Ljubljana - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

June 11, 2022 to June 12, 2022

Ljubljana

Saturday, June 11

I’ve arrived in Ljbuljana for a four week tour in Slovenia. The plan is a circular route covering most areas of the country, with a beginning/ending here, in Ljbuljana. I’m both excited and nervous about the tour. Cycling in Slovenia is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and my trip through the Alps last fall gave me confidence that I could probably handle the terrain. But I’ve not traveled in Central Europe and Slovenia seems a bit exotic.

I also worry that the trip might be a bit cursed – what with breaking a derailleur hanger and the subsequent delay. So I wasn’t too happy when fifteen minutes into the ride from Paris to CDG I realized that I’d left my computer charger back in the Paris apartment. It was the second time this week I’d forgotten a charger, as I’d also left one in Amiens. I had to go to two Apple stores in Paris before finding a replacement charger with the proper connections and sufficient power output – something I might not find in Ljbuljana. So, I had the driver take me back to the apartment where Christiane was waiting in the street, charger in hand for a quick pass-off. Luckily, I’d given myself plenty of time so even with the delay I made it through check-in with almost two hours to spare.

The flight to Ljubljana was full – and it seemed almost all were Americans. I was assigned a window seat (not my preference) and although flying still makes me a bit nervous, I spent most of the two hour flight looking out the window at snow-covered Alps and long green valleys. As we circled down toward Ljubljana, I couldn’t help but note that the city lies in a basin ringed with hills and/or mountains. I gulped a bit and focused instead on the Solvenian farmland, beautifully arrayed in rectangles of yellow and green.

I grabbed a taxi to my hotel in Ljbuljana and lucked out with my driver – Andrei is a huge cyclng enthusiast who was once a national champion in Yugoslavia. He’s racing tomorrow in the Maraton Franja, a UCI sanctioned Grand Fondo event that is also open to all riders and bikes. In fact, Andrei is racing and asked if I was in town to ride in the event! No, but I might go over in the morning and take a look.

Once at the hotel, I took a brief nap, assembled Vivien George, and headed out for dinner at a traditional Slovenian restaurant a short distance from the hotel. Keeping in the spirit of things, I ordered goulash and  štruklji, the latter being fried cottage cheese with bread cumbs and, in this case, a garlic –herb sauce. The goulash was great and the štruklji interesting. While eating, I overheard a couple at the next table talking about bikes, so I introduced myself and joined them for coffee. John and Mary Lou hail from Austin and had just completed an eight day tour of northwest Spain with six of their Austin cycling buddies. It turned out that we had lots to talk about and it was almost dark by the time I pulled myself away and headed back to the hotel – inspired and excited for what lay ahead.

My current plan for circling Slovenia
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Approaching Ljubljana on a cloudy afternoon. The capital city lies in a basin, with the Julian Alps to the northeast.
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Agricultural fields and small towns of the Ljubljana Basin
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Mary Lou and John, avid cyclists from Austin
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Sunday, June 12

After breakfast, I took Vivien George for a test ride to see the goings on at the Maraton Franja bike race. The city has a wonderful network of bike lanes and it was an easy jaunt to race headquarters at the BTC City shopping area. It turned out, however, that I arrived  between race starts – the group of professional riders had already departed while the amateurs were not due to depart for another hour. I moseyed through vendor area, stopping at the tents of the great Slovenian cyclists Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič. However, my search for a Slovenia bike jersey was for naught and I decided to move on. My route back to the hotel took me along the Ljubljanica River and over Zmajski Most, or the Dragon Bridge. Vivien George passed her test ride with flying colors, leaving me the afternoon to explore a bit of Ljbuljana on foot.  

The empty starting line of the Maraton Franji, a UCI Grand Fondo cycling event
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The Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar won the the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021 and is currently the top-ranked UCI cyclist in the world
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Betsy WestAm finally catching up reading your journal on July 3, the 3rd day of the
Tour de France so especially like these pics!!!
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1 month ago
Primož Roglič is a two-time winner of the Vuelta a España and former UCI #1 cyclist, until he was topped by Tadej Pogačar. His tent was smaller than Tadej's, but he had a nice life-size cutout sporting his Jumbo-Visma team jersey
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At about 30 minutes til race time, eager riders started lining up in a small sliver of available shade.
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Crossing the Ljubljanica River
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Along the Ljubljanica River
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If you've got an itch, scratch it!
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Along the Ljubljanica River
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At the Dragon Bridge. The dragon is the symbol of Ljbuljana, appearing on the city coat of arms as well as this bridge
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Lucy MartinRandom book recommendation since you posted this picture and dragons are the city symbol:
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

It’s really good. Nothing to do with cycling but an excellent read.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Lucy MartinThanks Lucy - hope all is well in Ames and that you're staying cool
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1 month ago

After dropping Vivien George at the hotel, I headed over to the pedestrian area along the Ljubljanica River, stopping for a light lunch at one of the many riverside eateries. Then it was a hike up to the Ljubljana Castle, where my senior-discounted ticket gave me access to tower and the Puppet Museum. The afternoon was decidedly warm, so after my castle visit I indulged in a double-scoop gelato and then decamped to the hotel for sorting gear and packing the panniers. I returned to the river for dinner at a good Indian restaurant, stopping briefly at an outdoor concert in Kongresni Trg, Congress Square.

On the streets of Ljbuljana approaching Prešeren Square, the central square of the city
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Scott AndersonAmazing. It looks much like it did back in 1998, down to the paint scheme.
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In Prešeren Square
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The Prešeren Monument depicts France Prešeren, a national poet of Slovenia, with a muse over his head. The sculpture is designed by Ivan Zajec
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A look across the Tromostovje, or Triple Bridge, to Prešeren Square. The salmon pink church on the left is the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
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Along the Ljubljanica River
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Along the Ljubljanica River
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Inside Ljbuljana Castle and heading for the top of the tower
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Vier from the tower looking north, toward the Julian Alps
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View to the east, over the orange tile roofs and along the Ljubljanica River
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View of the castle courtyard. Extensive renovations in the 1960’s give the interior a decided contemporary appearance and the castle now serves as a venue for concerts, weddings and other social events.
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Looking down on Prešeren Square and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation
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At the Puppet Museum, which traces the rich history of puppetry in Ljubljana
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In the Puppet Museum
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Lucy MartinEek! Any puppet-themed nightmares? Not to project my phobias onto you.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterThey are a bit creepy, but no nightmares to date.
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1 month ago
In the Puppet Museum
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View from the west side of the castle
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On the way back down from the castle
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On the way back down from the castle
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Early evening along the Ljubljanica River
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Early evening along the Ljubljanica River
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Early evening along the Ljubljanica River
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Unexpected obstacles of urban cycling
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University of Ljubljana
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Outdoor performance in Congress Square by Godalkanje and the Wild String Trio
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Ljubljana is certainly a charming city, big enough to be interesting but small enough to be comfortable. My time there left me feeling more excited than anxious about my upcoming travels, and eager to experience more of Slovenian hospitality, culture, and cuisine.

Today's ride: 7 miles (11 km)
Total: 1,206 miles (1,941 km)

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Rachael AndersonGlad you made it! Try not to forget any more cords. We are in Dover now and when we got to our room we realized our Great Britain adaptors don’t work in this part of the UK but fortunately they had one we can use while we are here. Hopefully, we can find a place to buy one. Dover doesn’t have many stores. Have a great trip!
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1 month ago
Suzanne GibsonSounds like you are off to a good start! It's going to be a wonderful trip!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonWhat?? At first it sounded like we should have kept your old charger around for you after all.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Rachael AndersonHope you find a suitable adaptor - one isn't nearly enough! I can't believe they are different in Dover than elsewhere in the UK. Maybe you can send me some pics of what works by WhatsApp - I'll be there in August and want to be prepared. Hope you have a great 3 months in the UK.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonIn retrospect, maybe so but still a hassle to have you lug it around. The one I need is available but hard to find as the Apple stores seem to stock the latest products, which now use magnetic connections to the hardware (instead of USB-C). More fodder for Apple-bashing.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Suzanne GibsonThanks Suzanne! I'm pretty excited.
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1 month ago
Mary Lou BellSusan, it was great meeting you in Ljubljana at Figovec. You inspired us to do a three day trip on the Murradweg from Graz. We’re back in Austin TX now but using your blogs to plan our next biking adventure in Europe. Your blogs are incredibly well written, interesting and enlightening. Keep up the good work and happy cycling!
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Mary Lou BellIt's great to hear from you Mary Lou, and thank you for your very kind comments. I'm delighted that you and John got out for a small tour from Graz. I'll be in Austin for a wedding in mid-December. There will be a lot of family obligations, but maybe I can get away long enough to meet for coffee and catch up.
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1 month ago