Tuesday 28 August 2018

Punk Rock Holiday - Day 10

Farewell Ljubljana

By 10am we'd checked out of our hotel and gone in search of breakfast. Nothing much was open yet though so we settled for toasted sandwiches and a coffee. 

I know I'd just eaten breakfast but I'd suddenly remembered a sausage shop not far from here claiming to serve the best sausage in town.

Found it! The Carniolian sausage served at Klobasarna was incredible and cost just €3.50 for half a sausage served with a bun, horseradish and mustard. 

We walked one last time across the river and headed North towards the Ethnographic Museum.

On the way there we took in every detail of Ljubljana, it had been an amazing city to visit!

At the Ethnographic Museum there were a number of exhibitions to look at including one on the history of beekeeping.

I didn't realise beehives could be so ornate!

Another exhibition focused on Slovenian tradition. This was worn by Kurenti who were believed to have driven away winter and invited spring wearing this.

Before we knew it the morning had disappeared and it was time to check in for our flight home. I often find airport food a bit disappointing but at Ljubljana airport I was quite impressed. Just €10.50 bought me a giant hot dog and a slice of pizza. Our time here had come to an end but what an incredible holiday it had been!

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Day 9

Lake Bled

Getting from Ljubljana seemed fairly straight forward, simply catch a bus from the bus station we'd read online. In reality though it was quite a stressful and slightly more complex affair. The first bus we tried to board we were refused entry without a ticket which we later discovered you could buy on the bus. We queued up to buy tickets and then struggled with finding out which gate the bus would go from. Somebody came to the rescue though and told us it was gate 28.

We'd grabbed some snacks for the journey at the ticket office kiosk. I was convinced this was some kind of sausage roll.

It was an apple strudel, quite nice but I was really craving something savoury.

This Danish pastry was rather nice too but did little for my savoury craving.

A few miles from Bled and the traffic slowed down to a crawl, it's clearly a popular place. The hour journey turned into a much longer one but eventually we arrived.

Lake Bled is stunning! They say the most beautiful view of the lake can be seen from Bled Castle which towers over the lake on a cliff. Bled Castle is considered to be the loveliest  wedding venue in Europe. Had we more time here we'd have definitely climbed up to it to take a look across the lake.

Even from the edge of the lake the view was amazing though.

My wife sensed that I was keen to go tobogganing and she was correct so we headed there first.

Beside the toboggan hill was a few other fun activities like this tyre slope with ramp st the end. Something we'd noticed about Bled was how they were keen to cash in on the tourists as much as possible. If you wanted to use the public toilets it would set you back €1 each time.

Anyway, having spent €1 to spend a penny we bought tickets for the toboggan. It cost €9 for one go, €12 for two or €15 for three goes. With a predicted queueing time of 45 minutes we would only be going on it once today.

It actually took us just over an hour just to get onto the ski lift. 

The views from the ski lift were breathtaking!

Here's the view from the top.

At the top we waited a further 10 minutes or so. They do space out the toboggans going down quite well though which is a good thing, this allows you to go really fast if you like without crashing into the person in front.

The lady in front of me made her way down and I climbed onto my toboggan. I didn't risk taking photos on the way down but I can confirm it's a lot of fun and well worth trying if you visit Lake Bled.

Back at the Lakeside we went in search of some lunch. Many of the restaurants were either fully booked or crazy expensive, it wasn't looking very promising.

Then we spotted a small food festival on the Lakeside Promenade called "Taste Bled". This was right up my street so we ordered a beer and some food.

The ribs here were amazing! The bone fell away leaving generous chunks of slow cooked pork soaked in a BBQ sauce. They were served with potato wedges and coleslaw and cost €12, I was well impressed.

My wife was also impressed with her vegetarian mix costing €8. A stack of potato wedges and coleslaw topped with grilled halloumi.

I couldn't come to Bled without trying Bled Cake which was also available on the street food stall at €4 a slice. The layers consist of puff pastry, a light vanilla cream and custard, sheer bliss!

We wanted to swim in the lake but didn't fancy joining the hoards of tourists in the main swimming area which cost €8 to enter. Instead we walked a little further and found a secluded spot between some trees to take a swim. The water was warm and actually being inside the lake felt quite magical.

Afterwards we stopped for a beer on a jetty overlooking the most recognisable symbol of the lake, Church of the Mother of God. The church can be found on Bled Island which the lake surrounds, it's accessible by boat if you have the time.

Back in Ljubljana I decide it was time to try a traditional Slovenian meal. The Slovenian Plate seemed like the best option to me.

The light was fading fast so excuse the quality of the photo.

The blood sausage was my favourite part of the meal, a slightly bitter tasting sausage with a fairly course texture. My least favourite part was the sauerkraut, way too vinegary for my liking.

The Slovenian sausages were great and the pork rib was nice enough. Nowhere near as good as the ribs I'd eaten earlier in the day though at Lake Bled.

I thoroughly enjoyed the rolled cheese dumpling which I found hiding underneath the sauerkraut. Time after time I kept coming across this creamy Slovenian cheese, so good!

Back at the hotel we shared a chocolate doughnut, hmm.. a tad dry.

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Day 10 - Farewell Ljubljana

Monday 27 August 2018

Punk Rock Holiday Adventure - Day 8

More from Ljubljana

Our initial plan today was to visit Lake Bled but as we wandered through Ljubljana on our way to the bus station we noticed Sunday markets that had popped up and the city felt so alive. We also remembered that museums and gallerys would be closed in Ljubljana tomorrow being a Monday so that would be a far better day to visit Lake Bled. I ordered breakfast beside the river and it arrived in a bun. A pair of spicy sausages and an omelette topped with err... some white sauce which escapes me now.

The Dragon Bridge, adorned with its famous dragon statues. According to local legends, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.

From Dragon Bridge we hiked up a steep hill to Ljubljana Castle. We didn't bother going inside but enjoyed the views of the city from outside the castle. 

Next we headed North of the city centre in search of Metelkova. This abandoned Slovenian military barracks has become a punky-political art squat.

There's so much to look at here!

We tried to be mindful of not taking too many photos though as this place was home to many.

Although quiet in the daytime it's said that this place really comes alive in the evenings, especially at weekends.

100's of alternative events are held in Metelkova every year including concerts, theatre and workshops.

With so much to look at it was hard to drag ourselves away. 

Just around the corner from Metelkova is the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

We went inside and checked out some of the exhibitions. My favourite was a series of black and white photographs taken inside a Slovenian tower block. Each photo told a story about the person living inside the tower block.

Back in the city centre we stopped off for a bite to eat at Pop's Place, a popular burger joint.  I was tempted by their famous ribs but just had to try their Dirty Mac.

First things first though, mojito time!

When the food arrived first impressions were good!

Pop's Place uses locally produced beef which is aged and cut in house. It certainly sounded great and looked the part but how did it taste?

Amazing! They'd really captured the elements of the Big Mac but in a far superior way. The meat tasted superb, the ratios were spot on and their special sauce really brought it all together.

We'd read about a rooftop bar called Neboticnik on top of this building.

Neboticnik offered excellent views across the city and served great Aperol spritzers for just €5.

Having explored the city we returned back to the hotel for a much needed rest. On the way I tried a blue sky ice cream, I loved the colour and the flavour was a fruity vanilla.

A couple of hours later and we were back on the streets of Ljubljana. We really fancied some Indian food so stopped for some dinner at Namaste, a popular Indian restaurant on the banks of the Ljubljanica river. To start with we ordered onion bhaji, a huge portion arrived with a selection of sauces. 

Next the curries arrived.

I ordered the chicken tikka massala which was excellent. A generous serving of tender chicken breast pieces cooked in the tandoor oven served in rich vibrant sauce. Generally rice is sold separately but here some of the curries including this one came with rice.

My wife's vegetable curry didn't include rice so she ordered a vegetable rice to go with it. The curry was way too mild for her liking, luckily I was happy to help her finish it though.

Stuffed full of curry we walked along the banks of the river.

In the evening the castle is illuminated up on top of the hill and the restaurants lining the banks of the river are a hive of activity.

I tried but nothing happened.

We stopped off at a late night bakery close to the hotel to buy some cakes. This jam biscuit was huge and literally crumbled everywhere as soon as I took the first bite.

We thought this was going to be something chocolatey. Nope, it was a bitter poppy seed filling.

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Day 9 - Lake Bled