Ljubljana, the capital city in Slovenia, is home to some of the most hospitable people we’ve met, and the Dragon Bridge. Dedicated from a mythical tale, one so great there is no support of it anywhere, the Dragon Bridge is a modern crossing of the Ljubija River which passes through the center of the city. Apparently, I hope I’m hiding my lack of belief, but probably not, Jason and the Argonauts (see what I mean by great tale, it’s cute though, read on) fled here, the spot of the Dragon Bridge, with the Golden Fleece they had stolen. At this river crossing, Jason encountered a dragon, a big, large, scary dragon (catch the sarcasm?). He defeated the Dragon (surprise, surprise, it’s a tale remember?) on the spot where the now very contemporary Dragon Bridge stands.
The whimsical and fun tale just told gives you a sense of the laid back hospitality you are going to receive here. Ljubljana and its people make for a wonderful experience. Such beauty coming out of a City that has seen a horrid and bloody past is no easy task. But Slovenians are a determined people, with a burning want to leave the past behind, stand-up and give productively to this world . There is a super high positive energy here. The people are friendly, with most speaking English.
As for Ljubljana’s past, its early days saw development of the city like most other European Cities, taking turns being conquered by the Roman’s, Corinthians, Hapsburgs, Turks, and various other kings, rulers, and conquerors. The start of World War I started a dark time for Ljubljana. The Hungarian Empire fell to the Serbs, but in WWII the Germans, along with their Italian counter-parts took control and socialist Yugoslavia was in play and depressing.
In 1991 they gained their independence in a bloody civil war; and in 2004 Slovenia entered the E.U., determined to leave the suppressive bloody past behind forever.
When you meet Slovenians it becomes obvious that they are moving forward in a positive way. Sometimes through horrific pains great things are born. In this case it is a wonderful city with people who want nothing but positive results, friendship, happiness, and prosperity. If not for the heavy accents, one would think this country is English-speaking.
The food, oh man, the food is palate pleasing. Influenced by all the different conquerors and nationalities that have called Ljubljana theirs, the food represents that mix. Slovenian food is on the move as many new, younger chefs come into being with their own modern twists to the old, and let me tell you, it is superb.
The city itself is clean, very clean. The architecture of the old buildings and the surroundings with street vendors and musicians along the river give you the feel of a manufactured environment, the likes that this is something old Walt might have influenced.
The countryside is beautiful. Slovenia stands at the center of a major trade route from the Adriatic to the Danube. In a river basin at the foothills of the Austrian Alps, the landscape is beautiful with caverns and waterfalls. Truly a place to visit.