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The Energy Ljubljana

Travelogue Entry
City: Ljubljana, Slovenia
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As soon as I left the Ljubljana train station, I knew I was in for something much different than I was expecting. Ljubljana is an undiscovered gem east of Italy and one of the friendliest, cleanest, and rocking cities I’ve ever visited. From the sidewalk cafes to to the public squares, the whole place is brimming with life and unbridled energy. The people are lovely and unpretentious and the nightlife is unthreateningly wild and fun.

After leaving our hostel that morning (the unremarkable HI Tabor slightly east of the city center) we walked to the center of town past Dragon Bridge guarded by four dragon sculptures (the city`s mascot) and stopped in a wonderful vegetarian restaurant, Ajdova Zrno, where we had a delicious four course meal for €6. With our stomachs happy, we strolled around the small but gorgeous and vibrant city center.

Ljubljana is a cyclists paradise with loads of bike lanes on sidewalks and traffic lights just for bikes, so we stopped off at one of the many hotels that offer bike rentals for only €5 a day and experienced the city on two wheels. We were able to easily navigate the city and made stops here and there for lunch, a beer, and even the city`s main attraction, the Castle. We spent €3 to take the tram up the side of the mountain to reach the castle above and admired spectacular views, but the castle itself was void of much to do so we headed back down the moutain and hopped back on our bikes and rode around town for a few more hours.

That night we decided to visit Metelkova. Metelkova was a former Yugoslav National Army barracks until it was taken over by squatters in 1991 and has since become an autonomous squatter and artist commune. When we walked past the sculpture and graffiti laden gates, we stepped into something so unique it`s hard to describe. Hundreds of people were gathered in a central courtyard that was crowded with graffiti, seemingly condemned buildings, impromptu art projects and demented sculptures. The crowd was diverse with everyone from hardcore punks, Rastafarians, hippies, and many 20 somethings straight out of the 90`s grunge era. But regardless of who they were or how they were dressed, everyone was having a great time and completely inviting. Around the courtyard there were various nightlife venues, the first of which was a large space with a bar and a hardcore-ska-punk band from Italy screaming and singing their music on the large stage. The energy inside was electric, the beer was cheap, and the music was incredible. After getting drenched with sweat, we made our way to what looked like a house with a creaky old porch with Reggae tunes blaring, bought a beer and danced til the three in the morning. We said goodbye to Metelkova and made our way back to the hostel, but on the way we couldn’t help hearing old skool rap blaring from the back of the Slovenian Cultural Museum where, at 3:30 in the morning, a party complete with a DJ and bar was in full force. We danced and partied and ended our evening when the DJ turned off his turntables and got back to our hostel and slept in.

Ljubljana is a city full of life, energy, and wonderful people. This is a city that will remain one of my favorites.

Ljubljana, keep kicking ass.