Whether in the States or overseas, one of my favorite thing in the world is going to markets! I don’t care what kind they are, Christmas, food, flower, or arts and crafts markets, count me in. I love viewing beautiful art made by local craftsmen, tasting food from chefs and buying fresh produce from local farmers. I just love it! I find it is one of the best ways to experience a local culture.
Fresh Produce at the Riverside Market
David and I knew there was an extensive produce/flower market in Ljubljana from a Rick Steves show. However, when our taxi driver took us from the bus station to our beautiful hotel, he told us about a food festival on Fridays called Open Kitchen. Restaurants from all over town set up booths in the market area. Thankfully, our stay included a Friday, so I could not imagine a better scenario!
Crowds Enjoying Open Kitchen in Ljubljana
In the center of Ljubljana, on a hill which serves as its pedestal, stands Ljubljana Castle. This symbol of the city can be seen from almost everywhere in the Old and New Towns.
Unobstructed View of Ljubljana Castle from the Skyscraper
In many ways across the city, Ljubljana’s touristic appeal is growing. The funicular to Ljubljana Castle is a perfect example of this progress. Built in 2006, the funicular climbs Castle Hill within 60 seconds, saving you a steep climb on one of two paths to the top. While I normally opt for the adventure-filled route, Rebekah and I chose the funicular to save some energy for seeing the sights in the castle complex (Rebekah was 6 months pregnant after all). This is a perfect example of how modern improvements are opening up the complex to more visitors, from elderly tourists to locals dressed for fine dining at the castle’s restaurants.
When David and I travel, we normally stay in a place in walking distance to the attractions we want to see, or at least close to public transportation. In our strategy, we want a clean and nice accommodation, but we do not want to spend our money on a fancy hotel. We want to be out experiencing the destination. But on this trip, we were spending a night in 7 destinations and wanted to splurge on a nicer hotel in one of the locations. David did lots of research and we chose to stay at Allegro Hotel in Ljubljana, Slovenia for an upscale treat. We made a great choice!
Inside Allegro Hotel
When visiting Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, it is likely you will encounter two national heroes: Plečnik and Prešeren. Jože Plečnik the architect, and France Prešeren the poet.
Today, we take a closer look at the architect, Jože Plečnik. While Plečnik is a household name in Slovenia, I feel like little is known of him in the United States, even among fellow architects.
Travel often unlocks new experiences that we did not even realize existed before traveling. In Prague, Rebekah and I fell in love with delightful Art Nouveau painter, Alfons Mucha when we experienced his Slav Epic masterpieces first-hand. We had a very similar experience in Ljubljana. The architectural influence of Jože Plečnik is a treat waiting to be unwrapped.
Unless you were a straight A student in world geography, you may have never heard of Ljubljana (the “j”s make a “y” sound). While this may be your first time to hear about Ljubljana, it won’t be your last. The capital city of compact Slovenia is on the rise, and will be a top European destination in a few years.
Ljubljana is remarkably easy to include in your European vacation schedule. Ljubljana and Slovenia as a whole sits at the crossroads of 3 great cultures: Germanic, Italian and Slavic. These three cultures continue to shape the region, especially its cuisine. If you are traveling to Italy (Venice in particular), Vienna or Budapest, Ljubljana is only a short train ride and even shorter plane ride away.