Once the DRD van dropped me at the Ljubljana bus station and I started walking to the hotel, I was thrilled to be back in the town (my third visit), even in the rain. (I should point out that I’ve had rain for part of every visit I’ve ever made to Ljubljana.) It’s such lovely city – beautiful architecture, charming, like a fairy tale town, including a castle on the hill.
And I had booked perhaps the best hotel in town: the Union Grand Hotel, which is adjacent to the Preseren Square at the center of town, a perfect spot in Ljubljana. I’m normally quite frugal, but the Union Grand went on sale on Booking.com a week before I arrived for 80 Euros a night – only 9 Euros more than the Slamic B&B I was originally planning to stay (where I’d stayed in 2011) but in a much better location. And it was nice to spend my first night after the long flight in a nice, comfortable hotel.
As a bonus, not only is the Union Grand perfectly located in Ljubljana, it also offers (most rooms?) postcard views of the castle on the hill.
It was a delight staying there, though you might want to keep your windows closed at night to keep out the sound of the church bells.
Plus, the rain was stopping by the time I checked in (5PMish), and soon I was able to go walk around without an umbrella.
The next morning, the sun came out to begin a delightful day of re-exploring one of my favorite European cities. First I hiked up to the castle, though I didn’t go inside (seen it in 2009, kind of ho-hum) but the views from the castle grounds are spectacular, so I highly recommend walking up there if you visit (there’s also a funicular).
Then I took what for me has become a kind of tradition: a walk south from Prešeren Square
along the Ljubljanica river, enjoying the views and various bridges, then turning right at the Gradaščica River, walking through the Trnovo district to the Trnovo Bridge and Trnovo Church, then walking north through the gardens of the Krakovo neighborhood back to the center of town. Later I hiked up to the Tivoli Park (which I’d only seen in the rain previously) to check out the latest outdoor photography exhibit. Because I’d seen Ljubljana before, I could relax and stop and take it all in at my leisure. It’s too bad I had only a night in Ljubljana, but I pushed my itinerary to see more new places. I walked up the Ljubljanica River further north than I had before.
Sadly, my time was short in sunny Ljubljana. Off to see new places! My plan was to take a late afternoon train directly to Rijeka, Croatia and pick up a rental car there to start my trip to Croatia.
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