Ljubljana, October 2001

From the train, Slovenia looked pleasantly rural, with lots of hills and woodland - possibly good walking country. It also looked clean and prosperous. According to "The Economist", Slovenia in 2001 met the economic criteria for EU membership better than some then-current members (it became a member in 2004).
Ljubljana itself also seemed clean (fewer graffiti than Zurich) and economically successful, though with some hangovers from the days when it was part of a planned economy. There seems to be a shortage of hotels - we had no real difficulty in finding a room, but in mid-October, we expected more choice than we actually had.
The most prominent tourist attraction is Ljubljana Castle, on a hill overlooking the old town. Over the years, however, this has been blown up, converted into flats, and (probably most destructive of all) enthusiastically "restored". It's difficult to say which, if any, of the current walls was originally part of a real castle. I decided the castle itself was not worth a photograph, but it does make a good vantage point for taking pictures of the rest of Ljubljana. Here are two:

I thought this bridge was worth a picture; at the time, I knew nothing whatsoever about it. The picture is taken looking away from the centre of Ljubljana.

A resident of Ljubljana, Amadej Trnkoczy, later explained to me in an email how this extraordinary building came to be the way it is, as follows:
" It was in sixties of the last century. Slovenia, a part of Yugoslavia was a socialistic country and progress was significantly differently defined than today or before socialistic era. Everything old was not desired, and progress meant literally industry, traffic and production of material goods.
So people (read a few key guys in power) decided to make a broad road right in the middle of the upper part of medieval Ljubljana by tearing down many 300 plus years old small houses and destroying most of historical and architectural value of this part of the town, including significant architectural landmark of Shentjakobski Trg place. There was a strong opposition to these plans among professional architects, historians, and conservationists. However, socialism never erred, so it was impossible to give up. The result was a 'compromise'. The key building (on your picture) was not torn down but the new road was built no matter what. And that is what you see today."