I got up for breakfast and decided to take the train to Ljubljana. The train arrived at 12.30pm. I headed to the tourist office, took a map of the city and asked them what time the next two hour guided walking tour started at. Seeing as I would only be in the city for the day, the guided walking tour was the best option to see the city. The next tour was at 2pm, starting from the Town Hall in the Old Town. The ticket was only 10 euros, which was quite reasonable for a two hour walking tour.
I had about forty five minutes to kill, so after a cup of coffee, I had a quick walk around the nearby streets. When I got to the Town Hall, I could see that there were quite a few people waiting for the tour. The guide was young, I guess around seventeen or eighteen years of age. We had ten people in our group: a couple from Israel, France, half Slovenian half German couple, an American woman, a couple from Finland and I. We started off in the Town Hall, to give us a bit of history about the city. At one point, the Mayor walked through, so the guide said. He was a big man, with black hair. Anyway, after that we headed to Preseren Square and the Triple Bridge.
Preseren is the most famous poet in Slovenia. He wrote for the upper classes but in Slovenian. That was unusual because German was the more common language used for the upper classes.The guide also told us about this Slovenian architect called Joze Plecnik. He was responsible for a lot of the architectural and urban planning in Ljubljana.This architect worked with a lot of the classical art but transformed it to his own taste, added things which were not classical and therefore put a bit of humor into his art. He put pillars on either side of the doorposts of the shops on the indoor market.The pillars, at this point, were all at waist height. They said these pillars were used to put the reins of the horses on them and to protect the corners of the houses. But when we got to the end of the indoor market, the last set of pillars were at knee height. Why?……because the street was going uphill and therefore the pillars were shorter.
St. Nicholas’s Cathedral was the next point on the tour. The design on the front door was done by the same architect. How would you describe it though? It wasn’t a painting but it was like figures of people, telling different stories moulded onto the whole door, in brass. The photo of it here, shows exactly what I mean. Inside was beautiful, all gold plated finishing but the frescoes especially on the ceiling were beautiful. After this, the guide brought us up to the University and the Philharmonic Academy and then to the Library. The windows on the outside of the library building are shaped like open books. Interesting looking building. Revolution Square was a bit further along with a monument which was a tribute to Napoleon. He had a big influence in Slovenia for the four years he was there.
We went on a short twenty minute boat ride which was part of the tour. This part wasn’t so exciting but it was nice to see the Triple Bridge from the water. In general though, it was a very interesting tour, very informative. I enjoyed it. The guide knew her stuff and was able to answer any questions asked.
I went for something to eat in a restaurant/cafe called Cafe Romeo. It was an Italian restaurant and busy, so that’s always a sign that it might be a good place to eat. The food was lovely. I had a beef burrito which was very reasonable too, only 9.40 euros. I knew I was going to miss the 17.42pm train back to Bled and the next train was at 18.53pm, so I just wandered around the city a bit more. I wanted to go back and see majestic Krizanke Square, which used to be the former monastic complex of the Teutonic knights but which is now an open air theatre used for festivals and concerts. It looked wonderful in the Ljubljana brochure, with a lot of arches and architecture but there was a lot of construction going on and unfortunately it was closed off to the public. I had also seen pictures of the Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana, in the Rough Guide book and wanted to go see it. On each corner of the bridge is a snarling, mean looking, curly tailed dragon (in stone, of course), which is the city’s symbol. It was lovely to see. I like all things mythical and magical.
Art Nouveau is prominent in a some of the buildings in Ljubljana. I was told that there was one street with a lot of Art Nouveau buildings and I found it. There was one which was painted in red and blue squares. It stood out amongst the other buildings in the street. I took a few photos and then headed back to the train station.