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.
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!
After a pleasant walking tour of Ljubljana, we built up a good appetite and decided to continue exploring, walking through the Old Town for a bite to eat. We strolled along the Ljubljanica River recalling the architecture and history of the bridges we just learned from the tour. We ended up right in the middle of the Riverside Market and the food festival. The first booth we saw made us stop! The local vendor was serving a traditional pancake/crepe made in a giant iron skillet called Carski Praženec S Sadno Čežano. It never hurts to start with dessert.
As we continued through the market, we searched for our next course. There were so many delicious choices, it was hard to make a decision. The city provided music, tables, and chairs. There is even a fountain with free, clean drinking water. You could wash, fill up your water bottles, and rehydrate your dog. After we made our entree selections, we picked a shady spot on old stone steps and had a feast! The veal shank and burger were absolutely delicious! We enjoyed the afternoon with full bellies. We continued through the rest of the market resisting the urge to buy flowers, but loading up on fresh fruit instead for future snacks. The selection was vast, high quality, and organic, so again, it was hard to choose. We landed on fresh in-season plums, red raspberries and grapes.
If you need to make sure the vendor’s scales are accurate, there are public scales nearby where you can re-weigh your produce to make sure all is on the up and up.
At the end of the marketplace is the funicular to Ljubljana Castle and the enchanting Dragon Bridge. We stopped to take lots of pictures and use the public, free, and incredibly clean restrooms. Then David and I turned around and went back through the market on a different path. This time we entered the meat market and saw many beautiful items by local craftsmen. We were forced to stop and purchase this little treasure for our son, his first present!
On the way back to Allegro Hotel for a rest, we stopped in the Cathedral (The Church of St. Nicholas) where David took pictures and I sat taking in the ambience. I enjoyed this opportunity to sit and enjoy the silence and peace of the Cathedral. In a few hours, the Riverside Market would close, but a summer music festival would bringing a whole new list of things to explore and experience. We found Ljubljana to be a lively city that has endless options to enjoy!