well, it’s been a while since i’ve felt like keeping up on this travelogue–so now let’s pick up where we left off: ljubljana, slovenia.
caught the afternoon train from zagrab–the train was a couple hours long and wound through the loveliest scenery! all mountainous with rivers and trees and slanting late afternoon sunlight. we sat with a friendly swedish couple who flattered me by asking if i was swedish (1/16, which is not enough to count…) and it was very pleasant to pass the time chatting with them and drinking warm cans of ožujsko beer, which was all the train canteen offered.
by the time we were checked into our hostel, it was fully dark. we walked a couple blocks to the closest restaurant, which served incredible italian food, and i am not easily impressed by italian cusine…! we caught the end of a euro cup game while eating on the patio, surrounded by the sounds of the surprisingly italian-sounding slovenian language. the night was warm and it was a really pleasant way to wind down the day.
the next day, i woke up early and rented a bike from the youth hostel. we stayed quite far from the city centre, but it was a wonderful bike ride in. biking without a helmet felt strange and gross, but there were bike paths along the sidewalk and i never went fast enough to feel stressed. i explored the downtown, seeking out a tiny cemetery, stopping in the old town for gelato and a latte, snapping photos of the walls covered in graffiti, the curlicued buildings, the dragons protecting bridges, the green ljubljanica wandering through town. the ruins of a roman wall (!!!!!) which i had to run my hands over reverently. it was built in 14-15 ad, was the oldest thing i’d ever laid hands on, and i had to touch it and try to imagine all the time and hands between it being built, and me standing there with my heart leaping.
ljubljana is one of those cities where the old town is beautiful, like prague, and you’re stumbling on beautiful views every way you turn. i started up a winding road called ‘students way’ and soon found myself snaking up castle hill, under arches made of trees, shading me from the 30C+ heat.
i biked around and around and around, until i met my traveling companion for supper, and then we had a terrible supper. after that, we stood around and watched the river run, watched the people walk by, as the light got more golden. then i biked back to the hostel, feeling my heart huge with happiness. an evening bike ride with a colourful sky and warm air around me and a skirt fluttering around my legs and mind full of so much beauty…! well, you may be able to understand why i felt a bit swoony and lovedrunk.
the next day rose with crazy heat again, so we spent the morning being lazy in the hotel and eating popsicles before venturing out into the city. we went to a vegetarian restaurant (!), and after lunch checked out the natural history museum. to my extreme delight, the museum is one of those rare old-school museums which showcases taxidermy specimens in dioramas, ranging from accurate to cases stuffed with birds. it’s so old-fashioned but i adore that style of display. i also saw the divje babe flute, which is the oldest musical instrument known, made of a cave bear bone by neanderthals.
after that, more slow meandering, another annoying restaurant experience, and finally, a lovely evening watching the euro cup (a horrific loss for the ukranians!) at the same italian restaurant as the first night. the night closed around us all soft and warm, the light pink and blue over the fields around the youth hostel. sunrise and sunset sometimes put out lights that just break one’s heart.
and then, sleeping and waking and taking a train to vienna