During my recent visit to Ljubljana (see “My top 10 things to do in Ljubljana”) I met Dunja. I talked to her about the spirit of her city, its nightlife and what travelling means to her.
Ljubljana is praised not only for its sights, but also for its high quality of life. What characterizes the city in your eyes?
Dunja Derenda: The best thing about Ljubljana is that everything is close. Fancy a dip in the sea? No problem! A one hour drive and you could be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. A mountain hike? A 45-minute drive and you could be petting a little baby goat in Bohinj, and go on a hike to see Sedmera jezera (Seven lakes) that are part of our Triglav national park. Ljubljana is also an interesting historic fusion, being a roman city and discovering its true look until this day.
What are your favorite places in the city that you show to all your guests?
Starting with the Tivoli park (Ljubljana was the Green capital of Europe in 2016) in summer days. The castle, of course. Križanke, built by our famous achitect Jože Plečnik, was a monastery, now it’s an art school and a concert venue. Žale, Ljubljana Cemetery, I know it sounds morbid, but if you are interested in more of Plečnik’s architecture, this is the place to go. And of course food, if you enjoy fresh ingredients the central market, and for a desert you can chill and watch busy bypassers in Zvezda cafe in Zvezda park.
We met you in a Ljubljana club. How would you describe the city’s nightlife scene?
So first thing: our nightlife really begins after 1am, so do not be discouraged! The party days are usually Thursday, Friday and Saturday, on Sunday we rest [she smiles]. If you party hard, there are plenty of clubs, the biggest two being the Cirkus and Top Six. On other nights of the week a stroll throught the centre would feel lonely.
What does travelling mean to you? And what are your favourite destinations outside Ljubljana and Slovenia?
I like discovering new things, and when I visit a new country or even another town close by, food is the first thing I would try. Because Slovenia is a small country, but is very diverse geographically, we have a lot of different traditional dishes worth trying – try Prekmurska Gibanica, so good, here is the recipe).
My personal favourite thing about Slovenia is our nature. If you live in the city, all it takes is a 10-minute drive and you can walk in the forest, listen to birds chirping and breathe fresh air. For a hike you really should go to Sedmera jezera, but if you are not that psyched about hiking, you can visit the Postojna cave. In the summer Slovenians usually visit our neighbouring Croatia for a nice vacation (they got more sea). Slovenia truly is a beautiful and diverse country that you could discover in one week or you could be discovering it for a lifetime.
Dunja Derenda studies illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana and works as a model. This short interview completes the travel report “My top 10 things to do in Ljubljana”. (Photo credit: Mitja Derenda)
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