The weather was still dry when we left Škofja Loka and returned to Ljubljana on the worn out old bus and back in the city we wandered down the left bank of the river and took in some of the sights that we had missed the night before.
Starting at the heart of the city we visited Prešeren Square, with a statue of Slovenia’s greatest romantic poet France Prešeren that looks out over the cobbles and the Triple Bridge and then followed a route to the city centre to find somewhere suitable for lunch. We found a promising little place in the main street called the Julija where we enjoyed a simple but satisfying lunch and some Slovenian Lašco beer and some wine. It was a pleasant little restaurant with friendly staff and we liked it so much that on the way out we booked a table for evening meal later.
In the afternoon we walked around the market, which although extensive was disappointingly repetitive with the same type of stalls reoccurring in a sort of cyclical way every thirty metres or so. The merchandise was disappointing too because I had been expecting local crafts like those in Riga and Krakow but here there was a lot of cheap rubbish at inflated prices that didn’t interest me in any way at all.
The regular market was much more interesting and even though it was getting towards the end of the day the stalls were colourful and exciting and the vendors were enjoying brisk trade as the market heaved with hectic activity. Through the market we passed over Dragon Bridge, which was built in 1900 to commemorate the forty-year anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Josef and is so called because of the four large green dragons, which sit at each corner of the structure. There is a legend that the dragons wag their tails if a virgin walks past and although I looked closely there was not the slightest flicker as we crossed from one side to the other.
It was late afternoon now and time for a stop so we found a bar, ordered some drinks and debated the weather again. We had hoped for snow and Micky had continued to promise a fall by the end of the day. Sadly, despite being a man of the country, we were all beginning to slightly lose confidence in his weather forecasting abilities, as the prospects didn’t look good at all. We all secretly hoped that there might be some small chance that he might be right however.
When we left the bar it was getting dark and true to form Christine had the tumble that we had all been anticipating. This time she did her impression of a human missile when she tripped over the kerb and either with good luck or accurate precision crashed into Micky, which was fortunate because it prevented an otherwise certain collision with the pavement and face rearrangement.
After a quick change and freshen up we reassembled in the hotel bar and to our complete delight the drunk guest was there again doing his very best to ruin a second evening. What was intriguing was that they were both wearing exactly the same clothes as the previous night but one thing that was different was that this time his partner was even more irate and she verbally berated him about his behaviour. This had no effect whatsoever of course because he was in no fit state to understand what was happening to him.
As she called for a taxi I think he tried to placate her but she was having none of it and she pushed him away as she stormed out of the doors and left him in his alcoholic stupor. He wandered around the lobby like a ship lost in fog without navigational equipment or a rudder, went up and down in the lift, returned to the bar to finish his drink and then hung around reception no doubt wondering where his partner had gone. She returned about thirty minutes later and took him away and with the entertainment over we finished our drinks and walked back into the city.
It was nicer tonight because the weather was much improved and we were able to appreciate the Christmas lights much better without umbrellas to worry about. The market was much more vibrant as well and there were great numbers of local people enjoying the market and the company. We joined the cheerful crowd of people as we walked through the market stalls again and then enjoyed a hot mulled wine before we returned to the Julija for our second visit of the day.
The food was good and the personable waiters went through their well-rehearsed routine of little gags and quips. Micky ordered wild mushroom risotto and the waiter advised him to be careful because some of them might be poisonous, this backfired on him a little bit however when Micky informed him that in real life he was a food inspector!
Other Market stories: