The weather was better in Ljubljana and we wandered down the left bank of the river and took in some of the sights that we had missed on our previous visit. We started at the heart of the city, Prešeren Square, with a statue of Slovenia’s greatest romantic poet France Prešeren that looks out over the square and the Triple Bridge.
Further down the river is the a third crossing that completes Ljubljana’s trio of famous bridges, this one is called Cobblers Bridge, also built by Plečnik and so called because artisans traditionally sold their wares here. And it is no different now because today the bridge was full of stalls selling crafts and souvenirs. We passed by the impressive façade of the Opera House, but this was an Opera House without a theatre because it was in a state of demolition and being restored, then the National Gallery and after that the National Assembly building.
We walked back along the river that today was green and sluggish and steadily filling up with litter to such an extent that it looked about ready for another “Za lepso Ljubljano” but it wasn’t unpleasant and it didn’t prevent us from stopping at the Café Promenade for refreshment on our way back to the Hotel. We had become regulars by now and the attentive waitresses instinctively knew our orders without enquiry. We sat for a while and absorbed the local atmosphere; the al fresco business meetings, the families with children in grubby clothes and the woman with the aromatic cigarettes and we felt comfortable and calm in this relaxed atmosphere.
Later we dined again at the Julija because once we have found a place we like we just have to make absolutely sure and even though tonight we had to wait for a table we were determined that we would eat here again. There is nothing wrong with that, once in Barcelona not only did we eat at the same restaurant three nights on the trot but we had paella every evening as well. At the Julija we did try different dishes on the menu but we did have a rather nice almond cake to finish every night. After the meal we walked along the river but the town was busier tonight so we were unable to find a table overlooking the river in the busy student quarter so we were obliged to return to the more sedate Café Promenada where we had our final drinks of the day before returning to the barrack room for a last glass of Slovenian wine and sleep.
There was one more morning to spend in Ljubljana and so after breakfast and check out from the Hotel Park we repeated some of our earlier sight seeing through the city. First of all we walked through the market, which was especially busy and vibrant this morning on account of it being Saturday I suppose. The stalls were colourful and exciting and the vendors were enjoying brisk trade as the market heaved with hectic activity.
The streets too were full of commercial activity and both sides of the river were lined with traders and craftsmen selling both essential and non-essential merchandise. At the end of one of the city’s main streets there was a fountain with Saturday morning winos enjoying an early drink. One of them attempted to impress us with his footballing skills but was too completely uncoordinated to be able to convert the moves that he clearly had in his mind to any sort of physical skills. And besides he was attempting all of this with the cork from a wine bottle and that may even have proved too challenging for even someone as talented as David Beckham.
After a final look at the Art Nouveau area and at Eastern Europe’s first ever skyscraper, which turned out to be a rather disappointingly small building we stopped for a final drink at the Café Promenada and then collected our bags and made our way to the bus station for the journey back to the airport. On the bus Kim slept of course and I enjoyed the colourful scenery and soon we were checked-in and enjoying the last of the sunshine in an airport terrace bar where we had our last Lašcos and a sandwich before we boarded the plane and had a trouble free flight back to Stansted.
We enjoyed Ljubljana; our favourite things were Lake Bled and Škofja Loka, the Café Promenada and the Julija restaurant, we liked the weather including the dramatic thunderstorms and even the Hotel Park grew on us after a while. Was there anything that we didn’t like, well the graffiti was a bit of a mess and it would have been nice just once to have had a quiet peaceful breakfast I suppose.