Friday, July 17, 2009


There are many different accommodations in Ljubljana, but the most famous and the most exciting one (at least for me definitely) is Hostel Celica, which is a prison in the centre of the city, renovated in a unique style and turned into a hostel. There are 20 artistically decorated former cells with bars on the doors and on the windows, and Wi-Fi connection :) It is close to all the major sights, like the castle of Ljlubljana or the Triple Bridge.

There is a nice café on the ground floor of the hostel, with comfortable sitting banks and huge pillows, and also a self service breakfast bar, open from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. every day. The opening hours of the ‘drink bar’ are from 7:30 a.m. to midnight, but Tuesdays and Fridays to 1:00 a.m. They also run a restaurant, where lunch is served from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (weekdays only), it costs about €4. Check out the homepage of the hotel for all the details you might need, and also some pictures of the cells.

The weather was lovely, so we didn’t spend much time sitting in the cell, in the morning we went for a walk to discover the city:

First we walked by the Franciscan church, which cannot be taken for anything else, thanks to its special shade of rose. It was built by the Augustinians, today it’s one of the symbols of the city. You can have a great view of the Triple Bridge, the Preṧeren Square from here, and see the locals strolling by, listen to them (I found Slovenian a beautiful language, and decided to learn it many times but never had time) and get a glimpse of the city’s life.
The Preṧeren Square, with the statue of Dr. France Preseren is the main square of Ljubljana, dedicated to the greatest Slovenian poet. His statue stands in the middle of the square and is surrounded by many secession buildings from the 20th century.

Then we crossed the Triple Bridge, which is probably the most unusual and the most frequently crossed bridge in Ljubljana. It connects the main square and a newer part of town with the Old Town and the Market, what makes it an area where the most people pass by. It was Joze Plecnik who added the side pedestrian bridges to the existing main one in 1931, so the bridge got its final image.

After a 10-15 minutes’ walk, we got to the castle of Ljubljana, and walked up the hill to see the view of the city, and found ourselves among the spectators of a modern outdoor theatre performance. For the entrance you don’t have to pay anything, and the art exhibitions, which take place in different parts of the castle, are usually for free as well. By the entrance there is the Galerija Rustika, where you can buy or just admire high quality products of Slovene traditional handcraft. On the other side of the castle there’s a chapel and a viewing tower together with the Virtual Museum, where you can see a 3-dimension documentary about the history of the castle and the city in Slovene, English, German and Italian.(3,3 € for adults and 2,04 € for seniors, students and children).

It can be worth to enquire about what’s happening at the castle in the evenings, you might find a nice concert, a theatre show or an open air cinema of non-commercial movies in the summer time.

We didn’t really feel like taking part in a guided tour, but next time I go there, certainly will. During the peak season (= from June to mid September) there are guided tours at 10 am and 4 pm every day. At any other time of day, tours are possible, but with previous notice only. They are available in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish. One tour lasts approx. an hour and 15 minutes. According to the Ljubljana info page,a young and energetic chap will take you around, giving you historical background, explaining what the castle looked like in the first stages of its construction and what purpose it served. You can have a look at the medieval jails, the old gothic chapel and a dragon, hear stories and legends about Slovenian Robin Hood; and find out why has a dragon become the symbol of the city. You’ll be able to see beautifully renovated halls and spend 20 minutes in the 3-dimension world of the Virtual Museum (entry fees: adults 4.59 €, seniors, students, children 3.3 €).

Next day we decided to visit the famous Postojna cave and took the morning train. There are many trains running to this direction, and the caves are not far from the railway stations, either. I loved the trail that carries the visitors along in the first 10 minutes of the tour, but was terribly afraid that I will bump my head into the ‘ceiling’, cause the dripstones seemed to be so close to us. Felt really revealed when finally could get out of the trail and walk on my own. Then the visitors were divided into groups, depending on the language they chose – and the tourist guides, respectively. When the tour had ended, we were talking about the trail, that it must be driven by electronic power, when one of the ladies standing there, actually by the info stand, told us that indeed, they were using electric batteries.

The rest of the day we spent with relaxing, having a beer at one the pivovarna-s, and planning the next day schedule. Since neither of us could drive the car, the only option we had if we wanted to see the famous Predjamski Grad, was to walk the 12 km distance from the caves to the castle of Erasmus, 15th century knight. There is also a legend about the history of the castle, which you will be told by the guide.

Next time I will tell you about our way to Koper, on the seashore, and the really great time I had there!