Ljubljana, Slovenia

We were in for a treat today. First, July 17th was my Daddy’s birthday so I vowed to make it a great day in his honor. Second, we were going to meet Jessica, a student in my ASU Online Travel Writing class in Summer A. I was really excited!

The day started out perfectly. We woke up and had a really delicious breakfast at the hotel with the best coffee of the entire trip. I wanted 30 cups. Then we did a farmer’s market tour and bought All. The. Cherries. I know some of you have witnessed this. Me V. Cherries. The cherries never win.

Our drive to Ljubljana was short and so reasonable. Slovenia, compared to Montenegro, Bosnia, and Croatia, seemed immediately affluent. I could almost sense the Euros sorting their way down from the Austrian border.

Entering the town proper of Ljubljana (and okay, it’s pronounced lyoo-BLYAH-nah) was a little like rolling in to Boise Idaho or Anchorage Alaska. As of 2011, 272,220 people lived in the capitol of Slovenia and the downtown was so small you’d miss it if you sneezed. It was perfect and quaint and walkable and I wanted to stay.

John and I checked in to Lesar Hotel Angel, where Jovan was an absolute dream. He led us to our beautiful upgraded room and then left us to tour the grounds and have a snack. We did, and then John was itching to hit the cobbled streets. We had a nice walk about before it was time to meet Jessica. When she was my student, I was so impressed with Jessica’s beautiful and thoughtful writing. When the session started she was in Italy and as it progressed she moved to Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro! I emailed and told her I was headed her way, and she told me she would be spending the month of July in Slovenia. I asked if we could meet and she said yes! She was staying just outside Ljubljana with a family she found at workaway.info, a site that offers room and board in exchange for small jobs. Jessica would be helping the family’s two kids with their English skills while spending a month in their home.

We went to a delicious restaurant, Julija, and Jessica was a little late so John and I ordered lunch. When she arrived, Jessica and I caught up, then the three of us toured the castle together. It was such a treat to spend time with her!

When Jessica needed to get home, John and I walked to the Metelkova area, and I’m glad we went in the daylight. It’s a little like Christiana in Denmark–lots of “artists” (druggies?) hanging around waiting for nighttime. I was ready to hit the road. On the walk back to the hotel we wandered into a proper art gallery and saw some beautiful work by some local Slovenian artists. I found a painting I loved, and we were on our way back to the hotel.

Dinner was at Valvasor, and we had a delicious meal.