We drove the Smart into Ljubljiana city centre today. Driving is not easy here. The traffic is very heavy indeed and road junctions something of a mystery – to the locals as well as to us. Traffic lights take an age to change and when they do you still can’t move because there is always a pedestrian crossing in use and the pedestrians, bikes and rollerbladers have priority. By the time there is a break in the use of the crossing the lights have gone red again…
The journey in was decidedly uninspiring, being a combination of Soviet block and post EU buildings. The former are slabs, sometimes lacking widows and the latter, whilst individually OK are mostly empty.
Once into the town centre, the vista was very different especially in the market and university sectors around the river Sava.
Here the architecture is crumbling Austria-Hungarian Empire. Some of it has been done up and looks superb but others look so tatty you feel wary of walking underneath.
The copious population is largely young and busy. We saw no sign of the obesety that we had become accustomed to in Germany and Austria. The city is clearly very art based. The streets are adorned with prints and a lot of the shops, like Salzburg, are very elegant.
There are bits which defy our undertsanding…
which included the parking arrangements.
Having been blocked by roadworks from reaching the indicated car park and seeing a car leave a space, we took it.
Three hours later we find it with parking ticket attached. At this point we have only learnt three words of Slovenian and forgotten one of those, so the ticket was beyond us.
A lady with a German Merc parked in front of us explained that she ran the hotel across the road, “I am always getting those. Ignore it. I never pay them.”
Then a well dressed Slovianian sitting in the nearby pavement cafe asked what the problem was. We told him that we didn’t know what, who or how to pay the fine.
“Don’t bother”, he said, “We have no system for tracing you. I appologise that you have been given it. But just forget about it.”
At this point, we noticed that the registration on the ticket was written as “VX…” whereas the car is “YX…” It occured to us and to him that, of course, there is no letter Y in Slovenia so the traffic warden couldn’t key in the correct registration…
“Ah, said the Slovenian gentleman, you are home and dry. You cannot be booked for any traffic offence in Slovenia!”
We loved the city and the people we met. Most speak quite good English and are so friendly. Buying a few novels resulted in us coming out of the shop with a list of Slovenian wines to try. Even another customer switched to English so we could understand as he said goodbye to the owner!