Friday, November 9, 2012

A little Ljubljana and a bit of Bled

I found Ljubljana to be a walkable, lively city with a great city center and lots of character. Some others in my party had a little culture shock I believe, and didn't appreciate Ljubljana's charms after Austria's clean, accessible, and historic attractions.

You can't tell in my picture, since it's dark, but the center of town is where three bridges are crossing the river. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and markets lining the promenades along the river. We saw lots of students, sketching, hanging out, and painting each others faces. We stayed in a more residential section of town, in a soviet style block apartment building, that was furnished entirely with IKEA furniture. I love the contrast between the old and the new in post communist countries.

One day, we took a bus to Lake Bled and strolled all the way around it. Several stops had to be made, for coffee, lunch and a beer, and a boat ride to the church in the middle of the island.  We drank coffee on the veranda of Tito's villa, looking out over the lake. (Tito was the dictator of communist Yugoslavia. He is often called the only true Yugoslavian because he ruled over so many disparate ethnic groups.) The day was warm, and hazy, which dampened the pristine beauty that is usually conveyed in pictures of Bled. While not breathtaking, it was charming and produced a quiet, relaxing day.

Our last stop was for a pastry before we got back on the bus. Bled's signature cake is about 5 inches of eggy pastry cream layered between a top and bottom layer of thin, crispy pastry dough. There is no picture. It was very difficult to eat with a plastic fork standing at the bus stop, but I persevered.

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