Slovenia is a small country (just over 2 million) south of Austria, Italy to the west, and Hungary to the east. Unknown to most; in fact, when I called the credit card company to let them know I would be traveling to France, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Netherlands, they asked “Is Slovenia a city?” No. It is not.
Our first stop on the trip was the lovely city of Ljubljana in Slovenia. I am not a fan of cities, but this is one I would gladly return to. Around 200,000 population, the place feels like a small and quaint village. The inner city has blocks and blocks closed permanently to cars. Only allowing pedestrians and bicycles. The streets are all cobblestone. A 2,000 year-old (restored beautifully) castle complete with prison/dungeon up on the hill looking out over the city. The old medieval village surrounds the base of the castle hill, and across the river (multiple pedestrian bridges get you across) the “new” old town has Austrian-style homes built in the 1800’s. The homes have since been turned into businesses or part of the university. The alleys are clean and usually lined with potted plants! Picture on the right is actually the alley behind our small hotel (there are many, many more just like it).
The city is absolutely spotless. Shopkeepers sweep and scrub in front of their business every morning, locals walking about will pick up any trash they see and toss in the containers, and cheery laundry is hung out to dry. We are told none of the Slovenes owns a dryer—preferring to save the indoor space, cost and liking the smell of fresh outdoors. Colorful flowers in window boxes are everywhere.
No where have we encountered a city this crime-free. Never heard a siren. The biggest crime is a bicycle theft now and then. Maybe a pickpocket (we never had a problem). How relaxing it was to stroll about without fear and simply enjoy the ambiance of an old European town.