Hipster, accessible Ljubljana
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia is the most hipster city I’ve ever been too. The city itself is small and easy to get around in a couple of days.
Accomodation: I stayed at the Celica Art Hostel in the Metelkova district. The hostel is famous for the fact that it used to be a prison and you can actually stay in a prison cell. Each cell has been individually designed by a local artist. Unfortunately the prison is down a very uneven staircase. There is a wheelchair accessible room on ground level with a nice accessible bathroom. Only problem is the bed is a bit difficult to transfer into – however overall a truly remarkable hostel experience.
Transport: The city is relatively small so there is no need to catch public transport. Even where I stayed which was considered ‘out of town’ it only took me 10min to push/walk into the main town (old town). There are some buses that run that do have wheelchair access. The funicular up to the castle is also accessible.
Overall Accessibility: Because of it’s small and compact nature and the fact that most of the city is flat means it pretty accessible. Like every town it does have cobblestones but theres are pretty mild. Even most the restaurants and shops had flat access to get in (unlike most of the other cities I visited). Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the accessibility of Ljubljana.
Day 1: Walking tour – dragon bridge, marketplace, pink church, and the Metelkova area
Ljubljana is divided into the old town, Metelkova area and then a bit out of town the Tivoli Park. The old town spreads out from the main square – Presernov tg (named after Slovania’s national poet). We started the walking tour in the square opposite the Church of Annunciation or the Pink Church as it is a blush pink colour, we then crossed the infamous Triple Bridge across the river to the marketplace which sells local delicacies and fruit and vegetable then up to St Nicholas Cathedral which was just exquisite. Next stop was the dragon bridge (again across the river) which has dragon statues at either end which were erected to guard the city. We then visited the university which is now infamous because it is where the now American first lady (Melina Trump) went to and dropped out of.
After the walking tour I went I wondered around the area in which I was staying. When I arrived last night in the dark all I could see was this creepy graffiti and I though where the hell am I. However in the light of day it was a little less scary. The Metelkova area was once the barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army. When the army left, the buildings became abandoned and were turned into an artists enclave. The buildings are boldly decorated and inside there are bars, galleries etc. I didn’t end up going inside as it was a bit inaccessible but most of the artwork and general wow factor is on the outside anyway.
Later that evening I had a great dinner at one of the many restaurants that line the river.
Day 2: Tivoli Park, and the castle
Out of town lies the beautiful Tivoli Park. It’s a huge expanse of land with woodland and beautiful gardens. The only problem is, it’s on a bit of a hill and its not well paved so not a huge part of the park is accessible.
After walking / pushing around part of the park that I could access I headed back to the old town. The walk from the park to the old town probably took me about 30min. I headed back to the marketplace as I wanted to check out some traditional Slovenian food. and settled on Potica (a traditional cake). I then decided to venture up to the castle which sits atop a hill looking over the city. You can walk up to the top or alternatively catch the funicular railway which is fully accessible. Once up the top there are a number of different exhibits, some are accessible some are not. The exhibit on the history of the castle and Ljubljana is accessible and very interesting. The puppet museum is also accessible but a little weird.
Later that evening my hostel was holding a music concert and the band was definitely in line with the hipster theme of the area and hostel. The band did not really play actual instruments but rather used different household items such as plastic bags, bin lids, masking tape, rubbish etc to create ‘music’. .. very interesting.
And that was Slovenia an amazing mix of hipster cool and fascinating history. Now off to try and get my white Christmas in Salzburg.