And so having crossed the border into Croatia, a quick lunch stop, I was back on the train to Slovenia from Zagreb. Another border crossing and I was suddenly travelling along perhaps one of the most beautiful train journeys that Europe has to offer. Following along the Ljubljanica river the train line passes around some of the tallest Mountains I’ve ever been in. Beautiful peaks, covered in rocks & trees, with villages & hamlets along the way… was one of the most stunning pieces of travel I’ve ever had.
Anyways, Maribor, just 20KM or so from the Austrian Border, is surrounded by Mountains, as many parts of Slovenia are. A smallish city, yet the second city of Slovenia. Apart from crossing the river Sava and it’s small Old Town, it has to be said it’s a pretty charmless place. The immediate surrounds to the train station reminded me more of Warsaw than perhaps any other city I’ve been in & has a real former Communist feel. Some of the street names still have what look like Red Stars above them as a legacy of the Communist era.
Anyways, when I got to the hostel, I discovered that I was the only one who was staying there that night!! So the owner, an English lady called Rose, offered to take me out on the town to show me around & give me a bit of a history of the city. A former Design Artist, she’d upped & out of the UK… err… because she could. Anyways, she toured me about, we took a few pictures, and ate in one of the best pizza houses in town, before going to one of her favourite cafe / bars. A really pleasant evening, in decent company all told. In her favourite cafe, called KGB (interestingly enough in a former Communist country!!) we ended up crashing an end of year Uni party… which was interesting as all these ‘foreign’ kids were communicating with each other in English.
The next day, I decided to do a bit of wandering & get the obligatory fridge magnet for the ‘rents and managed to come across a film being recorded in a cafe. Apparently it was an Arabic English movie… and Maribor was supposed to be London. It didn’t quite work for me, but hey, I guess it does the business for the Arabic world. And so, with some rain on the way I climbed on a train to Ljubljana. 9 Ecus for a 3 hour journey in second class (which is as good as standard in the UK). And back into the scenic mountains. Awesome…