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Tag: solo travel

Solo Travel in Ljubljana

Solo Travel in Ljubljana

The prospect of travelling alone both excited me and terrified me. Back home, the closest thing I’d done to a ‘solo trip’ was taking the train from Chicago to the suburbs alone. Still, it was something I’d wanted to try. When I’d decided to take a trip to Ljubljana, Slovenia, I knew I’d be going alone.

It was important to me to experience the country that my family is from, hear the language my last name comes from, and eat the food we only have at holidays back home. Needless to say, however, Ljubljana isn’t on most people’s European bucket list. After experiencing this city for only three days, I can say with certainty that it’s a great trip for anyone looking to be immersed in nature, architecture, and the culture of a capital city that lacks political statues, instead favoring to memorialize their national poet.

Ljubljana was the perfect place to explore on my own. The city’s center is extremely walk-able, and there’s always a cultural event or a castle to explore. Travelling alone gave me the opportunity to talk to locals about their love for the city, great places to eat, and about our shared Slovenian roots. I learned that my last name is spelled Jurjevčič – it was Americanized when my family moved to America. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the country’s history, and the people’s pride in their relatively new independence.

(The famous pink church in the center square of Ljubljana)

The food was comforting to say the least. Sausages and cabbages were all over every menu, along with some of my favorite desserts like potiča, a sweet nut bread. Eating alone was an interesting experience; it’s not as lonely as one might suspect, especially with the anonymity of a crowd. It was an opportunity to take in my surroundings and listen the language more than an embarrassing or rushed event.

Ljubljana was also a sort of spiritual experience for me; one I’m not sure I would’ve had if I’d been with a group of people. Little things, like the accordion players in the town square, brought me back to memories with my grandfather. It was bitter sweet to be in the place he’d wanted to visit without him, and, I’ll admit, I was a bit emotional at times. I don’t know if I’d be able to work through and appreciate the weight of the experience if I’d felt the pressure to move along to the next thing that accompanies group trips.

Solo travel allowed me to do what I wanted without regard for the group’s idea, which was a nice change. While I love travelling in groups and don’t have a strong desire to do many more solo trips, being alone and deciding things for myself was what I needed after weeks of being surrounded by other people.

(The Dragon Bridge –  the dragon is Ljubljana’s city symbol)

In my opinion, everyone taking their time abroad should plan at least one trip alone. Whether it’s a day trip to Florence or the eight hour hike to Ljubljana (worth it, by the way), a solo trip is a breath of fresh air between the chaos of school life back at the JFRC. If you are considering Ljubljana, between the art at places like Metelkova, the food, and the beautiful hikes both in and just out of the city, it’s the perfect getaway.