|Looking across the Triple Bridge to Ljubljana's main square|
With a hilltop castle, a pretty pink church in the main square and dragons adorning bridges you'd be forgiven for thinking you were on some sort of movie set. I'd read about Slovenia so much in the year running up to my actual visit that, in spite of being told to believe it's hype, I just couldn't bring myself to fully believe it could be as utterly stunning as I was proved it was.
So small that the city didn't even require an orientation. We started on the Triple Bridge and headed up to the castle to look over this city. The castle itself can be seen all around the city. It was built in the 15th Century to protect against a Turkish invasion and has had many roles through its history including military hospital, arsenal and even being used as prison. More recently, back in the 1950's the castle was used to house the poor as no one lived there and before this it had started to crumble. Since it's renovation the castle has been used for weddings and cultural events. It is free to wander the courtyards but the museum requires you to purchase a ticket.
|Ljubljana Castle's inner courtyard|
Photo's taken, we started to wander down the hill, it was pretty early in the day but it was our only chance for a lunch stop before getting to our destination for the next couple of days so we went with the Mandatory Mushroom Soup. It was easily the most delicious mushroom soup I've ever eaten, served in a bread bowl (which can taste pretty dingy after the soup has gone) it has chunks of mushrooms in and tasted like heaven.
|Delicious mushroom soup|
Finally I made it down to the Dragon Bridge, I was the only person wandering around the bridge in the middle of a summer's day in July. It was a reminder that this gorgeous city isn't on everyone's list, that Slovenia is still relatively undiscovered by your average traveller. The bridge is colloquially known as the "Mother in law" bridge (can't imagine why). Originally the bridge had been named for Franz Josef I, but with the four dragons on each corner, the name soon changed. The Dragon is a popular motif of Ljubljana and can even be found on the city's coat of arms. It is believed that, when Jason (as in Jason and the Argonauts) had stolen a golden fleece from the King of Colchis on the Black Sea, they used the Danube to escape, entirely by accident. However being pursued for their crime they had no way back, so were forced to continue their path which took them to the River Ljubljanica, where they had to stop. They took the boat apart and carried it on their shoulder's to the Adriatic where they continued their journey. On their arrival in Ljubljana, the Argonauts came across a large lake where a terrible marsh Dragon lived, which after a heroic struggle Jason killed. It is said that Jason should have been the first citizen of Ljubljana.
|Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana|
Walking back towards the main square to re-join my group, I couldn't help but believe that perhaps all the hype surrounding Slovenia was entirely justified....
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