A trip to Venice and Ljubljana (part two)


Remember when I told you about my trip to Venice? Sure you do. Well, here’s part two of the escape tale: a trip to Ljubljana in Slovenia. When we decided to go to Ljubljana for the week I really wasn’t sure what to expect so I’m hoping that, if nothing else, this post might help show you what to expect and perhaps tempt you to visit the Slovenian capital. It was wonderful.

Firstly, just to clear up your panic in case you don’t speak Slovenian, don’t worry – you’re fine. Almost all of the Slovenians in Ljubljana speak English and they don’t give you angry stares for not knowing anything. Still, it’s always polite to look like you’re trying so here’s a tip: “hvala” is “thank you”. That will see you through. That said, I did squirm inside when I realised I’d been there for three days and still didn’t know how to say “hello”. Typical English awkwardness ensued. For reference, it’s “pozdravi”.

On top of the ease of communication, here were some other excellent things about the city.

  1. It’s really clean, feels very safe and everyone is incredibly friendly. (You can tell I’m getting old when these are the things I prioritise.)
  2. It’s small and very easy to get around, with some great day-tip-destinations nearby.
  3. It has character. Lots of graffiti (which I love) and  some beautiful buildings as well.

The graffiti in the city varies from quick and easy points of view, to more elaborate paintings and sculptures.

The most impressive building artwork can be found in Metelkova, the main squatters area of Ljubljana city. Local artists and creative types live and work there, and the nightlife is meant to be amazing too. (No I didn’t sample it; I said I’m getting old.) It’s a bit odd because it didn’t feel particularly welcoming and, if anything, I felt like I was intruding as I walked passed people at work. However, all the guides recommend visiting the buildings, the sculptures and sampling the various activities, gigs and studios.

We spent two days wandering around the city and, again, booked central accommodation through Airbnb. Ljubljana is so small that we were able to go out in the morning, come back to the flat and rest for a bit before going out again in the evening. The restaurants were literally on our doorstep and you can walk from one end of the centre to the other in approx 15 mins. I think this might be the most convenient city break for those of us living a life less physical.

The city itself is beautiful and the food is a fantastic combination of Italian and Germanic influences.

This is the view from the castle which you can either walk up to or, my preference, get the short cable car journey to the top. The views are stunning and the two restaurants up there are pretty good too!

Although it’s lovely being in the city, it’s always nice to explore the areas surrounding the city too. We hired a car and drove to Lake Bled and on to Lake Bohinj. Both beautiful, both touristy, but hiring a rowing boat provided the idyllic isolation we were after. Just look at these views.

After a couple of days exploring the countryside, we headed back to Ljubljana city and ate more pasta, more goulash and more pancakes. (Did I mention Ljubljana is full of pancakes? So good.) Then a couple of days after that, we went back to Venice for a couple more pizzas, some leather bag shopping and a flight home.

It’s been a really wonderful relaxing holiday and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I know that for a lot of fibro sufferers the ‘escape’ is more about the break than the destination, and I definitely second that. I love exploring the world, but there is nothing better than leaving home, leaving work and resting somewhere new – regardless of where that somewhere may be. It’s the boost my broken body so frequently needs, so here’s hoping there’s a few more escapes next year.