Why I Love Ljubljana

‘We could move,’ I told my husband with a wavering voice. ‘Just imagine,’ I tried to get us both excited, ‘leaving the hustle and bustle of the city for the quiet.’ I stopped. That wasn’t it. I tried to think but I couldn’t find an upside to justify the decision to move from Ljubljana to the country side, other than the prices of real estate. I like the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s actually one of the reasons I love Ljubljana.

A taste of freedom

I moved to the capital of Slovenia when I was 18, to study. It was my first taste of freedom. With no parents around I could do whatever I wanted and didn’t have to explain it to anyone. Coming from a small town I was in awe of what a city can offer.

This was a time of figuring out the city’s efficient transportation system and finding the fastest way to Uni. Where will number 6 get me or 8? Where do I get off if I ride number 3? What does the main station – Bavarski Dvor even look like?

It was spending my days at the National and University Library and when the weather was nice exchanging it for studying on the river banks of Ljubljanica.

But those years were about more than just studying. I had to learn by trying where to eat, what were the cheapest places, best pizza, what’s Thai or do I enjoy Mexican? I needed to familiarize myself with new streets and know which to take. This was before Google maps made it all easy. This meant getting lost and meeting all my friends at the Prešernov trg square because we all knew where that was. And once we met, there were so many places we could go to: Metelkova, Emonska klet or a friend’s house.

Looking back now, it’s no wonder I fell in love with Ljubljana, head over heels. There was so much to love.

A start of a commitment

Gradually this infatuation has turned into a steady loving relationship with all the good and the bad things. It wasn’t just about being silly and doing crazy things anymore. This was almost like a marriage. Like family. All of which I had started in Ljubljana.

I got married one warm afternoon in late May, at the top of the castle. Our future and the bright red rooftops of the city in front of us.

We spent the next years in a honeymoon state with each other and the city. We cycled to work. We spent late Saturday mornings lazily strolling around the central market, buying fresh produce for a meal we’d end up cooking almost in the evening. We drank coffee for hours in one of the cafés by the river Ljubljanica. We had friends over and we showed them around the city. We read books, lying on a blanket in the Tivoli park. We went to the cinema, to the theatre, for drinks after work. It was easy and comfortable, as we knew the city inside out and it fit us. We loved everything about it.

A new life

Somewhere along the way we became parents and with two kids Ljubljana became a whole different place again.

The honeymoon was over. Suddenly there were many sleepless nights, visits to the doctor. Where’s the emergency room in Ljubljana or even the hospital? Which kinder garden is the closest? There was an abundance of chores and running to catch the bus to pick up kids, always being late … It was hectic and it was all about persevering.

But once we got the hang of things, we discovered new paths to Koseze pond, we found playgrounds all around, where before we never even noticed them. We started hiking to Rožnik hill with friends, who had kids the same age. We still spend winters sledding on the hill in Tivoli. We visit the theatre and different shows for kids. We go to galleries and museums when it rains and we don’t want to be at home. We have annual tickets to the zoo for the whole family.

We live a full life in Ljubljana. It’s not always easy and carefree as it once was, now we have responsibilities. But it’s just another reason I love Ljubljana. It offers you so much, like any metropolis but unlike the others, everything is within easy reach. Believe me, I have spent 20 years exploring it. And I am happy to spend even more because we aren’t moving. I just can’t imagine it.

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