Statue of young boy

And so the last 2 days of our guided tour have arrived. Today we leave Bled and travel across the border once more to Zagreb in Northern Croatia where we will spend the final 2 nights.

Before I tell you about our visit to Ljublijana, the capital of Slovenia, I would like to tell you more of our dinner venue for last night and the city of Maribor where it is situated. As Maribor is about 10 miles from Bled we were taken there by coach. We walked around the city admiring the murals on all the buildings, some of which date back to the 16th Century. Fitted into the wall of one of the buildings is a prison bench with shackles. Those who performed petty crimes sat on the bench for a specified time and all members of the community were able to heckle them. There was also a statue of a young schoolboy holding a picture of a teacher who had a great influence on him and education in the city 

Statue of young boyStatue of young boy with photo of his teacher

Outside the restaurant was a herb garden with a large variety of herbs including nasturtiums which brought back some childhood memories for me. We used to get nasturtium leaf sandwiches for school sometimes. I was not over keen on them as I found the flavour a bit sharp, rather like Rocket. Next to the herbs was a grapevine said to be the oldest in the world and is still bares grapes annually.

thousand year old grapevine

1000 year old grapevine

Herb gardenThe Herb Garden

On entering the restaurant we were first taken to the cellar where we were told about the wines of the area. There was an opportunity for wine tasting and to eat the breads and sausages which are made on the premises. They were really delicious. While we ate and had an opportunity to look at various photos and maps on the walls, an accordionist entertained us in a very lively manner. After about an hour we went upstairs to the restaurant itself where we enjoyed a truly Slovenian dinner.

On our way to Zagreb the next morning we stopped in the Slovenian Capital, Ljublijana. On the way there Trevor looked in our back pack for some item and noticed that his toiletries bag was not there. It had been left in the hotel bathroom and his heart medication was in the bag. When we arrived in Ljublijana, a half hour drive from Bled, our guide, Juan, arranged with a local taxi to take Trevor back to Bled for half price. Luckily it had been arranged for us to spend 3 hours in Ljublijana so I first went on the guided tour with Juan and then still had time to show Trevor the main sites. As Juan is Slovenian he was permitted to be our guide in the places we visited in Slovenia.

We visited the Farmers’ Market and were amazed at the size of the fruit and vegetables. One was very tempted to touch and feel them but this was not encouraged.

Market SquareThe vegetable market

Peppers Brinjals and tomatoesSome of the beautiful vegetables on sale

Buying milk from a dispenserFresh milk can be bought from a dispenser

The Dragon Bridge over the Ljublijanica River,as statues of four very life-like dragons, one at each corner of the bridge and the railings are covered with padlocks placed by pairs of lovers who then throw the key into the river. At one end of the bridge are sculptures of Adam and Eve.

Dragon sculpture at start of bridgeOne of 4 Dragons, 2 at each end, on Dragon Bridge

Statue of Adam EveAdam & Eve

Locks even on the sculpturesThe craze of couples sealing their love with padlocks was very big there

Other interesting sites were the Robba Fountain, Statue of France Prešeren, St Nicholas Cathedral, the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation and the Triple Bridge in the town centre. 

Church of the AssumptionChurch of the Assumption

Fountain of Three Carniolan RiversThe Robba Fountain

We also read of a former Mayor of Ljubliana, Ivan Hribar, who rebuilt the city following an earthquake and built new utility systems. Unfortunately he also got on to the wrong side of the Emperor and committed suicide by jumping off the Dragon Bridge at the age of 90!

Beautiful church doorBeautiful carved door to the Cathedral

The front doors of the Cathedral are beautifully sculpted bronze and inside are a number of Baroque murals.

The statue of France Prešeren, poet and writer and known as the poet who inspired all Slovenian poetry, includes a muse showing her breasts. When the statue was first completed it was considered obscene and the breasts had to be covered during the day.

Statue of PreserenStatue of Frans Preseren

We returned to the coach and drove out of Ljublijana at 13:30 and sadly that meant leaving Slovenia. We passed through the border to Croatia without any problems and arrived in Zagreb 3 hours later. We had our Farewell Dinner for the tour at our hotel that evening as some people were leaving us the next morning and so were not going to be part of the Zagreb tour.