Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The path along the wire in Ljubljana

In the summer I decided to walk  the entire famous path around Ljubljana. It’s 32 kilometres long and each year in the beginning of May there is an organized march (this year it is the 61st). The route is also known as the path of remembrance and comradeship, a post-war reminder of the times when Ljubljana was surrounded by barbed wire. Along the way there are 8 control points, approximately every 4 kilometres. At each control point you get a stamp in your control card. You can get the control card and a map at the company Timing Ljubljana on Staničeva street 41. On the same day in May they organize a three-member team run on various routes and distances. The uniqueness of the run is that three runners as a team (men, women or mixed) have to run together and also cross the finish line together. Each team’s clock runs until the last member crosses the finish line. This running event encourages the runners’ spirit, which helps the competitors keep a respectable pace. Both the march and the run get people to appreciate one another. 

@Author - Saša Sladič
A one-day trip to strengthen your spirit and your legs
Of course, it’s best to start in the morning; not like me when I started early in the afternoon and then catching the last hours of daylight. If you do it at the organised event in May, it is (as my friends told me) quite crowded, but when you simply want to enjoy the nature of our capital peacefully, then I suggest that you walk the path another time.  Generally, you can start walking the path anywhere around the city because it is circular and very nicely tidied up. Most of the route is gravel and sand. Alongside it there are many trees and plaques with the names of different societies, most likely sponsors. According to the control card with stamps, the starting point is on Vič, near Dolgi most, and the path continues to the Koseški bajer, past the Žale cemetery, through Nove Jarše, over the Golovec hill, through Murgle, Mestni log and we are right back where we started. In certain areas where the path is not tidied up like I mentioned before, there are signs or writings on the ground which show the direction of the route. Signs with the word »pot« are along every kilometre and measure how far along we are, so that we know how much we already walked and how much is still in front of us. That information is very useful to know when near the end, since we are a little tired and we are only waiting for the sign to signify our last kilometre (32.). 

@Author - Saša Sladič
Control points and collecting stamps
The route is accessible the entire year, you just have to be careful that the control points from which we get our stamps are open. The opening hours of the control points of the path along the barbed wire are on the website of the path along the barbed wire.  Usually the control points are pubs (they are opened the longest), a bakery and AMZS (a national automobile association). The route runs along very different terrains; in the nature, away from the roads, and on the asphalt, between the apartment buildings. Generally, it is marked quite well so it’s not likely for you to get lost but if it happens and we lose our way a little we can ask passers-by for help as to where the path of remembrance and comradeship is. We will soon return to »the right one«. I admit it, on the Golovec hill we can get a little tired waiting for the end and the path there goes mostly uphill. Otherwise on the path we can run into other pedestrians, parents with strollers, bikers, children who are learning to drive bicycles, well, everyone who wants to do some sports or recreation away from the traffic and concrete. Along the path there are boards with the description of the history of the route, how it all started and how is it maintained. I missed the first control point and I said to myself that I will return for the stamp there at the end of the day, however I ran out of time because it got dark. That is why it’s best to start in the morning, so you have all day available to do it in peace. In a couple of days, I went and grabbed my last, technically my first stamp in the control card. At that time, they asked me if I'm using a taxi for transport to collect all the stamps to get a medal or an award. I looked at them very surprised and said that of course not, that I'm walking like I am supposed to be. They said that the past week some foreigners came to them with taxis to collect stamps which is not fair. People find all sorts of shortcuts. At the end, you deliver the control card with all the control stamps to Timing Ljubljana, on Staničeva street 41. For one completed walk of the path you get a bronze medal and for more times a silver or a golden one and you are also entered in the database of people who walked the route.

@Author - Saša Sladič
If you want to walk the path a bit at a time or to see more of what Ljubljana can offer, then the best idea to spend the night at a hostel.  Hostel Vila Veselova next to park Tivoli is a good spot to explore our capital because the main attractions are close, there is also hostel Tabor which also has a hall for  different events near the main train and bus station, and quite affordable is hostel Ljubljana which is located in the suburbs of Ljubljana near the BTC shopping centre. We shouldn’t overlook hostel Tresor, which lies in the heart of the very crowded Čopova street and only 50 metres away from the Prešeren square, and hostel DIC which is located in the shelter of the castle hill and offers accommodation only in the summer. 

@Author - Saša Sladič
Well, my intention was to see where and how the path goes, to figure out why it is still so popular and to do something good for my well-being. Along the route you can encounter interesting scenes like a small green dragon, made of green plastic bottles on the top of a fence of a primary school or kindergarten. It reminded me much of the dragon Tabaluga from the famous cartoon, on the other hand the dragon is also a symbol of the city Ljubljana. 

@Author - Saša Sladič
However, warmer days are coming; the end of March and April was too hot for me, so just hit the »path« with an appropriate pair of shoes (no calluses). To get motivated and to catch the hiking bug, you can attend the hike as soon as next month and the entries are already open. Good luck!

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