When we planned a trip here we thought the country is small and planned a short break.Small it may be: but there's so much to see and do with attractions,beaches,villages and towns only a short ride by train ,bus or car we realized we needed more time to explore.It's easy to get from one end of the country to the other.
We first discovered Slovenia through an article in Lonely planet-the pictures of the dragon bridge in Ljubljana and of lake Bled captivated me.Hubby and I decided to take a short break in Slovenia on our European trip back in the autumn of 2010.We missed a few trains and landed up at 9 PM in Ljubljana the capital city.All we knew at that point in time was that Slovenia was once part of Yugoslavia and close to Croatia.I wasn't too comfortable with strolling the streets of a new country late at night but...We got to the hotel,put down our luggage and went into town to have dinner as it was my birthday.The old town was abuzz with people strolling about,eating at outdoor cafes and as we passed a hotel we saw folks waltzing inside that lifted our spirits. After dinner,we strolled along the famous dragon bridge and Preseren square where we came upon a bridge with locks on it's railings,left back by lovers... sealing their love on that bridge I guess.
The next day after breakfast we went again to the old town.What a lovely day it was!Cold air and warm sunshine coupled with friendly,helpful people everywhere that made us feel welcome.
Below-Dragon bridge with four dragons two a each end of the bridge.
We Strolled along till we came by the central market near Preseren bridge.
Fruits,vegetables,clothes,paintings,crafts and out door cafes in the market place to eat and chat in the warm sunshine.It was all so lovely!On a short break what one can see and do is limited.You need to pick just a few attractions to see.The castle on the hill we couldn't miss seeing for sure.
Continuing on with our stroll around Ljubljana we found our selves in front of the famous St. Nicholas church with it's beautifully crafted doors.
We also spotted some Ceramic items among other things in the central market near presener bridge.I bought a little painted wooden wine barrel as a souvenir to take back, that cost me 4 Euros.
We admired the Franciscan church of the annunciation that's by Preseren bridge from the outside for lack of time.This is a very old church built in the 16TH century and worth a visit.
And that's me in the old town.
The Ljubljana castle:
There are three ways to reach the castle: By the funicular/cable car,by the tourist train and the other way is to walk up a steep hill,the views all around are wonderful.We walked up and took the funicular on the way back down.The history of this castle on the hill in Ljubljana dates back to the15TH century, being used for a time as a jail from the 18TH century till around the 2nd world war-today it's a tourist attraction with some portions rented out for weddings twice a week.While there we saw a documentary on Ljubljana castle & the town in 3D which gave us a sense of the place considering what little time we had for sightseeing.Also within the castle complex is an outdoor cafe and a shop selling Slovenian crafts near the entrance.
Back down we walked by central market and took in the beauty of Saint Nicholas church from the outside.This church has a rich history and was built around the 17TH century,I heard it is beautiful on the inside too but,we didn't go in for lack of time.
Now, if you care to see the castle in Ljubljana:
Funicular/cable car starts off from near the puppet theater.
Tourist train: old town square/central market area.
Walking: Paths lead from the old town/central market area up to the castle.
Getting around is easy as most attractions are a short walk away from each other ,you can also hire a bike/car if you get tired of walking.
After lunch we took a bus to Bled one hour away from Ljubljana.A charming town famous for it's lake,church, castle and near by forest.We strolled along lake Bled which has an island in the middle with an old church that can be reached by wooden pletna or boat.The service is from 9 AM-5PM,we arrived a wee bit late.Too bad we couldn't get to the Island.
There is a castle on the hill which we wanted to see but could not hike up to because we were too tired after hiking up that hill in Ljubljana in the morning,two hills in one day? no way!but we did visit an old church on the way up with interesting frescoes.However,if we had more time and energy it would have been nice to hike up to the castle near lake Bled.
That's the castle on the hill in the pic below.
Then we headed into a 100 year old restaurant and had a Slovenian meal.The owner was a stern looking lady but she warmed up when we appreciated her food and thanked her.Slovenia is also famous for wine,so if you like the stuff you might want to buy some.
A short break is not enough to explore this amazing country but at least we got to see some thing of Ljubljana and Bled without rushing about from one attraction to the next.In Bled we stayed in the lovely village Gorenje with the julian Alps around and near the trig lav national park.Again,if we had the time we would have loved to explore the triglav national park.
Getting to Bled from Ljubljana:
Trains:Will get you there in half an hour.
Bus: From near the train station area buses will take you to Bled in 1hour's time.
Getting around Bled: Everything seems to be around lake Bled.Explore the area on foot or by taxi.Our taxi driver doubled up as a guide and we enjoyed his company.We shall take his services again when we visit in the future.MR.Darko of taxi darko.
Trains to Slovenia: From nearby Austria and Italy trains go in a few hours time to Ljubljana.We used www.bahn.com to check train schedules and fares and found it convenient.
There's much beauty in this little country and interesting places to visit.We couldn't see it all on a short break,but,would love to travel there again.