A day trip to Ljubljana was suggested to me by my friend while we were walking one day on the streets of Zagreb, capital of Croatia. It was Christmas time. There were decorations everywhere in the city centre.
Candles lit the facades of buildings, trees and many wooden houses in front of which people were enjoying their mulled wine and sausages. The atmosphere was very Christmassy and you could tell that New Year was approaching.
The idea to travel for one day to Slovenia so as to see how our neighbours decorated the city centre of their capital, suddenly gave me a good feeling and filled me with joy.
Without further ado, we booked our spots in the train via agency. We payed 200 HRK, i.e. 27 EUR per person, which included a return ticket, a guide and a surprise in the wagon number 2.
The day of departure arrived. My alarm rang at 5 a.m. I felt as if it had woken me up from a light afternoon nap.
Full of enthusiasm, I stood up without a slightest thought of wanting to sleep more or snoozing the alarm for another 5 minutes. The smell of freshly brewed coffee spread around the apartment.
I send a text to my friend to check if she was awake. I was surprised by the promptness of her reply.
It was 6 a.m. when we arrived at the train station. The train was supposed to depart at 6.30. It was still very dark outside. After we wondered for a while at the station, we saw a group of people waiting for the train in front of the scheduled platform.
On an improvised table there was the name of the agency. We were at the right spot. Boarding started after the guides found our names on the list. In only a few minutes, five wagons were full to the last place.
After we settled down, I took a glance on other travellers that were near me.
The sharp sound of the whistle meant the beginning of a new adventure.
As we were moving away from Zagreb, a thought started to occupy my mind.
A thought about the advantages of traveling by train instead by bus. I had more legroom, and I could also go for a stroll around the wagon.
The passengers were passing time by talking or surfing on internet. Indistinct voices soon started to intertwine with the rustling of plastic bags. People started to take out snacks and sandwiches. My friend couldn’t resist the smell that filled our nostrils so she took her sandwich out of the foil and had a juicy bite. I brought half a litre of water with me, which seemed enough for such a short distance.
Having gone through all the morning topics, we headed towards the wagon number 2 to see what kind of a surprise the organizers prepared. I pressed the button and the wagon doors automatically opened. At that moment, we were blinded by many candles and Christmas decoration.
We stood there for a couple of seconds in disbelief looking at all those people who were crammed in that wagon and were enjoying the sound of foreign and national hits chosen by the DJ.
At the improvised bar, mulled wine and gin were being poured, and you could also buy donuts and “alcohol bombs”.
It was a truly festive atmosphere which was transferred from the night life on the city streets and squares to the morning train.
It took us one hour to the border. After a short break, we continued to our destination in the same rhythm. Carried away by the atmosphere, we cheered with a glass of mulled wine, and at the same time commenting how we do not remember the last time we drank alcohol at 8 a.m. In that name, we cheered with another glass, this time of mulled gin.
The train was going deeper in the territory of Slovenia, a small, subalpine, middle European country, with a surface of 20 273 square kilometres.
The view from the window followed the winding flow of the river.
It was river Sava that rises on the eastern slopes of Julian Alps in Slovenia, and which then flows through Croatia, right next to the building I live in Zagreb, and then further on to the east where it merges into Danube.
The trip revived my not so old memories of the time when I went with a group of hikers for a two day adventure of conquering the highest peak in Slovenia, Triglav, which is 2864 metres high.
This is at the same time the highest peak of Julian Alps, a mountain range that stretches through the northwest part of Slovenia and northeast Italy.
Amazing views and beautiful nature justify the name of the massif who got its name after the most famous Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar.
After two and half hours in the party train, we arrived to Ljubljana.
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