THE CROATIAN COASTAL town of Senj is famous for being very old, having a castle and being the centre point between the North Pole and the Equator. This is marked by a sundial at the side of the road, a few kilometres from the door of Autocamp Sibinj. It seemed a poetic spot to conclude our travel southward.

THE CROATIAN COASTAL town of Senj is famous for being very old, having a castle and being the centre point between the North Pole and the Equator. This is marked by a sundial at the side of the road, a few kilometres from the door of Autocamp Sibinj. It seemed a poetic spot to conclude our travel southward.

 

Baroque Ljubljana
Crooked signpost says you are equidistant from North Pole and equator

 

We’d have really liked to head back a different way, but in truth, coming south from Slovenia, through Austria, Germany and Belgium was the most direct and, given the French taste for road tolls, cheapest way. The roads up from Senj and past Rijeka give stunning views across to Krk island and the rocky coastline as you travel. In fact, even the motorway service areas have great views in this part of the world. And they didn’t charge you to go to the toilet either. Germany take note… 

We planned our first stop at the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. This short drive of around 150km left us time to look around the city after we arrived.

 

10 things we learned about Ljubljana


1 - There is one campsite in the town, so we stayed on it. Ljubljana Resort, is a couple of kilometres north of the city centre and easily reached on the bus. It’s easy to miss your stop on the way back though…

 

2 - Bus tickets are sold in the form of a rechargeable swipe card. They are sold at the campsite reception for €2, plus 80c for each journey. So for Mrs Donnelly and I, that was €5.20 for two return trips to town. And you get given a €1 refund if you give the swipe card back at reception on your return!

 

3 - A survey by Readers Digest in 2008 revealed that Ljubljana is the most honest city in the world. 30 Mobile phones were left around the city and reporters waited to see what happened. 29 were returned. Next best was 28 phones recovered in Toronto. It explains the unaccompanied Blackberry we found charging overnight in the toilet block on the site.

 

Baroque Ljubljana

Mobiles are safe from theft but I did call my Mum for a chat at his expense...

 

4 – Na zdravje! Union is the local beer. It’s made in the city and you can learn the story of it by visiting The Brewery Museum. You'll be lucky to get a visit though. It only opens on the first Tuesday in the month, from 8am to 1pm. Happily, you try it virtually anywhere in the city, regardless of the time of the day.

 

Baroque Ljubljana

Union beer is easy to find, as long as you aren't looking in the Beer Museum

 

5 – The town sits on the river Ljubljanica. Try spelling that after too many Unions...

6 – Slovenia’s national poet is France Prešeren and the main square in the city is named after him. His statue sits in the centre, adjacent to the much-photographed Triple Bridge or Tromostovje. The statue is apparently staring at his missus on the other side of the square but we couldn’t see her.

 

Baroque Ljubljana

France Prešeren can't find his missus. Neither could we.

 

7 – The original bridge was extended into a triple bridge by Slovene architect Jože Plečnik, who also designed many of Ljubljana’s most prominent buildings. His work means a lot of the city’s architecture stands out among the predominant Baroque and Vienna Secession styles. For the layperson such as me, it’s very pretty.

 

Baroque Ljubljana

If you aren't an architecture student, suffice to say it is very pretty...

 

 

8 – Medieval Ljubljana Castle is a tourist attraction as you might expect, but rather than dwelling on the old days, it is predominantly used as a cultural centre for music and art displays. It is reached on a modern funicular railway from Krekov Trg (Market Square).

 

Baroque Ljubljana9 – The Butcher’s Bridge near the Central Market is decorated by some striking, if odd, sculptures from by Jakov Brdar. There are also a lot of padlocks on the bridge, placed by smitten couples declaring eternal love. Ahh…

 

10 – Rather than waste a perfectly good padlock, really show you care by buying your other half a fine Slovenian meal. Gostilna is a fine, if large restaurant that has a big menu, English translations and our waiter offered to cut up our food for us. Such service... 

 

Links

Ljubljana Tourist Info website


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