Balloons from Ljubljana castle
Hot air balloons over Ljubljana, Slovenia, seen from the castle

September 18-20, 1999:

By the river banks   

They say that Ljubljana (pronounced Leyoob-leyana) is like a small, up and coming Prague. We'd have to agree (from what Kathleen knows about Prague).



It's a city and a country that take their their Architecture, Art and Westerness seriously.






Ljubliana's modern castle   

Their castle has been one of our favorites so far. Not because it's old, but because they've restored it with the coolest 'modern castle' look we could imagine. There's a 3 floor bar lit by candles, 2 futuristic wedding reception rooms and art galleries. Functional!

Cable banister   


Here grooves in the marble hold in place cables that make up the banister.

Castle Gallery   

Free for anyone, the Castle Gallery has paintings by Slovenians of their capital city.

Ljubljana in oil   



Photo-realism in oil   





Ornamental corner   

In the old section of town, extra touches like these ornamental building columns are common.

Non-individualistic, cubist art   


They have a committee which promotes 'non-individualistic' art.







Parliament, not a sculpture gallery   

Not the institute for art: Parliament.

Bronze door   






Bronze door detailTheir national cathedral hosted Pope John Paul II in 1996. They commissioned this bronze door, which shows the history of Christianity.

It's even more captivating to our modern eyes than the classic doors on the Florentine Baptistery.


Dragon Mascot   

This dragon guards the Zmajski Most Bridge and is also a sort of Ljubljana Mascot. She appears on coffee mugs, post cards and bathroom tiles for sale all over the marketplace.

Modern incarnation She also gives the bridge its nickname: The Mother In Law bridge.

Why? Because of the long tongue.

Modern incarnation of the dragon.



Just Meried   

The Slovenes are also enjoying their newly discovered freedom to pursue western ways. They were always the Eastern block's commercial gem -- friends in Budapest say they used to go to Ljubljana like we go to New York just to window shop at the luxury stores.

Shop window   

And it's true that in the stores there are no bargains. Pretty much western prices for things.

Clinton poster   

That is the way of capitalism, after all. What price the market will bear. Some lament their headlong rush, but most seemed to be on the rushing side of it.


Lady going to market   

But even in the midst of the high-price stores, the older, everyday-priced commerce goes on.




Buying fruit   

Everyone in Slovenia speaks a bunch of languages. Our guide book called it a Polyglot nation.

Edo, Mateja and DelphineWe were befriended by Edo and Mateja and their daughter Delphine. They were interested in how much our van cost. They spoke to us in German, but when we answered in English they switched right over.

"How many languages do you speak?" Henry later asked Edo.

"Oh, not many," he replied. "Only German, English, French and Croatian. But I don't speak English that well, I like French a lot."

He forgot to mention that he speaks Slovenian.

They took us in for an afternoon sharing with us their alternative ideals, view of the changes in life since the fall of Communism and thoughts on their future.

We're in Eastern Europe now.
Follow us to Hungary.

Three languages
Our favorite food in three languages

Old town in Ljubljana
Ljubljana's old town

Traditional Patisa desert
Local specialty: Patisa -- Nuts and pastry

Notting Hill
Not above consuming American Art.
Many say they prefer to watch in the original English

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