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Day 16: Ptuj and Celje

Today was the final day of what feels like it has been a really long holiday :) Our flight home from Ljubljana wasn't until 22.30, so we wanted to make the most of the day and started researching possible destinations for day trips last night. The main problem we came up against was that Slovenian trains don't seem to run very frequently on Sundays and so some destinations didn't have trains which would get us back to Ljubljana on time for the final airport bus of the day at 19.10. In the end we found a combination of trains which would make it possible for us to visit the town of Ptuj, in the north east of Slovenia, which we knew was supposed to have a really pretty old town.

After a final breakfast of burek, we set off for the station and paid €6 to store our suitcases in the luggage lockers. The tickets to Ptuj cost around €11 each, and Tim did a very good job of ordering them, considering that the name "Ptuj" is not the easiest in the world to pronounce xD The train journey took slightly over two hours, so it was around 11.30 when we eventually arrived in Ptuj.

Ptuj seems to be another town which doesn't think it is worth signposting its town centre from its train station. We walked in what we hoped was the correct direction, getting the first indication that we were on the right track when we found this beautiful white church.


The next significant building we found was Ptuj's town hall, which is rather grand.


The town hall was located in a pretty square.


We soon discovered that the old town in Ptuj is full of really colourful buildings.


As we walked out of the square with the town hall, we got our first glimpse of Ptuj's main church: St George's.


The church has a huge free-standing tower.


The big white stone in front of the tower is known as the Orpheus Monument, and was originally a Roman gravestone, erected in the second century AD.


We walked through more colourful streets...


...until we came to a narrow cobbled path which was signposted towards Ptuj Castle.


We got our first glimpse of the castle as we began climbing up...


...and when we turned around to catch our breath, we had views back towards the town centre and the church.


Eventually we got to the top of the castle hill...


...and could see out over the whole of Ptuj.


Although it wasn't the sunniest day in the world, it was really beautiful here :)


As well as the town, we could see the river Drava and the mountains in the distance behind it.


You had to pay to go into the castle and see some sort of exhibition, so we decided to give that a miss.


Instead, we walked around the hill, enjoying the views in all directions...


...before beginning the climb back down.


We went down a different way to the one we had come up, as we had caught sight of a bright pink building in the distance.


As we followed the path towards it, we had some good views back up towards the castle.


The pink building turned out to be a rather ornate monastery.


We strolled by the river...


...and back into town.


We still had some time to spare before our train, so we sat down for coffee and cake at a cafe next to the church tower.


I was a bit chilly so Tim lent me his shirt :)


Then it was time to catch the train to our second destination of the day: Celje. Celje, which is the third-largest town in Slovenia, is less than an hour away from Ptuj by train. Our main reason for going there was that the connections back to Ljubljana were more frequent than from Ptuj.

We were impressed when we stepped off the train in Celje and found ourselves right in the middle of the town centre :) 


This unusual building is Celje Hall, which was built in the early twentieth century by a Viennese architect as the cultural centre for the German-speaking population of the town. 


After the Second World War, most of the German population left the town and so the building is now used as a tourist information centre and as a venue for concerts.


The centre of Celje seemed small, but there were some colourful streets.


As we were walking through the main square, I caught sight of a logo which looked familiar :o


The other main feature of the square was what we assume is Celje's main church.


It was a very pretty square - I don't think it's often that Grant Thornton has such a picturesque location :D


Once we'd done a circuit of the old town, we headed back towards the station and found a cafe to have another coffee before our next train.


From the train station we saw the main sight of Celje which we hadn't had time to visit today: Celje Castle.


We now had to get back to Ljubljana, which involved a short train journey to a station called Zidani Most, followed by a transfer onto a train to Ljubljana. Once in Ljubljana, we just had time to retrieve our luggage and grab some food before fighting our way onto the final airport bus of the day and heading to the airport. Where we found out that our flight was delayed by 35 minutes :( 

Delays aside, it has been a brilliant holiday. We've visited four countries and seen nine castles, three lakes and two caves; that's not a bad record for two weeks off work :) 

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