My next adventure: Istanbul/Eskişehir (Türkiye) – April 2024

Ljubljana – July 2022

Day 3 (Ljubljana) – Trains, Castles and Bridges

Today was the return of European train travel (well since 2015) as we headed Ljubljana in Slovenia. The thought of getting old struck me when the floor near the information point was lined with sleeping British teenagers or in their early 20s clearly inter-railing Europe…oh what it was like to be young and innocent!

Anyway, as per 2015, I pre-booked assistance with both Croatian and Slovenian railways (as it’s two separate systems which is rather annoying) and as soon as we informed the assistance team on the platform, the mobile ramp/lift was rolling down to greet us (Zagreb is one termini for the Euro City routes so was already waiting for our presence). Now, when I booked the train, I was notified that there wasn’t any wheelchair spaces so I didn’t know what to expect but all became apparent when I was lifted up to the door…

It was my arch nemesis, the DEATH train coming back to haunt me! That is probably a slight exaggeration, let me explain. If you read my inter-railing blog back in 2015, you may remember that there was this one train (from Vienna to Katowice) that was completely inaccessible and contained narrow walkways with sudden drops when you reach the door. Yes, that was our train to Ljubljana also. Essentially, as you enter the carriage, you have to turn a corner to access the walkway which runs down the carriage with the compartments spurring off. Of course, said corner also contains a drop where the steps leading to the opposite door are leaving not much at all for any wheelchair to safely pass. The only way is to hug the wall, let the wheels skim the drop and hope for the best. However, the fun doesn’t stop there as you have to then navigate the walkway and shove yourself into your compartment…

After a 40 minute delay, we were off! The train to Zagreb to Ljubljana is estimated to take 2.5 hours, however, it does not take into account the additional 20 minute delay at the border when both the Croatian and Slovenian border force jump onboard to stamp passports. Although both countries are bordering one another, the scenery difference is stark; although the Zagreb region of Croatia has a hilly backdrop, as you travel deeper into Slovenia, the hills start to become mountains for which the railway line weaves it’s way around, a little like Austria (all this to a background noise of a group of British inter railers falling out with each other).

Anyway, we arrived at Ljubljana shortly after 11 and guess what…no ramp to be seen! However, after a little hand gesturing, all was dandy. Despite Ljubljana being quite a modern station, it still lacks platform elevators hence stair lifts were used to access the subway. What is odd is that there is an elevator from the subway to street level!

As usual, the area around the station is delightfully tacky yet has accessible restaurants to take advantage of. Even more so than Zagreb, everything in Ljubljana is within walking distance hence its only a 10 minute walk into the centre…

As in Zagreb, most of the surfaces are smooth and even when there is cobbles, smooth pavements are present making it ideal for Superbunny.

One of the main draws to the city is it’s castle and its funicular (another one!) so we just had to go! As the castle was renovated and the funicular was built in 2007, both parts are fully accessible and you are able to ride the latter for FREE if you are disabled!

Whilst at the castle, we headed off to a lesser know tourist spot to marvel at the cityscape…

With a few hours left of our Slovenian excursion, it was only right just to head back down to the centre, take in the sights and get lost in the process (oh and avoid downpours!)…

It was then time to step back onboard DEATH train. The additional issue this time being that the train was coming from Frankfurt meaning that the compartments would be fuller. Not to worry though as a very helpful Slovenian woman took charge once I was onboard and, in effect, kicked out a British group out of a compartment (even when they tried to kick off themselves) so I could enter…don’t mess with Slovenian women! As we neared Zagreb, the guard came and asked if we needed assistance and proceeded to call through to ensure the ramp was waiting…like being back home! Slight issue with the ramp not lowering though…

Tomorrow is our last day in Zagreb, the plan is to wander down to the river and just a general gander. I also need to suss out the accessibility of the public transportation…

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