I have a love/hate relationship with the map you can access on the seatback TV screen during international flights. It is nice to track your progress, but on eight, ten, twelve (or more)-hour flights, it becomes maddening. Really? We haven’t crossed the entire Atlantic Ocean yet?? As I watched us close in on Italy last May, I began seeing Ljubljana just east. I’ll admit that I had no idea how to pronounce it (Loob-lee-yahn-yuh is pretty close) and I really didn’t know where it was. Fast forward a few days. I looked over the Army MWR calendar and saw a scheduled trip to (you guessed it) Ljubljana, Slovenia. I booked all four of us because…why not?
The trip to Slovenia was a bit arduous. Little did we know that we’d booked a trip on an Italian holiday weekend. The mid-way Autogrille (a gas station, restaurant, bathroom stop on the Autostrada) was dangerously packed. I never really understood how people died from human stampedes but I do now, and I hope to never experience that again. Thankfully we did make it through and made it to Ljubljana about 9:30 a.m. Being a Saturday, it was market day. I just can’t even tell you how charming it was!
The city’s mascot is the dragon, as you can see in the image above. This bridge, Dragon Bridge, features two dragons at each entrance to the bridge. Myth says that the dragons’ tails are anchored in the water. When a virgin crosses, they wave their tails, thus making waves on the river. I’m not going to make any judgements about anyone but I can say that I didn’t see a single wave that day.
Also according to our guide, Ljubljana largely missed the unrest in the former Yugoslavian region back in the ’90s. Both the people and the land were resilient, and Ljubljana is absolutely picturesque and pristine.
From the Cathedral of St. Nicholas to the Ljubljana Castle, this city was just awe-inspiring and I hope to return before we leave Europe.
Having just recently visited Lake Bled Slovenia, I can heartily suggest this area as a vacation destination. I’ll probably get around to featuring Bled by itself. For now, add Ljubljana to your travel bucket list.