Ljubljana (lyoob-lyee-AH-nah), Slovenia was quite a change from Bled. While we were pretty laid back in Bled, we ended up doing a lot of sightseeing in Ljubljana, although we took the opportunity to spend some time in coffee houses in the afternoons.
More pictures are on the Ljubljana page.
While we knew it would be a quick train trip from Bled to Ljubljana, we first had to make sure we had the right bus to the train station. We thought we did, and then a bus came but the driver and several riders waved us off. There was another woman at the bus stop who didn't get on either, so we figured that must have been the wrong bus. But then a car came up and picked up the woman, so we were wondering what was happening.
Another bus came along, even though it was quite late (or extremely early for the next one, but we don't think that was likely). This time the driver hopped out, had us put our luggage underneath, then took us to the train station. For all the time we spent waiting for the bus, it seems we could have walked there faster (the ride was only a few minutes).
At the station, several of us were waiting to go towards Ljubljana. However, there was one Japanese tourist who spoke very little English (and even less Slovene), who actually wanted to go the other direction. He eventually found out he wanted to be on Track 2 (we were on Track 1), but even so, he kept wanting to make sure. He'd point the direction we were going, and say "Ljubljana?", and everyone would nod. He'd point the other direction, saying the city he wanted, and everyone would nod again. Then he'd repeat. Our train came on time, but even though his train was supposed to leave at the same time, it hadn't arrived yet. Hopefully he got where he was going.
While on the train, we passed a group of workers who were working next to the tracks. On the other side of them was a cliff. Looked to me like no more than about 8' of clearance, but they seemed to be used to standing there with a speeding train right next to them.
After we arrived, we checked into our Hostel, but since the room wasn't ready, we dropped off our bags and headed into the city. We checked out our options for doing a walking tour, and decided to take a guided one first.
Our guide (facing the camera) was very knowledgable and seemed to know someone on the street almost everywhere we walked. The tourist in the cap said he was also at Lake Bled the day before, and even remembered seeing us walking around the lake. The woman on the left was also staying at our Hostel, and was going around Eastern Europe until her money ran out (she was going to be at Lake Bled the next day). She had already gone through Western Europe, and said she went through more money there than she had planned. As you can see from the picture, it was pretty cold, especially after walking around in the wind for a couple hours.
After the tour we grabbed some lunch in an indoor place to thaw out, then backtracked over a few of the things we saw to fill in the blanks. Later in the afternoon, we went back to the Hostel Celica, which used to be a prison. On one floor, the cells were redone and decorated by different artists for each cell. Our room is the one with the high-up yellow square.
It was hard to get good pictures of the cell, since space was pretty tight (it was, after all, a prison cell). The table in the second picture was on a platform and was made up of just a big plank of wood (really two glued together) on sawhorses.
We had planned our laundry so that we'd be ready to wash things once we got to the Hostel, since we knew they had a machine. Alas, the machine was broken so badly, they were going to need to replace it. So one of the first things we did is a bunch of hand washing, and the fun part was figuring out all the places we could hang things. The ladder rungs ended up each having shirts.
There was WiFi at the Hostel, but only 30 minutes each. Fortunately a half hour was long enough for me to get one post up, but that was about it.
The next day we wandered around the city some more, including walking down to Jože Plečnik's house to see the outside. We had wanted to tour inside, but the house was closed the two days we were in the city.
We also wandered to Tivoli Park to look at the Museum of Contemporary Histry (Muzej novejše zgodovine), but it too was closed. The guides we had said it should have been open, so it must have been a recent change. At least we got to see the tank out in front.
That afternoon we found a caffe to spend part of the afternoon. As we walked in, the guy behind the counter looked at me and said "Konichiwa!" We sat down and ordered, coffee for Melody and hot chocolate for me. Mine was different than what we would think of hot chocolate; it was more like a slightly thinned pudding, heated to be pourable. Very good. As we were paying, I told the guy "Arigato!" and he chuckled. The place also had WiFi but we didn't have our laptops with us.
Construction was happening around Ljubljana. Our guide said that because of the bad global economy, the city thought that now would be a good time to invest in restoring streets and buildings, since the construction costs and loan rates were down.
The next morning we checked out of the Hostel and headed towards the train station. By buying some snacks at the station (with some help from the clerk) Melody was able to use up all our euro coins. We didn't use up all of our euros, however, since we had just received back our €20 deposit from the Hostel. We figured that was OK since it's easier to exchange paper money than coins.