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Clare
Clare

Day 13: Maribor

We made an early start this morning to catch a train to Maribor, Slovenia's second city, which is situated approximately 80 miles to the northeast of Ljubljana. That doesn't sound like a very long way, but something we have learned today is that Slovenian trains are extremely slow and the journey ended up taking 3 and a half hours!!

There aren't direct trains between Ljubljana and Maribor, so we caught a train to Zidani Most, which seems to be an important railway junction. The journey was supposed to take just over an hour and although for some reason our train from Ljubljana was around 10 minutes late, the connecting train for Maribor had been held and we were able to dash across to the opposite platform. It was around 10am by this point and we were expecting to be in Maribor by 11.30 at the latest, but for some reason this second train seemed to move exceptionally slowly and eventually stopped for nearly half an hour at one particular station for no discernable reason. By the time we got to Maribor it was nearly 12.30!

This meant it was almost lunch time, but given how long it had taken us to get here we felt that we wanted to stretch our legs and see some of the town before we decided to eat. As we walked from the station into the town, the first sight we saw was this enormous Franciscan church.

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It was built in the nineteenth century on the site of an older church when it became clear that the population of the town was growing too quickly to accommodate everybody in the existing church.

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Despite the size of the church, the centre of Maribor still felt small to us and we were soon in one of the main squares where there is an unusually-shaped monument to commemorate those who were killed opposing the Nazis.

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The map in the guidebook indicated that Maribor had a castle, so we spent some time trying to track it down. We were surprised when we eventually found it - castles don't normally look like this!

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Just around the corner was Maribor cathedral, which seemed small after the enormous Franciscan church but which was nevertheless very pretty.

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There were lots of attractive buildings in the centre of Maribor...

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...although sometimes the guidebook just wasn't detailed enough for us to work out what they were.

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We did establish that this is the city's main square.

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The large white building is the town hall. Adolf Hitler visited in 1941 and gave a speech from the town hall balcony. German troops had annexed the region a few weeks previously.

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In the middle of the square there is an enormous plague column which commemorates the black death which swept through the city in 1680.

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Just across from the main square we got our first glimpse of the river Drava, which runs through the middle of the city.

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We crossed a bridge over the river and had some lovely views back towards the old town.

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We could see the tower of the cathedral and a tiny little chapel on the hill above the city.

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It was a nice sunny day so we decided to stroll along the far bank of the river and enjoy the views.

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There was a good path so we were able to walk for several miles and enjoy views of the hills beyond the town as well.

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It was a very peaceful landscape :)

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Eventually the path came to an end and so we had to turn around and go back the way we had come.

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We arrived back in Maribor some time after 3pm and walked around for a while trying to find a restaurant. Options seemed thin on the ground though so in the end we settled for a drink and a burek and began walking back to the station to catch our train.

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Luckily the train we caught back seemed to be a little bit speedier than the ones we had used in the morning, with the result that the journey home only took around 2.5 hours.

Maribor was a pretty place and there is definitely still more of Slovenia that we would like to explore on a future holiday. Tomorrow afternoon we will be catching a bus to Trieste though for the final leg of our holiday.

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