We woke up early this morning so we could catch the bus to get to the train station. It was the perfect morning in Salzburg – makes sense because we were leaving. It is nice, however, because we really felt that we did a great job of exploring the city – there was nothing left for us to see, which is always a great feeling. Actually, thus far, I have more or less felt like that when leaving each city. I was worried it was going to be too fast of a trip, but it really isn’t!!
The train trip was phenomenal. Definitely one of the most spectacular that I have ever done. The first train from Salzburg to Villach (or something close – located on the border between Austria and Slovenia) was typical landscape with lots of small towns and corn; however after changing trains, the scenery was spectacular. We went through the longest tunnel I have ever been though and on the other side we were surrounded by lush forest and huge majestic mountains. I think it would be comparable to taking the train through the Rockies – but I’ve never done that, so I can’t say! It was incredible…and there wasn’t a person or cow or house to be seen for at least an hour after this tunnel. I really do like the mountains!
We passed several towns en route including Lake Bled, where we may go tomorrow if we have finished with Ljubljana. We could tell we were arriving into Ljubljana because it was much more industrial and sprawling than any of the other little towns we passed along the way. It didn’t look like any of the other European cities that we have visited. It actually looked a lot more like an industrial North American city! There were big supermarkets and IKEA-looking stores and more space than elsewhere over hear. A lot of concrete and a lot less green.
We arrived at the station around 1pm and decided to walk down to the centre. It wasn’t as far as it showed on the map, which is always a good thing. Walking was interesting, however, because there were no people in the streets at all! It was like we left all of the tourists back in Austria! It was kind of a nice change, but it was rather odd to be in such a dead city.
The buildings weren’t well maintained, however, it was still evident we were in Europe – no dramatic changes, by any means. There was very interesting graffiti on some of the walls…made for interesting pictures, that’s for sure. Seems like not everyone appreciates capitalism! The streets were wide, and empty, but had the same stores that are common everywhere – much to Sophie’s dismay. She was convinced things were going to be dirt cheap in Slovenia. I know she was disappointed, although she still managed to buy a pair of shoes!!
We walked in the main circle and saw the pink Church of the Annunciation, but we were unable to go inside. Leading away from this main square was a very cool bridge – called the triple bridge, because there were actually three parts over the water. Kind of cool. On the opposite side, there was a HUGE market – which made me really happy. There were a tonne of souvenier-type stalls, as well as some not so tacky things. I bought a wooden spoon and fork for salads – 1E each – as well as these FIMO fork and spoon that I want to bring to work. Both things no indication that they came from Slovenia, but I think wood is a common thing here, and there were some lovely bowls, but I figured I didn’t really have the place to put a wooden bowl – and I already have one from Costa Rica.
We saw the town hall, the university, the library, the park, and the castle. The castle is on the hill in the centre, much like the fort in Salzburg. However, Sophie and I were dying from carrying our bags around in the sun, so instead of actually going up to visit the castle, we stayed by the river and ate an ice cream cone. Almost the same thing, really!!
En route back to the train station to meet our next couch surfing host, we stopped at the Dragon Bridge, which seems to be one of the famous sites in the city. We got lots of dragon pictures!!
Krista met us where we had planned. She was very nice, but seemed quite busy and over planned (like me normally!). She had forgotten that she had a plan to hike up a hill with her friend tonight and we were to come with her. I would have loved to hike up the hill if I didn’t have this ridiculous blister on my heal (who ever heard of getting a heal blister from sandals…driving me crazy!) and if we didn’t have all of our things. Her car was a little sketchy, with a trunk that wouldn’t lock or even close properly, so Sophie and I didn’t want to leave our things – passport, money, computer, etc in the car while we went up the mountain. It was too bad, but I think we are probably getting enough exercise from walking around the cities for 4 hours with our packs, in any case.
Instead of hiking up the mountain, we headed off to the grocery store – bags and everything – to get some food for dinner tonight as well as food for Bled tomorrow – as we had decided by this point that we had seen enough of Ljubljana.
We had a nice picnic by the river while waiting for Krista…and then we waited and waited and waited! Apparently they met some friends up on the mountain and they had a few beers at the pub up on the top and ended up being 1.25 hours late in getting back to the car! Sophie and I had nowhere to go, so we sat there in the parking lot waiting! She sat plucking her leg hair and I read. It was kind of funny, I mean, really – what could we do? Anyway, Krista eventually returned from the mountain and we drove back to her house.
She was going out tonight, and we were welcome to go with her, but by that time it was about 9:30 and sleep seemed like a better idea. So, we skipped being sociable and went to bed instead! Too bad, however, I am already getting a cold, and I’d rather not, if I could!!
It should be a good sleep!