly non-existent when we crossed the border, an ignorance shared by the sat-nav that went blank as soon as we reached Slovenian soil. All I know now is that I adore the country. Outside of the idyllic city is a sprawling landscape of the most beautiful mountains, forests and lakes I have ever driven through and the roads to Ljubljana were incredible. Lake Bled is understandably the country’s most iconic attraction with the island inhabiting church rising out of the clear blue waters with the snow-capped mountains for a backdrop, but there is so much more to see in this gorgeous country. The striking canyons and the green forests remain secret wonders and as a driving experience I have never been anywhere better (maybe Norway but sshh). In the heart of a country full of natural marvels is a city in keeping with the surrounding beauty.

              The Ljubljanica River runs gently through the city centre, snaking between medieval buildings and calm squares. It is crossed by a sequence of iconic bridges and we started our sightseeing at one of the most famous. Leaping out from Preseren Square, under the delightful pink façade of the Franciscan Church, the Triple Bridge is uniquely designed with two pedestrian walkways flanking the central main bridge. Crossing from the main square leads to the medieval city gates and then onwards to the city’s town hall which stands at the foothills of Castle Hill. If I was ever to build a castle, I would do what the wise Slovenians have done at sit it at the top of somewhere called Castle Hill. There has been a castle on this site for almost a Millenia and the current structure is made mostly of buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. From its strong lookout towers you are greeted with an astonishing view out across the old town, the newer suburbs and into the endless green forests beyond. The castle is the symbol of the city, with a dragon sitting atop its tower. This mythical beast is associated with the marshes outside of the city which threaten to flood it and is also said to have been the monster that Jason (of the argonauts) slayed on his return home with his fancy golden fleece. The walk up from the river is pleasant and 100 percent worth it.

              The walk back down to the city en route to another fantastic bridge that adorns four dragon statues, aptly named Dragon Bridge, is a great chance to grab some Ljubljana delicacies. Kranjska Klobasa is a tasty-sounding treat which is a Slovenian favourite. It is a smoked sausage and must contain pork, beef and bacon. Struklji is doughy dish with a variety of fillings and Prezganka is a lovely soup. Once you are full of hearty Slovenian food you will be ready to set back out into this wonderful city. There are plenty of lively market squares full with stalls to stock up some more snacks and then you will be set to leave the city and explore more of this epic country.

              From the range of crazy bridges, the formidable castle and the tasty food, there was plenty to keep us happy in the Slovenian capital. The quiet, clean streets and the mazey cobbled back roads were mesmerising and medieval squares and buildings equally so. The surrounding nature, the beautiful roads and the beauty of Lake Bled helped endear the country to us, but even without them, Ljubjana is a special place.             

If you want to read the original post from my time in Slovenia, please follow this link- https://thecampervanmanblog.com/2017/08/26/europe-12-slovenia-the-best-place-on-earth-2/

Image by traveldudes from Pixabay

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