Ljubljana … is the capital and largest city of Slovenia. It is the country’s cultural, educational, economic, political and administrative center.
… It was under Habsburg rule from the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. After World War II, Ljubljana became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The city retained this status until Slovenia became independent in 1991 and Ljubljana became the capital of the newly formed state.
Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, is considered to be a yet undiscovered gem of Europe. It is often compared with Prague due to its beautiful architectural appearance, which is the result of the legacy of different periods in history. Buildings are beautiful with different colors and ornaments. There are fountains and statues around almost any corner you turn. There are shops, cafes and restaurants for you to stick your head into and decide if it’s somewhere you want to go in. The Ljubljanica River runs right through the middle. The whole area is a pedestrian zone, so you can walk around without fear of getting run over by a car. Walking along the Ljubljanica River with restaurants, shops and a lively outdoor market is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. There are squares where people gather and musicians play. Plus, there’s a castle that overlooks the entire Old Town that you can see from anywhere you GO.
Kay and Dennis Monk and we arrived in Ljubljana where we met Tomaž Bartol (Prof. Dr. Tomaž Bartol). He is a wonderful friend and a faculty member in the Department of Library and Information Science and Book Studies at the Univerza v Ljubljani. He spent some time with us at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). I am not sure where I met him. It could have been through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations or through a workshop that NAL held for Central European Agricultural specialists. He is brilliant and we are lucky to be able to call him a dear friend.
We had lunch on this terrace by the river. In a lovely nearby jewelry store, we bought a gold bracelet that Pat wears every day.
Of particular interest to Dennis, who had been the Dean of Music at the university of Alabama was the Slovenian Philharmonic (Slovenska filharmonija) is one of the world’s oldest institutions of the kind. Its rich history dates back to 1701 when the first musical association and main promoter of Baroque music in Slovenian inhabited areas were established under the name of Academia Philharmonicorum. In 1794 the Academia was succeeded by the Philharmonic Society, the Slovenian Philharmonic’s immediate predecessor, whose members included composers such as Josef Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, and the violinist Niccolò Paganini. Franz Schubert applied for the post of a music teacher and Gustav Mahler was one Academia’s conductors between 1881 and 1882.
Not only did we have wonderful experiences in Ljubljana, where we stayed in a delightful small hotel near the city, but he took us to Bled for a magical day.
Bled is known for the glacial Lake Bled, which makes it a major tourist attraction. Perched on a rock overlooking the lake is the iconic Bled Castle. The town is also known in Slovenia for its vanilla and cream pastry (Slovene: kremšnita, kremna rezina).
A small island in the middle of the lake is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church; we rang its bell, thereby gaining good luck.
The day we spent there was too short.
In a discussion with Tomaž, he suggested that we should go to the Dolomites. On to Castelrotto in Italy!