They say that Ljubljana is now what Prague was ten years ago, and they may be right. It has all that Eastern European charm, the Habsburg architecture, the castle on a hill, the punked up kids in nightclubs, but with none of the Brits on stag parties and rampant prostitution.

Hannah and I meant to stay in the Hostel Celica, which was once a jail and is now an “art hostel”, but once again I booked it for the wrong night. Stupid off by one errors are why I’m not booking more than a few nights ahead on these freewheeling trips again. We stayed in the institutional but perfectly serviceable Hostel Tabor, which is a university dorm during the academic year.

Slovenian facade

Ljubljana is a beautiful city, with a great pedestrian zone filled with cafes along the river, and a nice urban planning mixture of historic buildings and new development. We strolled the promenade, perusing the weekly antiques market. Hannah kept wanting to buy old knives, and I beer steins, but we decided neither would travel well. Then we stormed the castle, where we found the inspiration for Trogdor the burninator. Then we got some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had; even though it wasn’t gelato, it fulfilled our church-sweets deal nicely.

Red Hot Horse

At night we scouted around for a fast food restaurant that serves horse burger. However, the map we had was both precise and inaccurate, which made us do several laps of a garden park. We gave up and went to Jose Pena’s (Slovenia’s first Mexican restaurant!), but it didn’t satisfy my need for horse. Then, as we were wandering drunkenly home, we found it: Red Hot Horse! I strolled in and asked for a double horse, prosim. The guy asked “mustard or mayonaise”, but I thought he was speaking Slovene, so I responded that I wanted all the toppings. He rolled his eyes at me, but served me nonetheless. A horseburger franchise must be used to dealing with drunkards at all hours of the night. It actually tasted like a gristly hamburger, and I only ended up eating half of it, but now no one can tell me that I haven’t eaten horse (or pigeon, or rabbit, or boar, or sea urchin, or God knows what else I will eat on this trip).