I forgot to say we did find the sun in Slovenia, at the campsite in Bled:
This was Sprocket’s favourite facility, it had kid sized toilets as well, and he used it often and requested it by name – the joys of a toilet trained toddler. The inside also had suns:
(I forgot to take pictures, so went surfing online, you don’t want to know for how long, until I found those pics here).
But the sun took a vacation as we got to Ljubljana and a thunderstorm rolled in. We appreciated our van, as, having already spent the few minutes moving luggage to the front, we rolled around with the kids in the back of the van as we watched a couple setting up their tent in the storm. We feed the kids leftovers and I skipped dinner entirely, still full from our late lunch. Though we did all eat the dessert we’d picked up in Bled – I didn’t get a pic of it either, but the Slovenian Tourism site was happy to help:
That is, I’m sure they would have been if I’d asked instead of just copying it from their site – Slovenians are really nice and hospitable like that, they really, really are. And many of them are multilingual to various degrees. Anyway, back to the cake: this pdf gives a history of the cake and an idea of the recipe. It was very good indeed, but fell short of orgasmic. Maybe if we’d gotten the original from the hotel…
In the morning, Sprockette went with DutchBoy to get breakfast at the tiny campground store. Slovenian bread doesn’t approach French or German, at least what’s available at these campgrounds.
And Sprocket poked his head out of the van to see them when they got back:
Eventually, we got it together to head into Ljubljana on the bus. On the bus, we met another family with a son about Sprocket’s age and a 9-month old daughter – they were Australian/British and travelling around Europe for 10 months or so in a camper they’d bought in Amsterdam, interspersed with trips to see family in the UK and some other stuff. The boys really hit it off, so we made plans to meet up at the funicular after lunch as they’d brought a picnic and we were seeking a restaurant seeing as it was my birthday. Our first sight of the city:
We asked at the tourist office for a vegetarian restaurant and were directed to Ajdovo Zrno (there’s a vowel shortage in Slovenia). Turned out to be a salad bar type place, but looked good and the guys were friendly, so we got a big salad and shared it:
The salad was great, and the banana chips were a hit – I almost couldn’t get any before Sprockette ate them all. I also had the daily special, a stuffed pepper that was a bit dry, to be honest – vegetarian food at its tasteless worst. And a lemonade, which I was excited about since it’s not something available here, but which turned out to be unsweetened and didn’t get sweet enough even with the supplied suger, but which was refreshing nonetheless because it had turned into a pretty hot day. And there was a nice courtyard to let the kids loose in:
After lunch we wandered around a bit, getting some yummy baked things with apple and sweet cheese fillings to supplement lunch on the way. No pics, we ate them too fast, but they were delicious. A random pic of the city:
And the dragon from the dragon bridge. We could have bought stuffed dragons at the tourist office too:
And then to the funicular. We were a bit early and at the foot of the funicular was a cute little kids bookshop. I regret not buying the multilingual animal sounds book – they also had a few other good books in English. Our new friends showed up and we had a drink at the top in the castle while the boys ran around the courtyard in the sun. And one of the coolest things was that the kids book store had set up a library under the trees, with chairs and benches and books free for people, not just kids, to enjoy. The boys loved it:
Then we wandered around the castle, trying to use up our combo tickets from the funicular, which included the museum of Ljubljana’s, and Slovenia’s, history – this was pretty cool, with lots of interesting displays including replicas of artifacts with Touch! signs on them, and video games at kid level, different ones for different periods of history: a facial recognition one that put a Roman helmet, wreath or caveman hair on you, another one that had you catching flies and other bugs and something about a sleeping king (aha, thanks Wikipedia!) and, my favourite, Tito in his limo catching Hungarian flags and avoiding other flags.
We also saw the chapel:
And we waited a long time for the promised “virtual reality” show, that turned out to be very, very lame. Keep in mind that I’ve got an MA in planning, and I really like history, so when I say this early 3D version of a historical story of Ljubljana’s history was boring, even with 3D glasses, this means that it would probably bore the pants off of just about everyone. The kids actually lasted until almost the end (though Sprokette did break one of the pairs of glasses), but then we beat a hasty retreat. I made a quick run (OK, started quick, but there are a lot of stairs) to the top for a couple panoramic shots of the city:
And of the castle:
Also took a couple of regular shots, just for good measure:
Then we all decided to go for dinner. On the way we found a lock bridge, with couple’s names on locks. The kids enjoyed playing with the locks – wonder if the couple’s felt anything as their heartfelt declarations were moved around on strings:
And Sprockette made a friend, and then said goodbye:
We also saw vending machines for fresh dairy and other products:
And one that bottled the milk as you ordered – this must be why we mostly found UHT milk in supermarkets:
We were also stopped by a “postman from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire” who wanted to tell us about things happening in the city. The boys, somewhat surprisingly, turned down the chance to sit on his bike. Poor guy, trying his hardest to do his job, but he told us about things to do at night, not quite getting that with four kids under four between us, nightlife might be not our top priority. He did give us a kid’s guide to the city, which could have been cool if we’d gone back.
Once we found a place, during the wait for dinner, the kids could play here while thumping loud music came from the basketball competition going on in the middle of the city:
Dinner was OK, nothing like our meal in Radovljica though. On the way out the boys stopped to be giants at another replica of the city, like that in Bled.
Luckily they hadn’t seen the kids’ play area right behind them with all the basketball themed activities, since it was time to head to bed. That we did, after a nice walk back from the bus stop after ours.
That is, the kids got to bed, and we, me somewhat nervously, put the babyphone on, and after testing that we were in range, tried to go have a drink since, upon seeing my passport when we checked the day before, the receptionist gave us some drink vouchers. These turned out to be for a super sweet strawberry wine, and we only drank one each instead of two, and then went to bed as well. I know, we’re real party animals.
In the morning, we met up with our friends again, had coffee with them at their camper, and decided to all head to Postojna to see the caves. It sounded like a nice campground as well. We headed back to the van to pack up.
And that was it for Ljubljana – we had a really nice time, but really didn’t do much there, though there probably were other cool things to see. Travelling with kids is often like that – we had remarked on the night we got in that without the kids we probably would have hopped right on the bus the evening we arrived to have dinner in the city, but instead we just hung out at the campground since the kids need to sleep. And in Ljubljana, we needed to pace ourselves to what the kids need (including breastfeeding the 9-month-old), and make sure they eat and sleep at close enough to the right times to make sure there are no explosions. And somethings, like museums, you no longer get to study in detail. But it is really fun to let the kids see so much and learn from it all, and show them all the cool things that exist in the world and that will only increase as they get older. And that was what Postojna was really about.