Saturday, June 12, 2004

I collect Matthew from Cambridge and head over to Bernie's. Bernie drives us to Stansted Airport.

Courtesy of Easyjet, and a 2 hour flight, we're in Ljubljana.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

MountainsLjubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is on a plain, surrounded by mountains.

We board a coach at the airport  to get to Ljubljana bus station. Curiously, the driver detours via an obscure route though a forest. We soon realise why: he's giving a lift to his mates.

We spot the Hotel Lev as we drive in to Ljubljana. This is the hotel Matthew had previously booked. The hotel's fine, comfortable and modern. Yes, I said modern. Ljubljana is definitely in 2004. Any pre-conceived notions I had of entering East Europe and stepping back into the past were soon gone.

I have a new toy with me: a Blackberry. It's a mobile phone with email, Internet web browser, and note making facilities. But the mobile phone company in Ljubljana doesn't support GPRS! I can't play with my toy! This means emailing folks back home is not possible. I'm not connected to the Internet!
Arcus BarNew copper roofWe're amused by the Bar "Arcus" around the corner from the hotel. "Arcus" is such an odd name, it's also my compatriot's surname. (Matthew's Shetland ancestry.)

We never did get to have a pint there - it was always closed.
Francisan ChurchvineWe wander to the three bridges in the centre of Ljubljana. Decent rock guitar is played in the Franciscan church.

We investigate the monastery courtyard attached to the church - and get locked in! That will teach us for being inquisitive.

It's a steady walk up to the castle. There's toy train to take you up the hill, if your legs are past it. We declined.
Ceiling emblazoned with the heraldic devices of the upper ranks of mediaeval Germanic chivalryCastleDon't walk on the grass! (You get shouted at!)

The castle, like many places we visited, would make a great Quake level.

Matthew enthuses over the chapel's ceiling: "Oooh, look, Thurn und Taxis, Ulrich von Lichtenstein, very nice". The ceiling is emblazoned with the heraldic devices of the upper ranks of mediaeval Germanic chivalry.

There are good views of the town and surrounding mountains from the tower.

I look down longingly at the toy train.

CastleTower at twilightWe found that most of the castles, palaces etc. along the way were very much Germanic, with the Slavic peasantry confined to towns below. (The name "Slav" is cognate with "slave".)

Back in the town below we enjoy some mighty fine Union Beer and steak. (24 all in) (Fortunately, we don't have any vegetarians with us: the veggie options do seem limited.)

It begins to rain.

Pivo (beer) is about 1.42 for 500mL, around half the price of beer at home.

GraffitiNot warning about coffee, but rising bollardsDuring our evening repast the weather worsened - lightening and downpour.

May be I should have brought a coat with me. (Idiot! Fancy expecting fine weather!)

Back at the hotel there's a pleasant dark beer on offer. Soon we're in bed (separate single beds, if you must know) listening to the thunder rolling around the city.

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