Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ljubljana: Our First Soggy Impressions

The exits at the Ljubljana railway station point in two opposite directions. After some figuring and interpreting and pulling out our GPS, we manage to head in the right direction, fending off the rain with our travel umbrellas, and are checking in at the Grand Hotel Union Executive within about 15 minutes.

Our first impression is that we've been spoiled by the, yes, American chains we've been staying back. This hotel is one of the landmarks of the Slovenia's capital city, numerous celebrities have stayed there (Queen Elizabeth II is proudly featured in the hotel's magazine), but we're not all that impressed.

We walk a considerable distance from the friendly check-in clerk to the very small elevators in the new (and cheaper) section of the hotel we reserved. We ascend and find our room. A private bathroom but no tub - just a shower. No coffee and tea in the room, not even a teakettle. No iron and ironing board, although there is one of those fancy pants pressers on one corner of the small room.

We'll survive just fine but we feel we've gone back to the 50s - or maybe the early 60s - as we experience Ljubljana's version of a really classy hotel.

The hotel is right on the verge of the Old Town and a beautiful place it is. Unfortunately, at this point it's raining and cold as well and we soon retreat to our room. Thank goodness for the free Internet.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m. after a lot of restaurant research we venture forth once again. Now it's pouring - really pouring - and we walk as promptly as possible to find a place that's open and reasonably priced.

Just as we're about to give up, we stumble upon Paninoteca and manage to salvage the evening with soup, stuffed mushrooms, chicken for Kathy and Veal Saltimbocca for Brian, along with Slovenian wine, Tomas Malabri (okay but not too memorable).

We're back in our room, hoping for better weather tomorrow, and a chance to wander around what appears through the moisture to be a very charming area.

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