Actually the Hotel Park wasn’t so bad after all and we had a comfortable and undisturbed night’s sleep, well at least until quite early morning when the excitable children started to run about the corridors and bang the doors as loud as they could as they went up and down the stairs to the breakfast room.
Thoroughly woken up I decided to go and investigate. OMG what an experience! The breakfast room consisted of cheap chipboard furniture and a buffet area that resembled a war zone with hundreds of kids, free from parental control and going completely crazy. I took some tea back to the room and shared this information and we decided to walk into the city for breakfast instead. This turned out to be a mistake because we walked along both banks of the river and into the city centre but were unable to locate anywhere providing breakfasts so we had to admit defeat and return to the hotel to suffer the indignity of a canteen breakfast. Actually it wasn’t that bad but the experience isn’t something that I will be bragging about in my travel recollections.
When we left the hotel again and returned to the City it was becoming very warm and we walked through the busy market square that was buzzing with mid morning activity and on to the entrance to the Ljubljana castle which stands with a brooding omnipresence in a dominant position high above the city. There was a funicular train to the top of the castle hill, which was not as dramatic as the ascent in Prague but transported us there efficiently and to the top of the castle battlements that gave uninterrupted views over the city and the countryside around. The castle wasn’t especially impressive or interesting, too much of it has been recently and unsympathetically restored and we quickly tired of it and returned to the city down a steep pathway that should have had good views of the city but which were obscured by trees and overgrown shrubs.
Back at the bottom of the hill and in the city we paid a visit to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas and then walked back through the market where a film crew were making a commercial that was attracting the attention of the locals but which made absolutely no sense to us at all. It was time for beer so we returned to what was already our favourite Ljubljana bar and enjoyed a lunchtime break under glorious blue skies and temperatures topping 30° centigrade and the day was humid and without a breeze to relieve the heat. The river was busy with tourist boats that passed below us as part of the city river tour and the street was full of activity with both tourist and locals who were enjoying the weather and the sociable environment. Today we tried the alternative Union beer but both agreed that we preferred the Lašco so agreed to stick to that in future. There is a tradition in Slovenia that once you have chosen your favourite brew that you remain loyal to that preference forever and we were simply following that tradition.
It was comfortable here and we were soaking up the café society culture. Ljubljana is a small city with only two hundred and sixty thousand residents and a quarter of these are students so this population imbalance has a big impact on the character of the city. We were reluctant to leave but there were things to do and sights to see so after a pleasant break we continued our walking tour of the City.
We crossed back over the Triple Bridge that was built in 1931 in the Venetian style by Joźe Plečnik and walked down the left bank of the river past Cobblers bridge, also designed by Plečnik, and on to the suburb of Krakovo, which is a traditional Slovenian area just a few hundred metres out of the city centre and next to the University quarter.
Plečnik was an inspirationalist who almost single handily responsible for the layout and design of modern Ljubljana and he remodelled the city in the early part of the twentieth century with works to improve the riverbanks and the addition of bridges and other fine buildings in the City. In this part of the city there were extensive allotments and vegetable gardens with impressive produce already bearing substantial fruit and further on traditional old houses now being renovated by owners with money to spare in the post Yugoslavian era.