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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Slovenia - Day 14: Piran, the Medieval Slovenian Istria

We already bought our bus ticket to Piran at the central bus station in Ljubljana the day before. All we needed was to show up at the station just before 6.40 a.m. to get the bus. While it was terribly early, we opted for this as we wanted to have enough time for sightseeing in Piran, one of Slovenia's most famous cities located at the Mediterranean Sea. Fortunately, our hotel, the City Hotel Ljubljana is just a few minutes walking distance away from the station. It took about two hours until we finally reached Piran.

The buses in Slovenia were always comfortable so far so we could alwas take a nap during the ride. It was too early so we immediately fell asleep. We somehow could not sleep tight as there were (like always) no announcements for the stops. But we guessed right, when we stopped at the supposed time at the ocean and saw something that looked like it could be Piran´s Old Town in front of us. So we alighted there! (the bus didn´t really have many stops, so it wasn't that hard)

The bus stop in Piran is located in front of the Old Town at the sea, and to be more specific, in the Dantejeva ulica, just a few steps south of the marina. It was quite convenient and after adoring the Mediterranean Sea (and arguing, if we should have a coffee now or later), we went to the Sergej Masera Maritime Museum, which (the name gives it away...) displays a lot of maritime artifacts. We were the only guests at first (like always in Slovenian museums) but eventually a couple more people shows up. Anyway, I did enjoy looking at the collection especially at the ships models and ornaments.

The next museum was just a few steps away, the Magical World of Shells. At first we didn't really want to enter when they said, that no photos are allowed. But then they allowed us to take a handful of photos and while it's a rather small place, there are an abundance of shells on display. Some, I recognized that we even have them in the Philippines. 

The Shell Museum is literally facing the main square in Piran, the very wide Tartini Square (Tartinijev Trg). 

We finally had breakfast at a nearby cafe as I didn't feel like going to the next attraction, the Piran Aquarium with empty stomach. I'm absolutely no fun to be with when i'm hungry. The aquarium was neither very big, nor very modern. Nothing like the aquarium we visited in Malta earlier this year. Nevertheless, it was a welcome diversion. Being born on an island, I've always have the affinity to the sea. That is why I always like aquariums and everything that is connected to the sea.

Afterwards, we decided to walk along the coast but then took a short detour to the square Trg 1 Maja and followed some of the small alleys until we were back at the coast, where people already were sunbathing and swimming. We opted to walk further to the historic Punta Lighthouse and the attached Church of St. Clement. The lighthouse is beautiful - nearly as beautiful as the Cape Melville Lighthouse in the Philippines.

The path lead along the coast, but not to the Cathedral of St. George, where we wanted to go next. So we walked through the small alleys and at the second try (after unsuccessfully following a group of fellow tourists, who looked like they might go to the cathedral), found the right way up to the cathedral. You have a great view from there, even if we couldn't enter the cathedral.

From the cathedral we could already see the historic town walls. But to get up there, we first had to walk down and then up again. It was a bit strenuous in the heat but well worth the effort. The panorama up there was fantastic.

We had earned ourselves some time to swim in the ocean and therefore walked down from the walls eastwards towards the Plaza Fiesa to a beach (opposite the lake Jezero Fiesa), a bit outside the Old Town. It isn't a sandy beach, but the water was great and we stayed for some time.

There is a charming way to get back from the beach to the Old Town just along the coast on the Fiesa-path. It didn´t take long and we were back at the Tartini Square and found a restaurant for a late dinner and took another look at the square after that.

Finally, we walked back to the bus stop. We couldn´t buy a return ticket there, but had no problem getting one inside the next bus back to Ljubljana, where we arrived about 7 p.m. After some relaxing I took some more night shots of Ljubljana´s Old Town later.  

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