Friday, April 17, 2015

Girl's Trip Ya'll... Here's to Slovenia

When I think of Eastern Europe, I have immediate thoughts of that scene from EuroTrip when the adventurous protagonists manage to find themselves in Bratislava.  And it's run down, and it's scary, and it's dirty.  So, when my girlfriends said they wanted to take a weekend and do a fun girl's trip to Slovenia, THOSE were the images I was struggling with inside.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The Ljubljana city center near our hotel, picturing: The Statue of France Preseren,
The Franciscan Church of Annunciation, and The (green domed building),
Grand Union Hotel, where we stayed!

On every corner there was a different cuisine, ranging from Indian to Mediterranean to Italian to a funky and tasty Slovenian/German fusion.  We tried as many different varieties as we could in our two day/one night trip and had no complaints about our full bellies.  There were toy stores and clothing stores with original, European fashions mixed in with your typical, touristy shops and high-end boutiques.  Of course we stopped into the corner wine store and snatched up some Slovenian white wine, which they favor over red.  I found myself venturing into, and spending quite a bit of time scouring, a fantastic little record store where I left with James Taylor, Carol King, and Bob Marely albums (and a giant smile on my face). It's a beautiful little town with so many French Bulldogs and Whippets winding through the streets with their sleek and gorgeous owners on the ends of their leashes.  There was a constant stream of music flowing through the air; a young, vibrant violinist heading one alley, and an older accordion player setting up shop on the main bridge.  We were lucky on our second day to get to wander through a market and taste fresh bear and truffle salami, sample the fresh produce, see all the little trinkets and tchotchkes, and smell all the "food truck" treats.

View from our hotel room (Grand Union Hotel) on our first night in Ljubljana

The city from the top of the castle

There's such a diverse aesthetic in the architecture!  Certainly, a large number of the buildings you see are designed in a very European way, with the red/orange clay tiled roof style.  But, every now and then, you stumble upon a much more modern-feeling structure.  I left the city feeling they had done quite a seamless job at melding the two worlds.  

The ride up the cable car to the Ljubljana Castle

The history is interwoven into everything.  We spent a great deal of time walking through the city and inside the castle.  The castle has a long and complicated past, but by far the best part for me was the view from the very top.  It's, quite literally, breathtaking; we were lucky for the wonderfully clear day we had to see for miles and miles.  After all was said and done, though, I did wish we had at least one more day to adventure through what Ljubljana held for us to discover.

The organ inside the Franciscan Church of Annunciation
It was an amazing time, and a place I most certainly would suggest to anyone venturing into Eastern Europe.  I could've spent two FULL days exploring JUST Ljubljana, so I imagine there's plenty more to do in other parts of the country as well (we thought about going to some caves there as well, but time just didn't allow).  And the Grand Union was extremely well-priced for how fantastic it was!

Until next time...