Day 33 - September 19
After the crazy, but nice day in Venice it was the time to continue my adventure and go to Ljubljana.
For me it was my first time in Balkans, so I was very excited to see one more country and learn useful things along the way.
The tricky part about traveling to Ljubljana and Slovenia in general is that airplane tickets are quite expensive. The cheapest way to get there from, for example, Italy is to go to Venice or Trieste and take a bus from there (for example with GoOpti).
But this is where it gets even trickier. If you don't want to pay the price of an airplane ticket for a 3 hour minibus trip, you will have to book your tickets way ahead and be prepared to have a 3 hour window for your departure (you will get a fixed time only 24 hours before). I've booked the ticket to leave Venice around 6-30 p.m., and in the end received a window of departure from 6-30 till 9-30. I could've avoid it by paying more, but I really have a better use for extra 50 euro.
As I already said, I went to Ljubljana for a training course. But as we were living right in the center of the city and also had quite a lot of free time (only the photography group, the video group wasn't sleeping for three days to be able to finish their videos before the exhibition's opening), we've managed to really get the feel of Ljubljana and see quite a lot of things.
Outside and inside of the gallery, where our exhibition took place
I really liked Ljubljana and I really hope to go back there in some time. It's a very cute and comfortable city, that also is very multicultural and has lot's of things to offer.
There are so many different cuisines to chose from. Our first dinner was the most memorable - we went to the weekly street food festival Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen), that offers all types of foods from all around the world. I decided that it's okay to be a bit nostalgic and got a vegetarian pad thai (sometimes I miss Thai food so much I can kill for a nice plate of som tam with sticky rice). We ate it, sitting of the stairs and it was amazing. After that each evening we were going to a new place for dinner - Bangladeshi, Iranian, Turkish - and each time it was very delicious. This is actually one of the things I love about Palermo too - there are so many different foods, cuisines and ingredients!
I loved that there are so many great local initiatives and such a developed civil society. The first night after pad thai we went to one of the parks for free pancakes - there is a local group that offers them to people to attract their attention to the problems of the city and motivate them to clean after themselves in public spaces. This was a sort of an introduction to many great things that are happening in Ljubljana. And there are so many! The ones that I loved the most were the center for early school leavers - a great creative space, that motivates young people to think about their future, socialize and reflect on certain life events. I also loved the initiatives for homeless people. One of the NGOs gives them the opportunity to earn some money by becoming tour guides. For 8 euro they are taking everyone who's interested around the city and show them the places where people, who have no roof over their heads, sleep. Also there another way for them to get some money - they can sell the magazine "Kings of the streets" and share their profits with the NGO.
I loved that there are so many cultural activities that you can be a part of. For example, I finally saw Sebastiao Salgado's exhibition Genesis - it was divided between two galleries and didn't even cost that much compared to when it was in Milan, for example. I was also planning to go to the Banksy exhibition, but it was in the other city and in the end I didn't have enough time. But I almost forgot how great it is to live in the place, that offers a lot of cultural pastimes.
I also loved the number of great artistic places, like Metelkova and Rog. Those are the real artistic republics inside the city (I'm really sorry, Vilnus, but in Ljubljana I got the crazy alternative artistic fix I didn't get in Vilnius four years ago) and it was a real joy to live next to such a cool neighborhood. So these places also get my highest recommendations.
As for the TC itself - I hope to present you the photography project I've created during my stay in Ljubljana in one of the next blogposts, as it was one of the other things I really loved about my experience there. This way I will be able to share with you all of the sides of my great trip.
I also absolutely loved the amount of beautiful vintage boutiques, artisan jewelry stalls and cute bookstores around the city - they really give it something absolutely special. Now I start every day by drinking my coffee from the beautiful minimalistic cup I've bought in one of the shops in the center and it brings me back to that lovely July trip and all the things I've learned and saw along the way.
I hope this post was interesting and useful. Let me know what other parts of Ljubljana you like and can recommend to visit.
See you, people!