Small, but mighty. Big Alps. Good food and wine. A love of the outdoors. Castles. I’m here with my bike and a friend for three weeks with plans to circle this small but packed country with detours into some of its neighbors … Italy, Croatia, maybe Austria and Hungary.
But today we are getting organized, building our bikes, catching up on sleep and checking out the fabulous capital of Ljubljana (pronounced Lube JAHN Yah). As I write this a band playing the salsa street party and lots of Cuban sound has my toes tapping and is doing a grand job of keeping me awake to get on the right sleep schedule for our 9 hour time difference.
This town thrums. The entire city center is pedestrian and bicycle only and the difference in noise and carefree mobility is remarkable compared to dodging cars in my Seattle neighborhood. It’s an old city that integrates the modern and a sense of humor. A modern metal sculpture of a headless man with tail is profiled by the stately columned buldings lining the river. And young people sip beer and snack in the dozens of outdoor cafes – looking equally at home in their casual shorts and blue hair as the older generations strolling arm in arm along the river.
This city seems to have retained a unique personality – maybe like Portland , OR has managed to stay unique despite the growth and change around it. Perhaps because it’s still hidden from the tourist throngs of neighoring Italy, Vienna and Croatian coast. We are looking forward to seeing more as we ride around and roam through this country at the deliciously slow bicycle pace that enables a visitor to really experience a place and meet interesting folks. And based on the courtesy and reception so far, it promises to be a grand three weeks.
Here are some photos from Ljubljana that I like.