I arrived to this lovely city in January. I had no clue what to expect and had avoided checking any pictures online so that I could be surprised. All I knew is that there was a river with many bridges. After 5 months I can tell you that besides being a very wonderful city, Ljubljana has much more to offer. Here is a list of some of the funny things I learned so far.
1.Ljubljana has a delicious combination of Vienna’s pastry and Italian coffee
If, like me, you have a really sweet tooth, Ljubljana will welcome you with open arms. There are many bakeries and coffee places that offer a really diverse range of cakes (even vegan ones!), that besides looking good taste delicious.
2.Slovenians love outdoor sports and trust me that is contagious
There are many mountains (skiing is Slovenia’s national sport) and Slovenians enjoy a casual weekend hike with the family. If you live in Ljubljana you can easily take bus nr. 1B or 8 to Šmarna Gora and enjoy a wonderful view from 669 meters high.
This is definitely one of the Balkan foods to try on your next visit. My favourite is the spinach burek, but let’s be honest they are all delicious 😉
4.Slovene sounds a lot different than other Slavic languages
I always enjoyed the sound of Slavic languages by their roughness, but Slovene sounds very different from anything I have heard so far. Listen to this beautiful poem, also translated in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqfKwFUa44M#t=16
5.Almost everybody that I meet was in Portugal and fell in love with it
Whenever I say I am Portuguese people react with a smiley”ohhhh, really??”, which makes me feel very exotic. A lot of people I meet love Portugal and tell me all of their favourite places in Porto (my beautiful hometown), as if only to make me miss it even more. Also, almost everybody knows some Portuguese words. How many of us in Portugal would know a Slovenian word!?
6. It is impossible to get bored in Ljubljana
As a student city and the capital of Slovenia there are always events going on, from concerts to exhibitions, to meet-ups and other activities. An exhibition from Sebastião Salgado is now open: http://www.mgml.si/galerija-jakopic/prihodnje-razstave-430/sebastiao-salgado-geneza/ Don’t miss it!
7.Slovenians appreciate making time for their friends
Slovenians love to take time to be with friends and really appreciate “going for a coffee” regularly. That can mean tea, a beer, hot chocolate, or just hanging out. 😉 Plus, when you go to someone’s house, you can expect that they offer you lots of food and drinks – it is only fair to say that Slovenian’s are amazing hosts!
8.The coast is only 47 km long but is truly beautiful
What to say!? Make sure a find a Prevoz (a car pooling service) to take you there before summer is here and enjoy the Adriatic sea to the fullest 😉
9.Walking up hill to Ljubljana’s castle only takes you 10 minutes
When I first saw one of Ljubljana’s main attraction, its castle, I thought it would take me some good 20-3o minutes to get there. I was done in 10 minutes before I enjoyed a delicious cup of Turkish coffee at the café Kolaž, which gave me enough time to appreciate the view to the city.
10.Ljubljana is a romantic, engaging, alive city especially at night
If Ljubljana is a beautiful city by day, by night its romantic nature really pops out. I love watching the sunset by Ljubljanica, the city’s river, or just walking by the river after some drinks with friends.
My life in Slovenia is obviously more than this, but these are some of the little things I have learned so far. If you are considering a trip to the Balkans this summer, make sure you don’t skip Ljubljana! As I did, you will also fall in love with the people and the nature and you’ll definitely want to come back. After this view, who wouldn’t after all?