Al and I hung around the hotel in the morning. At breakfast, we said goodbye to Alan and Thelma, who were leaving on their own journey. I had arranged with Paul, our guide for the next week, to pick us up at noon but he arrived a little early, at 11:45. No problem though – we managed to gather everyone up and, after saying goodbye to Darryl, we hit the road. It was Paul’s first time in Verona but he had a gps, which is highly recommended for this labyrinth of a city. We drove for about 2 hours before encountering a torrential downpour. Paul said that he had been driving in that since early morning and that it had been raining in Slovenia for days, so much so that rivers were topping their banks and flooding. He said we wouldn’t ride in this stuff. Actually he said that HE wouldn’t ride in this stuff. If we wanted to ride then we would be on our own. I assured him that none of us is that masochistic.
We arrived in Ljubljana at 3:30, in only light rain thankfully. Paul dropped us off close to our hotel, which is in the pedestrian-only part of the city, and we arranged a pickup time for Friday. We would have the rest of today and tomorrow to explore Ljubljana before we travel to northeast Slovenia to start cycling.
We carried our bags a few 100 yards to the Allegro Hotel, a quaint boutique hotel. The receptionist offered us samples of traditional Slovenian liquors – honey and blueberry – while we waited our turn to check in. Nice touch! Our room is small but sufficient. The others have better layouts and Lucille and JoAnn have the “family” suite on the top floor – 2 separate bedrooms with another double bed and a single in the living area.
We wandered around in the rain after dropping our bags off – thankfully the hotel provides umbrellas – and stopped into a bar for a pre-dinner drink. Paul had told us that Slovenia has 2 main beers, Lasko and Union. A few microbreweries have started up but their products are not widespread, so I tried the Lasko. Not bad at all! We found a restaurant that Doug and Karen had recommended (I had also read a good review of it before I left home), the Druga Violina (2 violins). They named it that because it sits across the street from a music academy, hence playing “second fiddle”. Clever. The restaurant hires intellectually disabled people and trains them to work as servers. It gets subsidized by the government for this training so the food prices are significantly lower than other quality restaurants. And quality is was! A great meal that everyone enjoyed at a very reasonable price. We wandered back in the rain at 11 p.m., stuffed as usual.