Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a delightful city. It has certainly seen its fair share of turmoil and been taken over by any number of warring nations, yet it has maintained its own traditions and language.
Just as in Croatia, the city has a castle and an old town with buildings that have somehow survived the years of war and strife. Sadly, an earthquake brought down or damaged a number of them but they were rebuilt in the Baroque style and mark the old town center. It is, of course, the center of the tourist quarter. We roamed the streets, ignored the souvenir shops, wandered through some of the more unique places, climbed up to the castle to take in the view, enjoyed tea or drinks in the many outdoor cafes and loved the night music.
Every corner had a different musician, working to make their living. Some were ok, some were quite good. We thoroughly enjoyed a saxophone player we found one night – he was excellent. A little girl, about 4 years old, dressed in a purple dress, entertained the crowds for about half an hour as she danced and cavorted about. The weather was perfect, the river clear and scenic, the ambiance was just perfect. Sadly, the international school here only has 70 kids in it…difficult to get 2 full time positions!
In the middle of the city is the Dragon Bridge where the Ljubljana dragons guard the entrance to the city. The dragon is also found on the coat-of-arms, the flag and on the castle tower. According to legend, Jason of the Argonauts struck down a monster, dragon, in a nearby marsh.
We sat and ate dinner in a small outside café. When the church bells started to ring we noticed the tower on the top of a nearby building opening up, with the horse and man coming out. Reminded me of the ones I used to see at Grandma Carol’s house – only these were obviously much bigger!