As we travel from Austria to Croatia, we have been exploring destinations that combine rich history with scenic beauty. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is one such place. It is also known as Laybach or Laibach in German. The peaceful Ljubljanica River adds to its charm, making it a pleasant stop on our journey.
Morning: Journey into History
Our day began at the historic Cyril and Methodius Square, the home of the famous Ljubljana Cathedral. Originally a Gothic church, it was replaced by a Baroque edifice in the early 18th century. The cathedral’s green dome and twin towers stood as symbols of the city’s rich history. We admired a sundial on the facade, dating back to 1826, bearing Roman numerals and a Latin motto, “Nescitis diem neque horam” – “You don’t know the day or the hour”, a reference to Matthew 25:13, that nobody knows the time of Jesus’ second coming.
Just a short walk from the cathedral led us to the bustling Ljubljana Central Market. This market felt refreshingly local, far from the tourist-heavy places we’d visited before. Stalls were laden with fresh vegetables, fruits, and seedlings, giving us a sense of the rich, vibrant local life.
Noon: Castle Explorations
At midday, we chose to visit Ljubljana Castle. Located on Castle Hill, reaching it was convenient through a funicular ride. Here, we experienced a glimpse of history, as the castle complex had served as a defense structure and later became the seat of Carniola’s lords.
The Castle Chapel of St. George served as a remarkable testament to this historical era. Initially, it started as a Gothic chapel with openings in the ceiling, four Gothic windows, and a balcony where nobles attended Holy Mass. In 1747, it underwent a Baroque restyling, featuring images of shields representing the governors and Habsburg princes. Interestingly, all inscriptions in the coats of arms were in German.
Afternoon: River Cruise
After lunch, we set out on a tranquil boat tour along the Ljubljanica River. The river is famous for its distinctive bridges, such as the Dragon Bridge, the love-lock adorned Butcher’s Bridge, and the Triple Bridge, all of which provided picturesque views. The gentle presence of swans and ducks gracefully drifting along the surface added a heartwarming touch to the serene ambiance.
Evening: A Taste of Slovenia
As the evening approached, we found ourselves at ‘Šestica‘, a traditional Slovene restaurant that’s been serving since 1776. Here, we had the chance to explore the local cuisine, tasting dishes both well-known and obscure. The restaurant’s name, translating to ‘6th’ in English, referred to the original house number of the establishment.
Reflecting on our day in Ljubljana, we felt thankful for this memorable stop on our journey from Austria to Croatia. The city’s blend of historical landmarks and modern charm offered us experiences to remember. As we retired for the night, we looked forward to what the next day would bring as we continued our journey through this captivating region.