Day 63 – New friends, bonfires and smurf ice cream

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Today I stayed in the city of Ljubljana to explore.  Even though I only went to bed at 2am I was up again at 8am this morning.  I’m actually finding it hard to sleep a full 8 hours while on my trip for a variety of reasons from people snoring to light coming through the windows or people getting up early.

In any event I am usually unable to fall back asleep so I just get up to get on with my day.  Today was one of those days and I headed out to check out the Dallas Records store here in town before catching up with a walking tour at 11am.

My only reason to go to the record store was because I had read online that they could sell tickets to concerts out of town.  I found out last month that Depeche Mode (my favorite band) was doing a European tour so I checked out their route to see if it intersected with me.

Turns out I will be in Belgrade, Serbia at the same time as them next month.  Having found this out I just knew that I had to go – I mean, how cool would it be to go to a concert in Serbia?

I went to the record store and as it turns out she was just going to buy them online for me using the same site I had already seen.  I figured I would take them out of the equation and just do it myself online later that afternoon from the hostel.

In the meantime I had a good hour before my walking tour so I went to look for some real breakfast as the toast with jam just wasn’t cutting it for me at the hostel.  I came upon this little cafe with a nice patio and a varied cheap breakfast menu.  I sat down and chose an English breakfast along with a glass of nice fresh squeezed orange juice.

At 11am I joined a free walking tour where I saw Lawrence from my hostel from the night before.  We toured together and actually was greatly informed on Slovenian and the former Yugoslavian history.  It was quite interesting to hear all about it as it was fairly recently that Slovenia became a nation unto itself.

The tour lasted over two hours and by then it was time for lunch.  Lawrence and I went to a little restaurant in a courtyard tucked away from the main street.  I tried to get something somewhat lighter as a meal as it seems all I’m eating here is a variety of different meats as that’s apparently what they eat here in Slovenia.

I chose a grilled turkey breast with potatoes and a side of vegetables.  Even though the potatoes ended up being french fries and the veggies were obviously of the frozen variety the meal was just perfect for me.

After lunch we went to do our own thing with plans to meet back at the hostel later to go to the bonfire that the city puts on annually the night before their May 1st Labor Day holiday.

When 6pm rolled around Lawrence still hadn’t returned and I actually was busy on my computer anyway so it wasn’t until 7pm that I finally decided to head to the park for the festivities.

As luck would have it Thomas and his friend Anita (who just checked in today) were on their way out to the bonfire as well so we all headed to the park together.

We hiked through the forest up a hill for about 20 minutes until we heard music coming from the outdoor stage.  Along the side were different food and drink stands along with a huge seating area under a big tent.

We grabbed some wine and had a seat listening to the music as the crowd slowly dwindled in.  After a little bit we grew hungry so we went to the booth to get some food.  Of course they were serving different meats and since I had no idea what the menu said I just said give me a little bit of everything and lo and behold I had myself another meat platter.

We had a great time eating, enjoying the music and chatting about life in Europe and travelling.  After awhile we noticed the bonfire had started so we walked over to join the hundreds of others already there.  There was a certain kind of peace just standing there and witnessing this huge fire.

Before we headed back we stopped at the ice cream booth and I just couldn’t resist the smurf ice cream.  It tasted like bubble gum but, c’mon, how can I resist smurf ice cream?

Around 10pm we headed back down the unsteady hill through the forest in the dark – kinda stupid when you think about it, but we made it.

And that was my day in Ljubljana… tomorrow the three of us are heading out to Lake Bled in a rental car (yay! a car!!) and then it’s onto Croatia for me the following day…

Euro Trip 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Trip Journal
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