After a hotel buffet breakfast, we were on the bus and headed for the old city. The walking tour started at St Jakob’s church, where we dropped of our concert gear and got the history of the church from the priest. He had an interesting perspective as he had spent twelve years in Lusaka soon after Zambia became independent.
Much of the architecture is baroque, even though the medieval street pattern is still intact. Our tour included a trip up to the castle overlooking the city, the views were nice, but the castle itself was a little disappointing. It appears to have been restored/remodeled more for use for weddings and parties, which actually means it is a living part of the of the city, rather than a historical artifact.
We escaped the tour group early to duck into the museum gift shop. The shop was mostly stocked with local traditional crafts, which made it a major shopping stop. We then headed back down the funicular to the streets below. Landing right at the central market, we picked up apricots, cherries and strawberries, and started meandering in and out of shops.
Running into our conductor, a notorious shoe “queen,” we went into the shop where she had just made a purchase. The shoes were interesting, on sale and stocked with my size. I walked out of the shop with a pair of blue flat sandals, and spent the rest of the day touring Ljubljana in my stylish new European sandals.
We stopped for lunch at a place with traditional Slovenian food. The menu included wild game and horse, but we stuck to soups and salads. We kept up our shopping stroll, circling back to see the Dragon Bridge, before retracing our steps Gostilna AS for dinner. While we were dining indoors, we were surrounded in glass, with a tree growing up in the middle of the dining room.
We weren’t quite expecting what came out of the kitchen: an entire shank of lamb for each person. It was tasty and beautifully presented, but it was A LOT of food, especially right before a concert.
We had a sizable and appreciative audience which always makes it the singing all the more sweet. As we headed back to the bus, we ran into the end of a symphony concert near our bus stop: lots of security and black vehicles. We learned that we were waving to Japanese royalty and other dignitaries. Unfortunately, the security required for the event delayed our return to the hotel. But, it did not prevent our nightcap:a nice glass of barbera. On our way out, the orchestra troops into the bar – I think the bartender had a a long but profitable night.