I’m in Ljubljana today. Came in by plane yesterday.
Got into the city on the public bus (refused to take the airport shuttle). Went to the railway station and booked my train ticket for tonight, and had a balkan sausage sandwich for dinner.
There’s a surprising amount of German influence here. I passed a few german branded shops (DW pharmacy, native Lidl/Aldi), the public bus company is part German-owned, and my train ticket (to Serbia) is written in both Slovene and German. I knew Germany had interests in the Balkans but wasn’t expecting it to be so visible; am curious about how this came about.
Other things I knew about Slovenia before coming here. Some famous Slovenian philosophers are Slavoj Žižek and
Ivanka Melania Trump.
The country recently had an election, resulting in insurgent nationalist and populist-social-democrat candidates entering government. The Left also made gains, and I know this because a Slovenian politician got very angry about it on twitter and wrote a long post on Facebook about how the country would go back to how it was under socialism. That doesn’t sound so bad, but last I read the Left have refused to join the governing coalition. I don’t really intend to look into this too much but if I spot anything interesting today I’ll follow it up.
I had a good night’s sleep at the hostel, showered, ate some pastry thing for breakfast.
Ljubljana has your standard medieval European town centre. Narrow winding streets snaking through high buildings. Lots of cyclists.
Some very pretty streets all around, here you can see the castle up the hill.
There’s a little ‘square of the French Revolution’ - which hints at a time Ljubljana was part of the Napoleonic conquests.
However, I didn’t come here to see cute little buildings.
No, I’m here for the funky futuristic Balkan architecture.
Check out this tower block in one of the main squares.
It looks like it’s made of metal panels, but if you go up to it, those are stone panels cut to size and bolted onto the structure.
At the top there’s a huge digital clock, like some sci-fi Big Ben.
I really like this, it’s weirdly anachronistic, because the idea of putting clocks on large towers is something we phased out in the 21st Century. And of course because it’s a modern building you get a digital clock in bright red neon.
There are concrete passages running underground around the square. This one has a small garden in a glass box, lit by natural light tunnels.
Tunnels and raised walkways, plants growing over curved concrete staircases, red metal banisters. I approve.
Lastly, since we’re in a former socialist country, here’s a metal statue of some Workers in a side-street.
I still have the whole afternoon to carry on wandering around, here’s my list of things to visit:
- International Centre of Graphic Arts
- National Museum of Contemporary History
- Congress Square
- Union Brewery (if I have time/if it’s open)
and tommorrow: Belgrade.