Tagged Slovenia

Couchsurfing and road-tripping in Slovenia

After experiencing incredible hospitality in Croatia, I moved on to its northern neighbor, Slovenia, where I was met with just as much warmness from total strangers. I couchsurfed in Ljubljana with an amazing couple, who provided me with accommodation, food, interesting conversations and good laughs. They even invited me to a party, which was a lot of fun!

Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital but it’s really small with only 280 000 inhabitants. A day or two is enough to explore the city.

Metelkova brings colour to Ljubljana with its several clubs, art galleries and a hostel. The autonomous area was born in 1993 when activists occupied former army barracks to prevent their demolition. During the following decades, organizations maintaining Metelkova faced a lot of struggles with authorities, but the area is now thriving as a space for cultural activity.

It happened to be the Museum Summer Night on my first day in Ljubljana. The annual event grants visitors free entry to museums all around Slovenia between 6 pm and midnight. I visited three museums near Metelkova:

The Slovene Ethnographic Museum is a museum about cultural heritage, identities and civilization. Until December 2015 they are running an exhibition about doors. Doors! The exhibition was very well done. Who thought doors could be so interesting?

The Museum of Modern Art lives up to its name, displaying things so modern, that you don’t know whether to laugh or to question if it’s art. The museum displays mostly installations — for example a machine that at the push of a button sings you a song and showers you with polystyrene beads.

The National Museum of Slovenia is a good place to start learning about the history of the country through old paintings and ancient items.

On my second day in Ljubljana I participated in the free walking tour that starts in front of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation every day at 11 am and 3 pm.
On my second day in Ljubljana I participated in the free walking tour that starts in front of the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation every day at 11 am and 3 pm.
The dragon is a symbol of Ljubljana, and can be seen on the city's coat of arms. Four dragons also adorn Ljubljana's most famous landmark, the Dragon Bridge. Legend has it, if a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.
The dragon is a symbol of Ljubljana, and can be seen on the city’s coat of arms. Four dragons also adorn Ljubljana’s most famous landmark, the Dragon Bridge. Legend has it, if a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.
The free walking tour ended at Križanke Outdoor Theatre, set up in an old monastery.
The free walking tour ended at Križanke Outdoor Theatre, set up in an old monastery.
In contrast to the colourful Metelkova, the rest of Ljubljana looks like a clean and traditional European city.
In contrast to the colourful Metelkova, the rest of Ljubljana looks like a clean and traditional European city.
For some nature, you can head to Castle Hill just south of the city centre.
For some nature, you can head to Castle Hill just south of the city centre.
From Ljubljana Castle complex you have views over the entire city.
From Ljubljana Castle complex, at the top of Castle Hill, you have views over the entire city.
At the tiny all-vegan restaurant Bobenček you can fill your stomach with salads, soups and sandwiches. For a couple of euros I was able to enjoy a large bowl of delicious lentil soup.
At the tiny all-vegan restaurant Bobenček you can fill your stomach with salads, soups and sandwiches. For a couple of euros I was able to enjoy a large bowl of delicious lentil soup.
Around Ljubljana there are vending machines that sell unskimmed raw cow milk. The vending machines are filled daily with fresh milk from nearby farms. The taste? Just like milk.
Around Ljubljana there are vending machines that sell unskimmed raw cow milk. The vending machines are filled daily with fresh milk from nearby farms. The taste? Just like milk.

From Ljubljana I continued northwest. I met a local man who drove me all the way to Bled and even took small roads instead of the highway so I could see some other towns as well. Anyone ever tell you not to get in a stranger’s car? I say do. It might be hard to believe for someone living a conservative life, but trusting people opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

Somewhere in Slovenia with a private driver. Awesome!
Somewhere in Slovenia with a private driver. Awesome!
Škofja Loka, an old town in Western Slovenia.
Škofja Loka, a medieval town in northwestern Slovenia.
Bled is known for Lake Bled, and the small church perched on an island in the middle of the lake.
Bled is known for Lake Bled, and the small church perched on an island in the middle of the lake.

Bled is quite touristy so I took a bus to Bohinj where I stayed for one night. There is a lot of accommodation in the area, so after stepping out of the bus, I went to the tourist office where they booked me a room in a nearby villa. A private room cost 20 €.

Bohinj, with clear waters, fresh air and big mountains, is popular among hikers.
Bohinj, with clear waters, fresh air and large mountains, is popular among hikers.
Structures in Bohinj for drying grains. And for looking at the world upside down, obviously.
Structures in Bohinj for drying grains. And for looking at the world upside down, obviously.

Rain was pouring down the following day so unfortunately a hike up the mountain was out of question. I had gotten a Couchsurfing invite from someone who lives in the nearby town of Tolmin so I decided to go there. I was supposed to take a bus to the local station to catch my train, but the driver forgot to stop there, so I decided to skip the rainy countryside and ride the bus all the way back to Ljubljana instead.

I didn't feel sad about escaping the rain to Ljubljana, because it gave me the chance to visit Loving Hut, which had been under renovation the previous two days.
I didn’t feel sad about escaping the rain to Ljubljana, because it gave me the chance to visit vegan restaurant Loving Hut, which had been under renovation the previous two days.

Sitting down for lunch at Loving Hut also gave me a chance to connect to Wi-Fi. I logged on to BlaBlaCar and searched for all rides leaving Ljubljana that afternoon. One couple were on their way to Bologna a few hours later, so that’s where I went!

I love not having set plans while traveling. Things don't usually turn out as planned in life, so the less plans you have, the less disappointed you'll feel. One of my favorite quotes is Relax, nothing is under control.
I love not having set plans while traveling. Things don’t usually turn out as planned in life, so the less plans you have, the less disappointed you’ll feel. One of my favorite quotes is Relax, nothing is under control.