For Easter, we decided to visit Ljubljana (or "jube-jube
", as Dom calls it), the capital city of Slovenia.
Unfortunately they were forecasting a lot of rain and overcast days, so we made sure to enjoy our first day visiting the city. So we walked pretty much everywhere that we could, visiting the markets, stopping for some really good ice cream, and tasting local dishes.
As predicted, the second day rained, so we drove out to visit the Postonja Cave
and Predjama Castle
where we could spend most of our time indoors.
The Postonja cave is extremely touristy and was super busy even though it was a Thursday afternoon. The cave complex is just amazing! There's about 24km of caves and we explored about 3.5 km by train plus another 1.5km by foot. The attraction is really well maintained and full of information - did you know that it takes about 100 years to get 1cm of stalactite? It's so crazy to think about that when you see the size of some of these formations! Despite the attraction having a small Disney-like train into the caves, it was definitely still worth the trip.
In the same region, we also visited Predjama Cave.
According to the audio tour, this castle holds the Guinness World Record for being the BIGGEST CASTLE IN THE WORLD!! ...that is in a cave. (haha)
The local legend was that a Slovenian "Robin Hood" named Erazem Lueger lived here. He held the castle through a 1 year + 1 day siege, leaving the attackers baffled at how they could survive for so long. Erazem had been sneaking out the back through hidden tunnels to replenish their food and supplies. The castle eventually fell one night when Erazem went to the bathroom. A servant had betrayed him and told the attackers that this was the weakest section of the impenetrable walls. When the servant lit a torch in the window to signal the attackers, a cannon ball was fired toward the bathroom, killing Erazem.
Since the castle is built into a cave, it was very interesting to see the man-made architecture mixed with the natural rock formations.
The rain continued on our third day, but we still decided to try visiting the country side. Our first stop was Lake Bled, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, with a church on a small island in the centre of the lake. The scenery here is meant to be a picture-perfect postcard image. Unfortunately, when there's fog, a sky full of rain and clouds, and no sunshine, it was rather ordinary. We still enjoyed our day walking partially around the lake and hiking up to the castle, the highlight was the famous Lake Bled Cream Cake that we tried at a local bakery - a lighter version of the "mille feuilles" minus the almond-icing. We also samples some local blueberry and honey liqueurs that were very tasty!
We also went to a nearby gorge, but only managed to walk a small portion of it since the rest was closed due to slippery conditions from the rain.
On our way home, we stopped by small village to go to a restaurant called Vila Podvin
, which was recommended by our Airbnb host.
We were wet and muddy, so when we saw how fancy place was, we thought they might turn us away! Instead, they happily seated us and treated us to an amazing dinner of modern Slovenian cuisine. We weren't hungry enough for the 5 course meal, so we just opted for the “a la carte” menu. After taking our order, the waiter mentioned that he would bring out a selection of appetizers to go with our meal. The menu was on the pricy side, so we assumed this meant we'd end up with a monster bill in the end... but after a slight hesitation, we just decided to go along with it... why not, we're here! We thought it'd just be one or two small things, but they just kept coming..!
- Foie gras with brioche
- Soft-cooked egg with polenta, crackling, and potato foam served in the shell
- Sourdough bread with 4 flavours of butter
- Mackerel on .. a ball of white stuff..?
- Cannoli filled with goat cheese paste
Despite the starters including several ingredients that Jen isn't a big fan of (ie. Foie gras, Mackerel, goat cheese), we were both blown away at how delicious the little appetizers were!
The main meals we had ordered were also good, but the starters definitely stole the show! We were also shocked when we received the bill and discovered that all of the starters were complimentary! :). The food and atmosphere at Vila Podvin were amazing. We would definitely return!
Days 4 and 5
We spent our last 2 days checking out the rest of Ljubljana. We saw a huge line at one of the market stalls making fresh pizza, so of course we had to join it. The pizzas came out piping hot and were so delicious, that we lined again for more!
We also discovered Börek, a puff pastry filled with various things such as cheese, potato, spinach, etc. It was tasty and really inexpensive so we ate it almost every day for breakfast or lunch! The best one we found was at a bakery a bit further way called Pekarna Jurčkova. We noticed that Truffles seem quite popular here, so we bought some to bring back to London.
We stayed at a very lovely Airbnb where the owners decorated everything with a modern-retro 1960s look. It was clear that a lot of thought was put into every single item in the apartment! The location wasn't as central as the hotels in the core, but the room was super cute, the hosts had excellent food recommendations, and it fit in our budget! :)