Slovenia has been on my wish list for many years. I moved from Zagreb to Ljubljana before the first Covid19 case in Zagreb, or Ljubljana. I had two weeks to explore before the first case in Ljubljana and I’ve enjoyed being contained in this cute, charming old European city, which has canals, the river Sava and the best bike lanes I’ve seen since Amsterdam.
I’ve been using Airbnb since 2013, usually my hosts have been fine, while some are little odd: the Livorno one asking me to dry freshly washed sheets from the guests who checked out, or the French one who ignored a plugged sink for two days before sending his wife to fix it, most we good. France was funny! She came dressed in tight jeans and platform heals, squatted down and did two things to the sink, got a bucket and collected all the water while it poured out. Then did something else and it was fixed, all while she was in full makeup, dressed to party. A little weird, after she finished she said nothing to us, just left.
I came to Ljubljana February 2020 with expectations of exploring a little before the Covid19 closures. I started following the progression of the virus when I was on a short trip to England back in January. Then in February I packed my belongings and left my Airbnb in Zagreb, my friend Tomi drove me to Slovenia. It was unseasonably warm and perfectly sunny, Tomi and I walked around the center where we hung out a bit before he helped me move my things into the lobby and drove back to Zagreb.
My Ljubljana Airbnb host showed up a few minutes after Tomi left and immediately gaped at all my stuff. He complained profusely about how much stuff I have. Sure, it’s a lot: two suitcases, two garment bags, three shopping bags, a gym bag and an Onawa in a bag. He said he’s never seen someone with so much stuff. I asked if he has had anyone stay for a month, he admitted that he hadn’t so I thought that would be all- it wasn’t. As we walked from the elevator on our second trip he boasted that the building technically doesn’t allow dogs, but that his apartment is the only one that does. I considered how the building can prohibit dogs, but he can allow them. Shortly after, once I was totally moved in he told me that I will need to take Onawa down the stairs to go outside because she’s not allowed in the front entrance.
I asked, walk down four floors! he says no, it’s just two. It’s four floors! Also, behind the building was a huge parking lot. The building which was an old tobacco factory is a huge building, it takes three minutes to walk to the front where the grass is. He went on a few other weird rants then left.
It was all getting overly annoying so I took a bath in the beautiful hot tub, but then all night long the hot water heater was making loud noises. I put earplugs in my ears and was able to get some sleep. The next day I was wondering where the washer and dryer was so I asked the host and his response was that he would come up and show me. He came up later that afternoon and in a patronizing tone he said the weirdest things to me.
I asked where the washer and dryer were and he said it’s really close, he pulled out a map and said, just one minute away. Actually, it’s a couple of blocks away in a whole other building, it’s a laundromat. I told him that the listing said that he had a washer and dryer and that he’s not able to say he has a washer and dryer if he doesn’t physically have one on premises. I decided that it was the best idea to get out of the situation find another place. I called Airbnb and I sorted it out. After only one night with the crazy I was able to move to a nice little garden apartment, but it was small. It was fine for a month, or almost two. I prepared with food and supplies through February and continued to be mostly isolated other than a few dates before lockdown.
I didn’t get much time to see outside of Ljubljana before the lockdown, I went to Lake Bled with Alan, an American I met online, we met on the Saturday before the country closed. Alan was stepping out of Bosnia for his visa, he expected to be going back to Bosnia but that Sunday all borders were closed and he was not able to go back, he stayed in the hotel through isolation.
I was already stocked up on food and supplies for two months, I stocked up in January and February, just in case the groceries would be a problem. I stayed in my apartment for three weeks straight, having no contact with another person till I met Adjen. We went to the market together and he showed me the French grocery store. He helped me find a bike, found me an apartment listing and I moved into a bigger apartment. The new apartment has a huge yard and a private garden, there are nice neighbors and a young cat that likes to come and visit with Onawa.
I went for bike rides to the river Sava and explored outside the city limits where I found farms and dairy vending machines. On May 1st cafés and many outside activities opened up. The following week the stores also opened, we were required to wear masks inside stores, but not outside.
While the virus subsided along with the resurgence of spring, people repopulate the streets and roads in flocks. The ice cream shops and cafés were instantly filled with patrons spending hours with friends and family as customary. I was a little worried about the virus numbers going up again, but two weeks went by and the numbers were still low.
On June 1st masks were no longer required and seems the virus isn’t here. I’m grateful I was able to come to Slovenia to spend isolation, it’s been an easy, stress free experience and I’ll be sharing a more detailed Ljubljana story in the coming weeks.