Beautiful Classic Ljubljana:
It is not so easy to find a perfect cafe in Ljubljana.
We tried many during our stay here, but we didn’t make much of a dent In the city’s seemingly endless supply of cafes, cafe/bars, and places to eat ice cream.
The cafe I chose near the morning farmers market had great shade umbrellas and comfortable seats.
It also had a crowd of locals.
The waitresses knows exactly what to serve whom, before she even comes over to take their order.
An old man sat at the table next to me.
It was a table for four, but he sat there alone.
He is a local.
He put one euro and fifty cents on the empty table and he rearranged the ashtray.
He smelled like a man who loves beer, loves to smoke and does not like to wash.
The waitress brought him a Lasko Slovenian Beer and took his coins.
He lit his cigarette and the cloud of smoke drifted over me.
So many people smoke in Eastern Europe…
Last night I got a sore throat, just from sitting at an outdoor cafe, close to so many smokers.
My next choice was also a good cafe, located right on the river on a very picturesque pedestrian walkway.
Ljubljana is very scenic, and no cars are allowed in the old part of town.
The architect who designed all the buildings in the ancient town and rebuilt the bridges did an amazing job. (Yes, it was one architect.)
This cafe had vegan desserts sweetened with agave or maple syrup instead of sugar.
They also had an extensive selection of very good herbal, white and green teas, as well as soy and rice milk for cappuccinos.
But less than fifty feet away, they were reconstructing the stone walkway, and it was too loud to sit and read our books.
Every table around us was full of people smoking, and by the time we left, my throat was sore again.
The next morning my throat was back to normal.
We tried another relaxed cafe which advertised a selection of all-fruit and vegan ice creams.
After we ordered, we noticed all the families with young children and babies, all of them crying and screaming loudly.
I have nothing against the sounds of children screaming.
We were all children at one point, as noisy and helpless as those that were screaming in the cafe beside me.
I think the families chose that cafe because they’ve noticed other families with young children also go there.
Most young parents are self conscious about their screaming kids, and prefer places where they do not feel they disturb others.
There were also a few beggars walking around the cafes, asking for handouts.
It is not easy to find a quiet and relaxing cafe in Ljubljana, and we’ve tried many.
Some cafes have too many tourists licking their ice creams and talking in loud voices.
Nothing can disturb one from reading a good book quicker than actually understanding what people around you are saying.
When they speak Slovenian or Croatian, the unfamiliar languages blend into the sounds of the city around me, becoming one with the wind, the rustle of the fallen Autumn leaves, the sounds of the morning markets….
Oh……the morning markets…
What a treat!
They are a pleasure to an organic and gourmet food lover like myself.
In my opinion, the Dolac morning market in Zagreb is one of the biggest highlights in the city.
Most of the sellers are not small farmers, but people who grow things in their kitchen gardens and sell their surplus.
Their produce is so good, it is divine.
Here in Ljubljana it is the same.
The grapes are so red that it would be more accurate to describe them as purplish blue.
The berries are so tempting and so full of juice.
The honey collected from the local chestnut tree flowers is the best honey I have had in a long time.
In the Ljubljana and in the Zagreb markets, you can also buy fresh baked Bureks, a fluffy, layered, flaky dough filled with spinach and feta cheese.
It is so yummy….
There is so much to see in Ljubljana that is truly beautiful.
The old part of town is crowded with beautifully maintained and restored ornate old buildings, set around and along the wide river.
The cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants, shops and cafes.
Outside of the old town, there is Metelkova, an old industrial area that has been repurposed as a place for creative and graffiti artists to express themselves.
The art, which consists of metalwork, multi media sculptures and very creative graffiti paintings, is very enjoyable to see.
In Metelkova there is also a cool hostel with a nice cafe that is adjacent to three museums, the contemporary art museum, the Slovenian national museum and a museum of ethnography.
Every cafe and hotel offers free WiFi, but we also got SIM cards for our phone and iPad at a petrol station that is open 24/7.
We ate in most of the vegan places in town.
It is early autumn and pumpkin is on many restaurants’ menus.
The pumpkin lasagna we had in Adjovo Zrno vegan restaurant was made without pasta sheets, and it was so good, I can still taste it in my ‘orange pumpkin dreams’….
We walked a lot, covering over 15,000 steps per day.
We visited an amazing puppet exhibition inside the old castle towering over the city, visited the old Jewish Synagogue and saw more puppets and learnt about the sad history of the Jewish people in Slovenia, who were finally forced out of the city in 1496, and their properties and money confiscated.
We learnt about the Roman times, the bloody history, the devastating earthquakes that ruined the city, the effect of the wars and the rise and fall of fascism.
Above all, we learnt about the women liberation movement.
To demand equal rights from the Patriarchy, women protested under many slogans.
The one I love said:
“We want POWERS not flowers!”
We licked some very good ice creams and felt grateful to be alive… to be here and to enjoy this beautiful place.
Sending you lots of light and wishing you be safe from the many storms that are brewing in the atmosphere…..