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Tears for Ljubljana

After ten amazing days riding the rails in Croatia, I wasn’t quite sure how that experience could be topped.

But it was this post that got me excited about Ljubljana, the tiny capital of the tiny country of Slovenia. Such stark profession of love from such a seasoned traveler is a pretty big statement.

Still, I had no idea. I, REALLY, had no idea.

Ten minutes into our exploration of the old city center, on a foggy and cold November night, I was brought to tears.

After two and a half years of traveling, no other place has affected me like this, no other place has evoked such an immediate and profound claim of love from me.

It’s the coziness of the small city, the gorgeous historic center, the friendly people who return smiles aimed their way. The chilled fog in the air hung low on our first evening wander, covering the old buildings in a mystic charm with soft white lights dimly lighting the way. The small river was lit bright green, locals patronized the patio bars under heat lamps and blankets, drinking cheap hot wine.

Ljubljana

 

 

Pete and I held hands and darted through the streets, in awe and with constant exclamations of “look at that!” We were¬†often sidetracked from the planned dash to our chosen restaurant for just a quick glance here, a rapid snapshot there. We briefly lost our way, regained our path, and then completely stopped short.

The melodic voices of a choir, arranged on a plaza corner,

halted us in our tracks.

 

Beneath that soft light, surrounded by those smiling locals, and immersed in that enchanting fog, the choir mesmerized, and brought forth a rush of emotions that suddenly brought warmth to my cheeks and hot tears to my eyes.

The setting, the voices, the surrealty of the moment.

Several long minutes later, the choir was finished and gave up their position. I shoved my hands deep into my pockets to warm them and we continued on our way.

Wordless and walking quickly, Pete kept glancing over to check on the state of my glistening eyes. As they were accompanied by the hugest of smiles, his face was too.

Over a joyful dinner we bantered around a word that neither of us has uttered in quite a long time…

Home?

**********

Many thanks to the Slovenia Tourist Board for accommodating us at the Grand Union Hotel (click here to read our full review of the hotel). The tourst board slogan is “I Feel Slovenia” – oh boy, they sure got that one right!

61 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Ljubljana looks as though it should be in a fairytale. I can see why you fell in love with it. Stunning photos

  2. What a great post! Being that I am in a very uncomfortable spot right now and missing that feeling of home…it brought a little tear to my own eye. Glad that you two are finding magic over there! Keep up the heart touching posts

  3. Make sure you buy a house with several guest rooms. We will SO come visit you!
    Katrina recently posted..Best CouchSurfing Request EVER

  4. Hmmmm….interesting…:)
    Teri recently posted..Favourite Things

  5. Holy Dinah, that didn’t just bring tears to my eyes..it brought a flood. Beautiful,beautiful photos !!!!!

  6. I’m sold! Slovenia and her capital seem very very interesting.
    Debbie – European Travelista recently posted..All I Want For My Birthday . . .

  7. Okay, this solidifies it. I MUST go to Slovenia next summer! Sounds like Ljubljana really made an impression on you!
    Amanda recently posted..Best Blogs of the Month: November, 2011

  8. Ljubljana is a cool little city, only had a day when I was there but it was fun
    Sam recently posted..10 Essential Travel Items You Can’t Travel Without!

  9. Ljubljana affected me a bit like this too the first night. We had arrived in the evening and we made our way down to the Triple Bridge beers in hand, and just sat there listening to the river. Lately I have been thinking “Home?” about it a bit as well, as I know I will be looking for a spot or two to stop for a while on my RTW next year … awesome pics!
    Scott recently posted..My Dia De Los Meurtos in Mexico

    • Thanks Scott! By the sounds of the reaction from others, perhaps we can make Ljubljana the next Chiang Mai for bloggers? Haha

      • ok, i’ve been shamelessly browsing through these compliments about my home town, and the single greatest one is this would-be comparison with ChiangMai…i can actually relate and would be lying if i didn’t say that these kind of thoughts make me cheerful :))
        keep on discovering, we’ll be there to preserve or enhance your perception of this hidden nation :)

  10. Your pictures perfectly capture love and romance with a city- I can see why you would fall so hard so quickly.
    jade recently posted..The Island Oasis in the middle of Vancouver

  11. Oh, lovely.
    You really talked about making a home there? That’s amazing. I’d love to hear more about the cost of living.
    I have dream of spending a year somewhere in Europe so I can watch a garden grow through all the seasons, growing fruit and vegetables that I learn to cook the local way. You are making me wonder what Croatian cooking is like! :-)
    Barbara – The Dropout Diaries recently posted..The Vomit Express

    • We’ve just started to look into the costs of it – we are currently committed with other things until June but it could become a real possibility in the fall (wait for our post today, and it will tell you why!) Although I’m not sure about growing year round there, I could think of a few other places that could…

    • Croatian and Slovenian food is amazing and I’m not being biased saying that. There’s so much fresh produce out here it’s hard to “make” a bad meal :0)

  12. First let me say how much I enjoyed your post and it was great to be reminded of what the town looked like before the Christmas lights changed it all last weekend.

    The cost of living is not too expensive but it varies depending on the product. Clothes and some supermarket food are in general expensive and you are unlikely to find good deals.
    Eating out and drinks can be very affordable as long as you avoid some tourist traps along the river.
    Rent prices of apartments are ok compared to other capitals in Europe but buying an apartment seems over priced at the moment.

    You have to come back in the summer when its easier to sit out and really enjoy a coffee or a drink for hours along the the river Ljubljanica.

    Stefan
    Stefan – Ljubljana Hotel Information recently posted..Lev Hotel Ljubljana Videos

    • Stefan – thank you SO MUCH for your comment and information on your beautiful city. If we do try to spend more time there, it won’t be until next summer and I am excited to see it in the sun and not the fog! But from what I’ve seen so far, it looks to be much more affordable then some other places. :)

    • I agree with Stefan’s comment. Come back NYE and during the summer so you can get the whole package of what Slovenia has to offer. Slovenia is stunning winter and summer, in fact all the time! :0))

  13. I love the fact that you felt the same way I did about this city! I’m actually hoping to return there for New Years…and who knows, maybe I really won’t let myself leave this time. So, I guess I’ll see you both there!
    Earl recently posted..Every Trip Is A Trip Of A Lifetime

  14. This is a great post-Ljubljana is a place that a friend and I stumbled upon years ago in at atlas, and were so confused by the spelling and pronunciation, that it has become a running joke between us ever since, whenever we need jokes with obscure locations. Love the fact that you found such warmth and…..home there. I hope it works if you want it to!
    Claire recently posted..Guest Post: Has Your Travel Bug Bitten Yet?

  15. Wow that looks so amazing! Definitely adding it to my list of places to go!
    Claire recently posted..Looks like it mooght rain

  16. Very descriptive, transporting post. Between your words and Earl’s, I am thoroughly convinced that I need to go here. Sounds like you already got in with tourist board, maybe look into full employment ;) Seriously, this was a beautiful post. I especially love the 5th paragraph and the closing bit about the choir.
    Phil recently posted..Ghana Travel Health Guide

    • Thanks so much Phil – I had to write this as soon as we sat down, just something I *felt* I needed to write! While I had heard about what a great place it is, I didn’t expect to be moved that much. It’s so lovely!

    • Hi Phil,

      Everyone should come to Slovenia at least once. Although I doubt, you’d want to leave!

      A very happy Brit very chuffed to be living and working here and hearing so many great things about the place I call “home”.

      Sean

  17. Very touching. I felt the beauty too.

  18. It sounds so enchanting! I felt like that when I first stepped foot in Spain. I think you should run with it!
    dtravelsround recently posted..An inside look at Elephant Nature Park

  19. I’ve only met a couple of people who’ve been to Ljubljana, but they loved it just as much as you did. Seeing these pictures only makes me want to visit more.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..Ready for take-off

  20. We loved Slovenia also – were there in the summer but Llubljana looks just as gorgeous in the wintertime. We spent most of our time hiking in the Julian Alps and then a brief Adriatic coast pitstop. It is a country full of beauty and character.
    Natasha @ Wandering Kiwi recently posted..Spain snapshot: Madrid’s best flamenco tablao

  21. I love when it feels like home!!
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Foto of the Week from … Buenos Aires

  22. Your photos are stunning — you can almost feel the magic of that choir. You two are so sweet.
    Abby recently posted..My Mini Turtle Rescue in Costa Rica

  23. This is a really nice post … I love reading about when visiting a new place really affects people like this. I feel this way about Budapest! And being a lovely city on a foggy night, seriously romantic. :)
    cheryl recently posted..Street Art in Amsterdam.

  24. Hi there,

    Loved reading your blog. I felt the same when I came here 5 years ago for a holiday after working in Greece. I must say, that I’ve never regretted my decision to stay here!

    Christmas time is really special here in Slovenia – you should also see it in the summer!

    Hope to see you soon!

    Sean xx

  25. I am going there next September and you just made me grin with this post. Thanks for all the posts about the Balkans :)
    Shanky recently posted..Circular Love

  26. That’s great that you enjoyed Lubljana so much. I was there back in 2003 and fell in love with the city as soon as I arrived. There is something really special about it, isn’t there?
    A Lady in London recently posted..Lady in Rio de Janeiro

  27. Wow. The pictures alone made me fall in love with place what more if I visit this place? Thank you for sharing. This place looks absolutely beautiful.
    Alexa Meisler recently posted..Calistoga in winter: Sublime

  28. Hello! Stumbled upon your blog and reblogged it here: http://ljubljanablog.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/happy-tears/

    Are you planning to come to Ljubljana for more time?

  29. Hello! Found your lovely post and pics. We have some Turkish Airlines miles and was wondering where we could go with them, and saw that they fly to Ljubljana. I have just come back from a first visit to Prague with my 2 sisters. I didn’t feel like it was home but I did feel quite emotional as soon as we stepped into the old town area. I have lived in NZ and UAE – and been starved of such architecture for years!!!! Anyway, looking forward so much to seeing Ljubljana in October!

  30. Great post! I’m Slovenian and it really makes me proud to read something like this about my country:)

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