It probably sounds crazy, but we did two countries in one day today: Ljubljana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia — both capital cities of their respective countries. Trust me when I say it wasn’t too big of a deal — you’ll find out why.
Ljubjana, Slovenia: Bridges and fried sardines
We arrived in Ljubjana (lube-jah-nuh) Tuesday evening. First, our boutique hotel, Nox Hotel, was spectacular. There are only 24 rooms, and every single one is decorated with a different theme. As the manager said “23 other reasons to come back!” It was only built in 2013 and has a really great setup. The bathroom situation in our room was hilarious, given it’s my brother and I on this trip. From the bed you could completely in the glass shower. Can you say awkward?
Anyway, we got into town around 8:30 p.m. and decided to walk around the city to experience the night life. And I’m so happy we did! It was beautiful all lit up. The castle was sitting on the top of a very tall hill, so it basically looked like it was just floating above the city. The Ljubljanica is a river that winds through the city and has a number of very different (and very beatiful) bridges crossing it. Slovenians were out on the town, enjoying dinner, drinks, coffee. It was a great way to get acclimated to the city.
We had a relaxing start to the day and headed to the center when my brother realized he was missing his iPhone. We headed back to the hotel, and thanks to that “find my phone” app, he was able to get it back. Long story, but he’s one lucky bastard. (If you’ve ever heard about my iPhone story while I was in Cambodia, you’ll know just how lucky he is.)
We missed the walking tour, so made up our own, first, making our way up and down the river and checking out the beautiful bridges. My favorite was the Dragon Bridge. My second was the Triple Bridge, which had three separate bridges that more or less merged in a very neat way. The architecture is a great mix of old world charm (from the 1600s), the very distinctive look of 1960s communism (if you’ve ever been shown what it looks like, you won’t forget it!), and uber sleek modern design.
We made a great hike up the hill to check out the castle and take in the views. It really didn’t take us much to see the city — it’s pretty small. We planned to head over to Zagreb, Croatia that night anyway, but not as early as we did. Before heading out, we enjoyed some amazing fried sardines and sautéed squid. It was delicious! (I should mention I lost our parking ticket, but we were able to talk to the security guy and we avoided a huge fee.)
Zagreb, Croatia: St. Mark’s Church and an abundance of fantastic little cafes
Zagreb is only a 90-minute drive from Ljubljana, so we arrived around 4:30 p.m. (Not before I got another stamp in my passport — yay!) Our hotel room is nice, but tiny — and we have a more sibling-appropriate (a.k.a. private) bathroom in this one.
After a short break, we walked over to the old town. There were some similarities to Ljubljana, but Zagreb is a much larger city and a bit more cosmopolitan. Regardless, it’s still fantastic. Almost everywhere we walked we seemed to go by a fantastic little cafe on the side of streets. There were many tables under umbrellas with comfy seating so you could just sit and watch people walk by. Phil and I sat down and enjoyed a beer. It was warm and we’d been walking all day, so it was perfect.
From there we walked on to see one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen: St. Mark’s Church. To see it, we walked up A LOT of stairs and around some very winding roads. But when we got to the Square, I literally blurted out, “Okay, TOTALLY worth that shit!” It is one of the coolest churches I’ve ever seen. (And that includes The Vatican!) They decorated the roof of the church with Croatian colors, including the crests of the city. I loved it. Churches seem to be built on hilltops in Europe, so naturally, we were able to check out some great views of the city.
We were both famished, but sweaty and gross, so we kept dinner light. Greek salad and grilled calamari, which hit the spot perfectly – along with the delicious dark beer that went along with it
The plan is to get up early and take a chill drive around the northwest coast of Crotia before making it to our beach spot in Rovinj and get in a couple days to chillax in the sun. From there, we head to Trieste, Italy, then back to Munich, then I come home. What a whirlwind roadtrip it’s been!