Swan Lake to Lake Bled

17th November 2006 at 00:00
Emika Asani, below, teaches at Bezigrad primary in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. Here she gives the inside track on where she lives.

Favourite place when you have a day off?

I go walking in the mountains quite near to Ljubljana. The Julian Alps are to the north. My favourite is the Gorenjska region. The walking is quite demanding but rewarding. I like being so high up, the views, the peacefulness, the quiet and the fresh air are exhilarating.

Sometimes we see chamonix deer, wild goats with long horns, hawks, gophers and squirrels.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Lake Bohinjsko from Ljubljana. We park there, choose a route and off we go. Lake Bled is a beautiful place too.

When's a good time to come?

Autumn and summer are good for walking. There's usually snow around Christmas. Last year was a sharp winter, with snow in the city up to February, but sometimes it's relatively warm even in the winter.

Don't miss

The old town of Ljubljana. Climb up to the castle in the centre of Ljubljana, where there are video projections showing the history of the city and you can see the whole of Ljubljana and its beautiful architecture, a mix of medieval and art deco, from above.

Lunchtime treats?

Walking around the old city centre, you'll find lots of cafes. We have good coffee here - it's different from British coffee. More like the Italians make.

I like Konjskierep, where you can sit in the open air, near the river.

Zlata ladjica and Ljubljanica are good too. We have outdoor gas heaters, so people sit outside even in the winter.

In the evenings?

Sometimes I go to the cinema or the theatre or ballet. Many international theatre and ballet companies come on tour to Ljubljana. It's not a noisy town. In the evenings it's peaceful and feels very safe.

Visitors beware

Spring can be rainy, so it's not the best time for walkers.

Remember to buy

The market in the old town is quite big and sells everything, especially home-grown and homemade food, spices and herbs. From the end of November, there's a Christmas market, which goes on until New Year's Eve. They sell pullovers, caps and socks, usually handmade, often from local wool; toys; musical instruments; jewellery and sweets called lect, made of chocolate or honey.

We have a lot of honey. There's also a local spirit, medica, made of honey Find out more

Walking maps showing marked paths in the mountains are free at every tourist office, or you can buy them at bookshops in the city. For more information contact the Slovenian tourist office (0870 2255 305, www.slovenia.info). Ljubljana: The Bradt City Guide by Robin and Jenny McKelvie costs Pounds 6.99.

How to get there

EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) flies daily into Ljubljana from Stansted, Adria Airways (www.adria-airways.com) has a regular service from Gatwick and Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com) flies three times weekly from Luton.

Climate cost

Offset the climate cost of a return flight to Ljubljana for pound;5 per adult (www.climatecare.org).

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