The juxtaposition of life in Tegucigalpa and that in Ljubljana couldn’t be more stark. We touched down only days ago but we’ve already explored and enjoyed more of Ljubljana in the last few evenings than we ever managed to see of Tegucigalpa.
All of the cliche expressions apply. The weight has been lifted, we have been let off the leash, it’s a breath of fresh air, and so on. The last one in particular sums up our first impressions. Our last tour we fell into the drudgery of a work-to-home routine in which our only insulation from the things we hated about Honduras was isolation. We spent more time lounging in our living room than actually living. But here, we’ve spent hour after hour simply strolling outside, which seems like it might be the national pastime.
It helps that we happened to arrive during what many are calling the first week of real spring weather and that we live quite literally in the heart of the city (bless you, GSO housing gods). We may have spent hours walking, but all of the images in this post were taken with 1-10 minutes walking distance of our apartment. One of these images actually is our street, but I’ll leave that a mystery.
Every evening after work, we set out in a different direction. We’re certainly not alone: every sidewalk is bustling with dog walkers, coffee savorers, gelato scoopers, bikers, and the occasional tourist. While every turn seems to hold more of the same cute cafes and quant alleyways, it likely won’t get old. Especially not with so many running paths to be explored, market stalls to be perused, and restaurants to be sampled.
While eating out every night seems equally appealing and, to my surprise, affordable, fixing our own meals also holds new allure thanks to the open air market boasting locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, fish, honey, bread, and so on. You can even get horse meat, if that’s what you, like Slovenians, are into. The lack of variety in the grocery stores (akin in size and selection to a large convenience store more so than an American grocery chain) is made up for by the quality and the simple pleasure of knowing where, exactly, your food comes from.
I haven’t quite found a way to articulate how wonderful and charming it all feels in contrast to our last experience. The common refrain among our colleagues is that we’re going to love it here. How could we not? Maybe it’s the castle perched on a hill in the city center or maybe it’s the dragons that adorn nearly everything (from bridge railings to manhole covers). Whatever it is, suffice to say that, so far, Ljubljana feels like a fairytale.