We spent two days at Slovenia, one day at Lake Bled and one at the capital Ljubljana.
A former member of the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was the first of the six regions to gain independence. It’s also one of the first former-communist countries to join the Eurozone. The vibe here definitely felt more affluent than the other three former Yugoslavia republics (Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro) we visited.
Surrounded by the Julian Alps, Lake Bled and the surrounding area are breathtakingly beautiful! The castle on the hill made it even more fairy tale-like picturesque. We took the hard (dumb) way to climb up to the castle though, it was quite tiring. There’s a natural small island in the middle of Lake Bled where a church is built. It’s only accessible by hand row boats.
The Capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana felt like a smaller, less goth version of Prague to me. Slovenia was under Austrian’s Hapsburg Empire rule for a long time so all the architectures in Old town Ljubljana felt very “Hapsburg-y”. Just like Prague, the old town area felt very quaint and almost too cute at places. Overall there’s not a lot to see in old town, you can see all the sights within hours. It’s more about just strolling around and hang out in cafes and relax.
On Gornji street, we went to one of the best restaurants we had in this trip: Spajza. It’s a cute Slovenian restaurant where the interior feels like someone’s home. There’s a pretty patio in the back. However, within 10 minutes of this photo was taken, heavy rain poured down and all of us had to grab out plates and move inside.
Zlikrofi: pasta stuffed with cheese, bacon and chives with meat sauce. A traditional Slovenian dish, it’s a dish that perfectly taste like both Italian and Austrian/Eastern European. It was very delicious.
28 Gornji, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Another specialty of Slovenia is the Kremsnita, which means cream cake. A vanilla and custard cream dessert. We had one at a cute cafe call Zvezda right by the Congress Square. A good treat to have during coffee break!
If you ventured off the old town area of Ljubljana, you immediate see a very different side of the city. For example:
Metelkova Mesto: An ex-army garrison taken over by squatters and became a complex of art spaces, bars and clubs. A huge contrast from the quaint old town. It’s quite a sight of its own. You can see more pictures here.
In fact the more we venture off the quaint old town, the more graffiti you see all over. It’s kind of out of control at some places. There’re some nice “street art” ones but most of them are ugly. We spotted some Neo Nazi ones too.
Back to the old town, again on Gornji Street:
Pri Zelenem Zajcu
Rožna ul. 3, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia