I am back home from my trip to Slovenia and am longing for the lovely Ljubljana already! The weather was wonderful. The city was wonderful. The entire adventure was wonderful!
Whilst I was there first and foremost for an academic conference, there was also time for some sightseeing and to catch up with my friend, Iris, and her finance. They live in the city, so we were able to meet up a couple of times during my stay.
There were so many highlights of the short trip that I can’t share them all, so instead I’ll share my favourite two “stories” and a smattering of random photos from my adventures.
The first story is from my first day in the city. I woke up early so that I could make the most of the day. I didn’t have a plan, but my hotel was quite close to the city centre so I just followed my instincts. That took me down a cobbled street just outside of the hotel which led me to a lovely pink church. And it just so happened that Mass was starting, so I took that as a sign that I needed to attend the services.
As I don’t speak Slovenian, I wasn’t able to understand the readings or the homily. However, as a life-long Catholic, I understood the format of the service which meant that I could respond at the right points (in English, but that’s OK). I found it quite interesting to watch the subtle differences in the service and found myself wondering if these differences were large-scale national differences or small-scale congregational differences. Either way, it was a positive, warming experience to begin my Ljubljana stay.
The second story is that of my daily runs. My first run was on my second day in the city. I carried my phone with me in case I got lost, which meant that I could take photos from the run. (I never carry it when I'm running back home in Scotland or America, so this was a new experience for me.)
When I set out, I planned to run for 1.5 miles then turn around so that I could do a 5K. I hoped to do it without the phone’s GPS, going by instinct and memory (having also looked at a paper map before setting out). In the end, I ran a bit further, but that happens when I run without a plan!
Once I got out of the main city centre, into the residential areas, I kept my bearings by keeping one of the mountains ahead of me. My confidence meant I was able to turn a few corners, rather than running straight out and back. When I finally turned to start going back in a loop fashion, I searched the skyline for the castle on the hill and ran towards that until I was in familiar surroundings. I felt quite confident on my first Slovenian run, so I decided to run along the river every day. It really made for an energetic trip.
And, of course, I really enjoyed the graffiti hearts that were scattered all around the city. You can read more about them and see photos here.
So, that was my first Slovenian holiday and I certainly hope it’s not my last!