The train from Munich to Ljubljana (or Lejoobjoob for those of us unable to pronounce this) gave some spectacular views of the Austrian Alps and the trains here have little old fashioned compartments like in Harry Potter, which made for a comfortable 6 hours, despite the 40 minute delay.
Lejoobjoob turns out to be a really tiny place, so while our hostel was on the outskirts, it was a 15 minute walk from the centre. We made the mistake of eating at the bar across the road from the hostel, where Hugo was served what looked like a plate of cat sick and I, trying to be at least a little bit healthier, had a limp salad with what can only be described as a boiled green dragon egg on top. Delish.
Serendipity was working in our favour here though because, after having only seen each other once in the past six years, friends from Australia also happened to be in town! We decided to go for a drink in the hip and happening part of town called metelkova city, which was described online as an “autonomous culture zone”with art galleries, bars, free live music all housed in a former military prison. In short, hipster central; please let’s go!
We must have arrived too early for all those shenanigans though because the place was deserted and kind of creepy in the dark. We had a beer at the only bar open, next to the cesspit used as a toilet, and were approached by a local who asked us if we were “the MTV faggots”. Whaaaaaat?
It didn’t stop us, though. Us MTV faggots know how to have a good time. We moved back to the centre of town, which really is very beautiful at night – fancy baroque and Renaissance buildings lining a small canal running through the city, all lit up with a castle high on a hill above. Swimming in the canal is not advised unless you want to glow in the dark, according to the tourism guide we picked up at the hostel. We didn’t really need to swim to cool off that night as the thunder and lightning that had been rumbling around in the sky for the past few hours finally hit the town centre with a deluge that would have diluted our beers had we not scrambled for safety.
We left Lejoobjoob the next day but took the morning to do another free walking tour around the town. The guide was excellent and provided all sorts of good anecdotes and fun facts, e.g. Plešnik, the country’s most famous architect, designed the University library that was built in the 1940s. When Slovenia was invaded and occupied by the Italians during WWII, it was clear to the population of Ljubljana that this newly built and empty building would be used by the occupying forces as a headquarters. In order to stop this, they worked through the night as the Italian army advanced, moving 500,000 books by hand from different libraries across town. When the Italians arrived, the place looked like a functioning library and so they put their headquarters elsewhere. Hahaha, go resistance!