Friday, December 10, 2010

A Walk through the Exquisite Old Town of Ljubljana

Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana, Slovenia

In the heart of the bustling metropolis of Ljubljana lies the sanctorum of the Old City; once sprung up along the river Ljubljanica and now meticulously kept as a kind of life-size museum of times long ago. Practically free of cars, it is a haven for the traveler weary of shopping malls and the slings and arrows of modernity. There are squares and churches, boulevards and back alleys, countless restaurants and coffee bars and an occasional hotel, such as the four star Antiq Hotel, situated just below Ljubljana Castle that towers over the town like a perpetual sentinel.

Antiq Hotel
Ljubljana, Slovenia

With Italy and Austria only a hour away, Ljubljana was the richest city of the former republic of Yugoslavia, and it shows. Draga pulls me into a Zara outlet, speaks English with the attendants and tries a hat.
     “Do I look like a moron in this?” she inquires.
     “I think you should get it,” I say impatiently. A wealth of history lies waiting to be explored just a few steps away, but the precipitating snow is merciless on protruding ears. “You look lovely, darling,” I urge. “Now let’s head for Presernov Trg.”

Presernov Trg or Preseren Square is named after the poet Preseren, whose statue stands gleaming in the drizzle. From the square three almost parallel bridges lead across the river into unusually wide streets. There’s a certain feel of abundance to Ljubljana’s old city, not only because of its grandiose architecture but also because of the space that was left open.

Ljubljana is on all accounts quite a breather.

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