Another discount flight later, EasyJet this time, and we’re in Milan.
Milano, home to fashion, the 2015 World Expo, and selfie sticks. We were only in Milan two nights, which was fine for us because we weren’t crazy about the place. It was a little bit dirty with not the most welcoming of people. Also all of the main tourist areas were filled with people trying to get you to feed pigeons, buy selfie sticks, or take free bracelets in exchange for a donation.
Unfortunately the line ups were unbearably long, so all of the exhibits seen in the linked slide show had very long waits to actually enter, so saw the “less popular” booths.
So how do you get to Ljubljana (Loo-blee-AWN-ah) from Milan? You train to Trieste, which is an Italian town near the Slovenian border and then bus the rest of the way.
Our first few nights in Ljubljana we’re uneventful and spent in an Airbnb, but we really wanted the downtime. We drank some wine and utilized the TiVo; I learned that I like the show Whitney.
We happened to be around for All Saints Day, so our Airbnb hosts recommended we check out the graveyard. I wasn’t sure why we should go see a graveyard, so I became curious. When we got to the graveyard, a few things seemed odd. All of the grave stones were in remarkable condition and quality, manicured landscapes, huge stones, freshly watered flowers. In this part of the world they really pay their respects, but especially on this holiday.
The next night was Halloween, which kind of snuck up on us, there just isn’t the same kind of Halloween promotion in most European places as compared to North America. Lindy met two guys on the walking tour we later met up with for a Halloween night out, which was interesting.
We grabbed a beer with Francesco and Alessandro, then headed to a place they heard of, which was interesting. It was warehouse where they were putting on some sort of super alternative play. We arrived before it started, but just enough time to get our faces painted (only if we wanted to, they said) we took in the environment for a bit. Unfortunately were requested not to take photos.
Around the time people next to us started communicating through cat noises we figured it was time to move to the next place, Metelkova.
Metelkova is a former army barracks that was abandoned when the Yugoslavian army presence was decreased in the region. Since then, squatters took over in the early 1990’s, now it’s an alternative art/jazz/culinary/nightlife hub for Ljubljana. Give 'er a google to see what it looks like in the night!
When we arrived there it seemed just like a really cool place. There were structures containing bars/clubs, all surrounding a courtyard with some jungle gym style equipment you could climb up on to have some beers. We hung outside for a bit, then went into to a bar playing 1940’s swing music, and got badly beaten in foosball. Top it off with a great kebab on the way home for a pretty solid Halloween.
Remember when we were saying that we were going to find jobs in Slovenia, and you guys we’re all like “Man, Mike & Lindy that’s just going to be too easy and straightforward for you guys” well it turns out it is pretty difficult.
Although basically all urban dwelling Slovenians speak fluent english, the native tongue is required for office jobs. Combine this with it being down season for tourism and the slow Slovenian economy there is a bit of difficulty in the job hunt.
Both areas are inside the huge Triglav National Park, similar to Banff towns. Triglav is the tallest peak in Slovenia at 2,864 m and can be found on the Slovenian flag as the centre peak on the crest.
We did a small hike in Bohinj to the top of Vogar, a sweaty, short, steep climb to some really nice mountain top cottages and viewing areas for the lake below. Hiking down from Vogar, we made a quick pit stop at the outdoor exercise equipment (they really should have these in Canada) then only a 30-40 minute bus to Bled.
Even though many activities were closed because of down season, there were still plenty of things you could do in Bled. Rowing to the Church Island, Vintgar Gorge, walking to view points of the lake, and of course just chillin’ by the lake. Between relaxing and these different activities, we were able to spend an extra night in Bled bring our “weekend” from Ljubljana to three nights.
We stayed at Castle 1004 hostel, another great place. They had an Xbox where on which I played a few competitive FIFA games. Also played Cards Against Humanity with a good group of people. It’s interesting to test the ethical boundaries with international strangers using CAH…
On the bus back to Ljubljana we began to formulate a plan, to dedicate a day to dropping into hostels/hotels to physically drop off some resumes.
“Sorry, not hiring in down season. Maybe come back in May?”
Long story short, we’ve revaluated and are going for jobs now in the Commonwealth somewhere, New Zealand, Australia, or the UK. Upon making this decision, we decided to make the most of the rest of our time in Slovenia. That meant heading south to see the small, Adriatic Slovenian coast town of Piran.
Piran is a historic formerly walled city, filled with winding alley ways easy to get (temporarily) lost in. Neighbouring Potoroj is more of a resort town that you might see in many other parts of the world.
Together they make up a great walk along the water, where if the weather was nice you could basically hop in the sea anywhere you want. Piran was a really nice spot, it had a good assortment of bars and restaurants directly on the water. Since we found a cheap Airbnb and were entertained mostly by walking, it wasn’t overly expensive either.
Now headed back to Ljubljana, to our beloved Zeppelin hostel for the last time was bitter sweet. We had become close with the staff and certainly developed an affection for the city. On our last night in Ljubljana, Lindy and I went out with some of the guests and staff members at the hostel before leaving Slovenia the next day. It was another fun night in Ljubljana with some big hugs good bye at the end.
If you have a 7-10 days to spend in Europe, Lindy and I would certainly agree you could spend all of them in Slovenia and have a great time. I’d say the activities are slightly leaning towards the more active side of things, but still something for everyone.
Well, after Slovenia, Lindy and I figured we’d experience the solo travelling side of the tracks for a bit, we've met far too many travelling by themselves. There's gotta be something to it!
Mike’s headed to Croatia, as Lindy heads to France (don’t worry, she’s perfectly safe!)