After riding down hill then following the main road to Sentilj, I was purchasing a ticket for the 07.10hrs train with enough time to scoot off and drink a wake up coffee in a nearby café.
One thing I was shocked by in Slovenia: initially it was a poster of a man in front of his car, draped about by several scantily clad, busty women. It looked like a James Bond thing. Then, when I was in Sentilj, I notice a huge casino with Bar/Girls advertised and another building behind the railway station advertising Striptease/Pole-dancing/Girls. This is so demeaning. It changes how men think about women (or do they think of women as sex objects anyway? I feel British prudishness wash over me. (To be fair, I didn’t notice anything like this again in Slovenia – to this extent, anyway. Perhaps it’s a border town phenomenon).
I caught the heavily graffitied train and had to change at Maribor (the second largest city in sparsely populated Slovenia). I wasn’t allowed on the fast train (no way of getting Rowenna through the doors) but was quite happily accommodated on yet another, slow, stop at every station train. Lots of students going to school getting on and off. Changing once more, I was in Ljubljana by 11.30am.
I was slightly paranoid, locking up fully laden Rowenna – and did what someone on one of the FB cycle touring pages suggested : watched her from a distance for a couple of minutes, because if you’ve been targeted by cycle thieves, they’ll steal it soon after you leave it. I’d just read on t’internet that there’s been an ‘epidemic’ of bicycle thefts in Ljubljana too. Anyway, she was fine. I think stealing a fully laden bicycle is more trouble than its worth to your average opportunist thief (which doesn’t mean I should be complacent).
I looked up the directions to the hostel on the macbook – only 15minutes walk away, right in the centre and easy to locate. The Hostel Tresor is quirky, (converted from a bank with the vaults still intact) cheap and central. Nina was supposed to arrive at around 5.30pm but I got an email saying her flight was delayed so not to expect her until 7.30pm.
I looked up bike shops and selected one about 4.5km from the centre – BikeMania. Seemed easy enough, as it appeared to be straight out along one of the spokes that join in the centre of Ljubljana. As so it proved. Sasha, the main man behind the counter, promised to look Rowenna over and take care of her until Monday. I told him I thought the brakes needed looking at – and asked him to check bolts etc I told him I wasn’t technical AT ALL but pointed out that the Thorn Raven (for this is what Rowenna is) was the first British bicyle to be built around the Rohloff hub and hence has an eccentric bottom bracket. He knew exactly what this was (which was reassuring) and was impressed I knew this much. He also told me where to catch the bus back into town and how and where to buy the Urbanna ticket necessary to use city transport.
The bus was one of those articulated things that bends around corners. By the time I reached the hostel – I noted an extra rucksack in the bedroom, so I suspected Nina had arrived. Sure enough I spotted her returning as I was buying a croissant across the road. She’d been for a quick stroll around and was impressed by the pedestrianised city centre around the river. So was I – it’s very pretty and not at all crowded. It was lovely to see her – and we decided to go out for a meal in one of the many restaurants that line the river.
We indulged in a cocktail – I had a margherita with a twist (called ‘Ruff’) as it had cinnamon in it; Nina had a Kir Royale. We both had soft tacos with a chicken filling. We strolled back to the hostel enjoying the fountains and statues all lit up, and people sitting out enjoying the evening warmth, and window shopping.