A Travellerspoint blog

Bill's European Adventure, 2001. Part 6: Ljubljana

Cheap drinks, a great night out and some dated remarks about smoking

Aug 31

Up out of our wet beds at 6.45 to pack up the miserable, cramped contraption allegedly called a 'tent', and get a bus to Mestre station and the 08.25 train to Ljubljana. To our delight, it's empty, and our biggest problems are 1) it's freezing, and my only jumper got soaked the night before and 2) we're starving, and we have no food and no Italian money.

So we froze and starved and didn't sleep, and after two ticket checks and three passport checks by armed men in variously-coloured uniforms, we arrived in the capital of Slovenia at 13.40. It was pissing rain! Stomping aroudn the city in t-shirt and sandals with full packs, we discover that all the hostels closed in the last few days as the tourist season is over - aargh!

After nearly paying £22 each for a three-star hotel, we end up in one-star Hotel Park for £13 each. Some confusion over which corridor-showers were which followed, and then our faithful trio all fell asleep at 6pm! I wake up at 7.20, have a smoke on the balcony, a shower, and a cup of coffee (nice, 86p) and here I am at 8.30 in the room and the other two are still asleep and it's still raining!

So then we had coffee in the hotel bar (which shut at 11pm ?) and went to the local 'Trubar', where 500ml Union beer was £1.16! That was shutting too, so we went to Bar Sodcek, a rocker bar! Headbangers were pouring entire short glasses into their beers (yes, the glass with the shot inside). We drank Zlatorog (£1.40), the label of which had a goat on it!

Sep 1

Awoken by the cleaning lady just in time to make free breakfast buffet (cornflakes, iffy coffee, marmalade and bread), then went out with Julie for a walkabout while Ollie wrote his journal. Saw what looked like a Russian national football team - I wonder is it the real one? Bought Slovenian Dunnes Stores cola (Mercator) 500ml, 20p! Browsed market later in the afternoon, then had a late lunch which was tasty and very cheap. Struck by how Irish Ljubljana seems - it's like Cork or something! Everybody's very laid back, and today was so like a Saturday afternoon in Ireland. Stopped for a vanilla ice cream cone beside the river (48p), and strolled back to the hotel to plan our cheap night out.

A bizarre night was to follow. We originally decided to try and find The Brewery Pub, which the book told us had a good atmosphere, but when we couldn't find it a local told us it was miles away so we stopped at a super-trendy ultra-modern bar/restaurant called Cafe Romeo that only served tortillas, burrittos and savoury pancakes (and drink of course). Only when the lack of ashtrays became apparent and Julie asked the barman did it become clear that I was in my own personal hell, a no-smoking bar!

Rushed my pint and sat on a three-foot wall outside while Ollie and Julie had savoury pancakes and burritos. Then we promptly left for bar Kurlinca on the riverbank, where Ollie ordered two shots because they were only £1 each and the barman came back with two 50ml glasses (a double is 66) and two tumblers of water! We got out of our canopied seats to watch the fireworks that marked the end of some summer festival, and eventually left after one when it was too cold. On our way home we stopped at another bar, and left just before three with locals drinking quite contentedly, inside and outside, with no obvious inclination to leave!

But I left a bit out - in between looking for that other pub and going to Kurlinca we stumbled upon a free rock concert featuring the funniest, most 1985 band seen since, well, 1985. The more the locals sang along to this sub-Status Quo gibberish, the more we laughed!

Sep 2

A typical lazy Sunday in some ways, except that I got up at 9.45 to get breakfast, had a shower, and then seeing that the other two were still asleep, lay back down on my bed and slept until 13.45! Groggy and lazy, the most significant things we did were to have lunch in the hotel, and find the only supermarket open in this Sunday ghost town and buy snacks n' beer to consume before it, as Ollie put it, "was a respectable time to start drinking"!

Uninspired by the few restaurants that were open, we went back to Cafe Romeo, and sat outside this time. I experimented with a chicken burrito, which was tasty - a bit like eating a curry out of a piece of pitta bread! We even stole an ashtray - the irony!

We ended up at another riverside pub, where we had a few leisurely pints as our tolars were beginning to run dry. Back early enought, around midnight, and had a great night's sleep under two furry blankets - the cold weather has taken readjusting to!

Posted by BillLehane 24.05.2014 10:00 Archived in Slovenia Tagged trains travel youth europe slovenia ljubljana european blog interrail writing Comments (0)

Photoblog: Wild Donegal

rain 8 °C

Me_at_Slieve_League.jpgFor a native of a cosy, leafy corner of suburban south Dublin, the remote wilderness of rural County Donegal in the north-west corner of Ireland is probably about as different a place you could find from my urban background without travelling to a different country. So perhaps it's fitting that this is location for the first post I've ever written about travel within Ireland.

Late December is probably not the most popular time to visit this area because of the wet winter weather, but then warmth and sunshine are elusive most of the time in Ireland, and no less so in the wild northwest.

The weather did not spoil the view either as the rugged green landscape seems to look best when it's a little wet!

We stayed in a cottage outside Ardara that boasted spectacular views as well as many sheep, gates and mud on the outside and a cosy hearth getaway on the inside where radio is the new wifi and books are the new television. Trust me this is a good thing not a bad thing, call it a digital detox. Plus there's delicious food and drink in the village itself, such as the mussels at Nancy's Bar (Charles McHugh), as well as excellent trad music.

Anyway enough blather, here's some nice pictures :-)

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The view from our driveway (yes, you read that correctly)

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The cottage

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The hearth

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Gweebarra River

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The road to Slieve League, as seen from about halfway looking back to the entrance. Having initially attempted this on foot and feeling like I was trapped in the set of Waiting for Godot, we went back for the car :-)

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This picture pretty much sums up driving in Donegal :-)

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Some views of Slieve League mountain and its Atlantic sea-cliffs
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Trad session in The Corner House
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Posted by BillLehane 27.04.2014 06:37 Archived in Ireland Tagged travel ireland cottage photos holidays europe photography irish donegal ardara Comments (0)

Photoblog: Autumn falling in New England

Chasing colours across the northeast United States

semi-overcast 15 °C

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Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts

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Woodstock, Vermont

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Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts

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Taftsville covered bridge, Vermont

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Quechee Gorge, Vermont

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Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston Common, Massachusetts

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Posted by BillLehane 11.10.2013 07:02 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises trees leaves travel fall driving us autumn america photos holidays leaf photography united states tourist_sites leaf_peeping Comments (0)

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