to Ljubljana! This is Metelkova City, an “autonomous cultural centre” similar to (but rather different from) Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen. It’s a hub for alternative culture, with space for bars, galleries, concerts and studios. Any city that has a street/ district (painted) like this ranks high on my “cool” index. And unlike Freetown Christiania, I could take pictures inside! Here are two more.
I stayed in a hostel located in a relatively unassuming district. To be honest, a major attraction was its description given on HostelBookers: “[i]n traditional socialist style building”.
It turns out this place used to be the residence of waiters and cooks of a restaurant, and had been converted into an apartment with many long-term residents. The hostel is a recent startup (about 3 months old), and occupies the ground floor. The owner upgraded me to a double room just so I could access Wifi, and was kind enough to bring me to the city centre on the first day.
Ljubljana is a bike-friendly place, with bike lanes like these and bike symbols included in traffic lights. This is just an excuse for me to put in more pictures of bicycles in this pretty city.
Ljubljana’s fast food is amazing. This is a half-eaten Horseburger – a rather enormous (OK, I guess I had more than half) burger with horse steak and fillings of your choice! I’d never tried horse before this – being born in the Year of the Horse, I don’t wish to cannibalise – but TripAdvisor suggests that Hot Horse (the name of the outlet) is “child-friendly”, so it must be OK.
Apart from this, I had burek, a rather greasy pastry with a filling of cheese or meat (apparently the outlet I went to had pizza burek), and falafel (more on it soon!)
Its fresh market food is also pretty decent. I tried feeding an apricot from the market to the dragon on the Dragon Bridge, but it was pretty stoic. I had to finish it myself.
And of course, who can forget the Christmas markets! Market stalls all over the city trumpet “kuhano belo vino”, which is a white wine variation of traditional mulled wine.
I had some falafel the day I left, and unexpectedly walked into a filming session. I initially thought the joint was being featured in a variety show and stayed for a while, trying to identify the celebrity host; but it turned out to be filming for a commercial that was going to be released in January. And… just as I was getting ready to leave the place, I was asked to be in the commercial!
Oh, by the way, the falafel was excellent, the best I’d ever tasted.
A few more pictures of the city:
Markets at night. The creative lighting beats Oxford Street’s lighting.
A Slovenian folk music performance near the city centre. TBH I uploaded this because the man on the left bears an uncanny resemblance to my Economics teacher in JC.
Congress Square (Kongresni Trg) in Ljubljana – they were having Christmas festivities in the square, but I decided to focus on the more sobering sights instead. Double exposure ftw!
Perhaps I haven’t been to enough European cities, but Ljubljana certainly ranks among my favourite (surpassing Copenhagen!), with its swanky streets, unassuming castle, novel (if not pure tasty) food and bustling centre. I didn’t have enough time to explore its museums (or get a better insight into Slovenian culture in general) but I really had lots of fun here. Certainly wouldn’t have expected less from a city with a drinking song as its national anthem. Would love to go back someday!