If planning a trip to any of the Eastern European capitals that were once part of the former Yugoslavia, one must-see city is Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is charming beyond belief, everyone speaks beautiful English, and it sits at the crossroads of more cultural influences than most people are aware of. Besides the influence of the former Yugoslavia and its the Russian, Slavic and formerly Communist influences that arose with those historic relationships, it has also historically been linked to Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Venice (which was not always part of Italy). So for this reason, the food is a splendid combination of tastes and ethnicity, and the musical heritage is outstanding.
Because of its unique geographical location, great classical musicians from all over Europe made a stop in Ljubljana at one time or another, regardless of what country it belonged to at the time. So today that musical heritage is honored with a street that is filled with the busts of classical musicians, and a special music school known as a gymnasium resides in the heart of town where children can be seen coming and going carrying various musical instruments. But for the tourist, who will hear music played literally all over the city at any time of day or night, the best way to learn about this glorious city and its musical history is the Ljubljana Music Walking Tour, offered exclusively by Ljubljana Guides.
This tour is approximately three hours long, and the tourist is accompanied not only by a guide, but a private violinist! The violinist is a street musician, but performs between 8 and 10 violin solos that pertain to the stop the guide is talking about. The tour also includes a stop in a musically themed restaurant, where the violinist also plays piano, and the small amount of promised snacks turns in to a full party platter. The floor of the restaurant is covered with crunchy authentic autumn leaves during the fall. And the “party platter” is soon replaced with creamed cakes and other pastries from the region. They make a second stop for some wine tasting, as well as tasting the regional specialty of blackberry and honey brandies.
Before the evening is through, the violinist performs a fantastic medley of Slovenian folk songs and classical music, culminating in a portion of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. This tour can be booked on Viator, or directly on the Ljubljana Guides web site. To hear a musical taste of the violin playing, click here. or on their web site.
Many escorted tours go to the former Yugoslavia and four of the six countries it has now become, with stops in Ljubljana .Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line give tours as well with various different itineraries. I went on the Overseas Adventure Travel adventure, Crossroads of the Adriatic. For more information on any of these tours, click on the links above.