2 hours away from Ljubljana is Maribor, another small city in Slovenia. Since I was making a visit to Slovenia, I wanted to visit at least two different cities. Bled and Koper are also famous spots, but my train route didn’t work out. Maribor looked cute and was on my way back to Vienna so I decided to make a visit.
Maribor is the second most important centre and the second largest city in Slovenia. It is also known to be one of the new tourist attractions in Slovenia since it won the 2012 European Capital of Culture in 2012. In November 2010, The European Youth Forum announced that Maribor will be the 2013 European Youth Capital. Plus, Maribor was celebrating their all time famous festival: The Lent Festival. But when I told a local in Ljubljana that I was going to Maribor, her reply was “but it’s smaller than Ljubljana.” And remember, I told you earlier how I felt Ljubljana was small, so that means Maribor was really, really, small.. Nevertheless I decided to figure out on my own before I place other people’s judgement.
The train ride itself was pleasant. Remember, I told you my first impression of Slovenia was greenness? This is why..you see green practically everywhere. And its beautiful!
After two hours of such nature, you see the scenery changing and there I was at Maribor!
By the time I arrived here it was around 14:00 (2:00pm), so it was super hot. The moment I got off the station, all I could think of was water, ice-cream, water. But I decided to hold off my temptation for a bit as I searched for the city center again. You can already tell from the smaller size train station that Maribor is small. Perhaps because I visited here on a weekday at 2pm when most are either at work, at school, or on vacation. Hence, I surprisingly saw most of the streets to be more emptier than I hoped to be. Perhaps the extreme heat pushed people away from the streets, I would have avoided the sun that day too if I weren’t a tourist.
But here I was and wow!
What I learned during my short time here was that Maribor was famous for three things in particular: (a) the locally brewed wine from the Old Vine, the Guinness Book-certified oldest vine in the world about 450 years old, (b) the charming city square, such as Slomškov Square, in which many Medieval structure buildings still stand, and (c) the beautiful city view across the river. The nice thing about a small city is that it’s easy to go find these places because they are all in walking distance.
First, I went out the tower at one of the church’s at the city center. Since it was during the weekday day time I was the only person who was going up there. This turned out to be nice because once I got to the top, it felt like I owned this entire place to myself! One had to climb up the stairs and pass the bell tower to reach the top. I was lucky again with the weather, for though it was extremely hot, the sky was extremely clear and beautiful. The moment I got up there I couldn’t stop myself smiling at this beautiful site. I mean, wouldn’t you if you were standing there admiring these scenes below you?
The main city area was cute too. But very small compared to Ljubljana, as I was told earlier. After walking around the city for about an hour or so, I felt like I’ve seen most of the “pretty” part of the old town of the city. But the buildings were beautiful and I agree why they are famous.
I also checked out the Old Vine where they sell the wines. By chance there was a small gathering there and about twenty people or so were celebrating an occasion. It was cute how one would celebrate an event over wine and cheese. They seemed very relaxed and happy. I didn’t get to try a wine, unfortunately, because I didn’t want to miss my train in a bit. But I hoped to try it the next time I see it in the store. At least, now I know for sure where Maribor is when I see that “wine made from Maribor” sign.
The third highlight of the city was quite nice too. I had to walk out and cross the bridge to get this view, but it was worth it. Plus, the walk is not that far, less than five minutes or so. I’m not sure how well this view can be shown on this picture, but I now understand why the tourist office would want to have this picture as the main Maribor city advertisement.
My stay here was probably too short to justify my impressions. Still, I would say though this is very cute, it is really small. It would have been better if I saw more people, but since many were not there it felt very quite. If one does plan a trip to Slovenia, yes one should add this, but if it’s not on its way, it’s probably less worth a visit. For me, I was happy to have made the visit at least because now I got a better sense of how even small cities can be this beautiful and pretty.
But now after that hot breeze, I was ready to return to Austria to visit the 3rd city of the day…to GRAZ!