Saturday, August 13, 2011

Visit to Metelkova Mesto starts Irish

The search for a hot meal at 11 p.m. in the, for us still unknown city of Ljubljana, was not as easy as we expected it to be. Somehow we thought every restaurant would still serve dinner, but after weeks of travelling through Central-Europe we should know better now: they eat their warm meals in the afternoon and mostly eat snacks and other small dishes at night. Luckily for us there's always an option to get some decent food in every big city: The Irish Pub.

Almost starved to death we entered the pub and there he was: a nice bartender who could tell us that they still had plenty of fish & chips to feed all three of us. After a pint of Kilkenny and a plate full of fish & chips we left the pub satisfied and went back to our hostel. After some wrong turns we eventually saw our hostel right in front of us, but at the same time we heard some beats from around the corner, with a large group of partying people next to it.

It was clear to me immediately, this has to be Metelkova Mesto, the place I heard, saw and read so much about already. I took my travelbuds along to the crowd and saw that my research was right: this is a very bizarre and cool place to be. Everyone was drinking beers from cans, some were smoking weed and there were more then hundred people just sitting on the ground, on benches and on a extremely large playground high up in the air. This place was crazy and totally new to me!

Marya and Jeroen, who are not enjoying the long trainrides as much as I do, were very tired and decided to go back to our prison cell in Hostel Celica. Because Metelkova Mesto for me was the reason to visit Ljubljana, I decided I just had to stay and see what kind of place this really is, feel the atmosphere, talk to some people and have a good night. After I said goobye to my travelbuddies it seems to me that it was best if I first bought a beer for myself, even though it's a bit silly to buy only one beer for myself, I really needed one and did not make friends yet to drink with. When I wanted to pay with my twenty euro bill, the barmaid told me that they did not had enough chance for such a large amount of money in club Jalla Jalla. I was kind of shocked, but eventually I found a five euro bill in my wallet and I could pay for my beer, half a liter for 1,80 euro.

Feeling quite relieved when I finally got my beer I went outside, where the partypeople were. When I opened my beer I started to listen what languages people around me were speaking, since my Slovenian is not that good I was looking for people who spoke English. It turned out I was in the middle of an Irish group of drunk youngsters who were, just like me, on an InterRail trip across Europe. I started talking with a guy named Peter Murray and he tought me which drinking game they were playing at the time. The name was Cheers Buffalo, and it all comes down to one simple thing: you have to drink and hold your beer in your left hand. If you have it in your right hand, someone can cheer with you while saying or shouting Cheers Buffalo! The person drinking with his right hand is then obliged to finish his beer in one time.

This didn't seem that difficult, but still I had to try my best to hold my beer in my left hand, since I'm not used to that at all. After some talks with Peter about Ireland and Holland I suddenly saw that he was holding his can in hist right hand. Without hesitating I cheered and shouted out 'Cheers Buffalo!' He looked at me quite shocked, but did not say anything. Then he put the can to his mouth and drank the whole beverage in one time. Now I understand why those Irish people are always that drunk, this way you have to drink a lot in a very short time! For the rest of the time I held my beer in my left hand very scrupuleus, because I prefer to enjoy my beer a bit longer.

This was only the first hour in Metelkova Mesto, the rest of the stories will be told later and they will get better, or worse, it depends on how you look at it. I met some crazy locals and there was also this group of Australian guys who travel from London to Bangkok in their Adventure Taxi. Keep a close eye on my blog to read the rest of the entries.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Metelkova Mesto: Ljubljana's place to be

Metelkova Mesto: a free and artistic place in Ljubljana, where nothing is impossible and nothing is regulated by laws or restrictions. By day it is a colorful arty place with weird buildings, sculptures, mosaic and local artists doing their things. At night the whole area is taken over by partying people, locals and tourists drink cheap beers together, there is no door policy or dresscode, there are no closing times and mostly there is freedom, in many, many ways.

Take a look at the slideshow and you get an idea of how it is during the day, use your imagination to see how it is at night, or take a train, plane, bus to Ljubljana to find out for yourself. Stay over in Hostel Celica then which was a militairy prison from the Yuguslav Army years ago. You can stay in a prison cell for the night and just roll your way home after too many cheap beers, because it's also located in Metelkova Mesto.

There will be more updates about Metelkova Mesto in a short period of time, and also my blogs about Wroclaw, Olomouc, Kosice, Ljubljana, Prague and Stuttgart.

A night in jail in Ljubljana

The cell door closes with a squeaking and creaking sound, you can hear the key turning in the lock. There we are, in a prison cell, all three of us... With internet connection, laptops, cellphones and all of our luggage, at least we have that. And of course we have our own key for the cell door. Oh, and we paid more than twenty euro's just to sleep in the prison cell for a night. This was one of the strange experiences in Ljubljana, as there are many more to come.

Earlier this week I already mentioned the free and unlimited atmosphere in Metelkova Mesto on my blog. This squatted place in Ljubljana has no rules, the police will not check the area, so everything is possible here. It once was the property of the Yuguslav Army, with barracks, storage space and a military prison. The whole area was squatted in 1993, after Slovenia freed themselves from Yugoslavia in 1991. There is not much left of the buildings that remind you at that time since everything has been changed over time, but the one thing that kind of stayed the same is Hostel Celica.

This hostel was once proclaimed to be the most hip and funky hostel in the world by the Lonely Planet and they might be right about that. Over eighty artists has been working on the different prison cells to change them in to artistic hotel rooms. Each room is different: with round beds, glass floors, stairs and ladders, paintings and photo's on the wall. If you ever visit Ljubljana, you should definitely book at least one night in one of the prison cells of Hostel Celica. In the hostel there's also a bar and a restaurant, a terrace and a garden with hammocks and beach chairs. It's a perfect place to chill out after a night out in Metelkova Mesto.