Today was my first day meeting my new travel companions, a prospect that even still, a whole day in, is kind of daunting. I forced myself to approach some of my companions or I feared I’d be stuck completely on my own for the entire trip, and thankfully there do seem to be some nice people. The most fascinating thing is hearing everyone’s story, as you’re travelling alongside people from all corners of the world. I thought this coach trip would be horrendous, but it turned out to be a good bus culture of everyone getting introduced slowly to each other, a great way to make the time pass and curb thoughts of impending travel sickness.
We broke for lunch at what was essentially a motorway services, and it was surprisingly good, with a meal consisting of a piece of meat and either rice or potatoes with salad and bread to help yourself to – in other words, it was a very pleasant surprise, and nothing like the kind of stop-offs you get in the UK. Time was still getting on though and while I was happy plodding along, a part of me just wanted to hurry up and reach our destination already.
I didn’t get any photos as I wasn’t close enough to a window, but as we made the six hour journey from Budapest to Ljublijana I was met with the sprawling, lush countryside of Slovenia. Honestly, with its mass of tree covered rolling hills and small clusters of houses it’s like something out of a dream (if you can ignore the motorway, of course). The breathtaking beauty of this view helped the final stretch of travelling by creating infectious positivity while everyone was beginning to flag. It bode well for the town that awaited us anyway.
Ljublijana was alright – quite pretty to walk around but not much to do. We checked into our hotel and then after a brief walking tour across the dragon bridge, split up to explore. I visited the castle with a few of the girls, which was a nice walk for getting to know each other and offered some stunning views overlooking the town. After this there was just enough time to wander the streets and many bridges before dinner.
We stopped for food at a burger joint with even more group members and another lone traveller we met along the way, before meeting back up with the rest of the group for our first Contiki trip night out in none other than a local Irish bar. I love a good Irish Bar, and it was such a fun, chilled atmosphere.
It’s just a shame it rained almost all evening, and by rain I mean the kind of torrential downpour that turns the pavements into mini rivers or streams, soaking you to the bone within seconds. Still, it’s all part of the experience. I’ve learned quickly that a positive attitude about things not going to plan is vital if you’re going to enjoy doing anything, and sharing in the trauma of getting wet hair with the group made it all the more bearable.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected from today, but all in all it’s been an enjoyable experience. Despite what I may have believed back in school, people are usually actually nice, and I look forward to the possibility of strengthening these bonds and getting to know my crew even better on the next leg of my Balkan journey in (hopefully sunny) Croatia x