Is it just me, or are my editorial updates getting further and further apart? Actually there’s a reason for this, and it’s not just because I’ve been too busy swanning about on Ipanema beach in tight trunks swigging on caipirinhas, cross dressing in Olinda during Carnival, or catching up with Game of Thrones in my pyjamas in London or Barcelona. No, it’s because I’ve been organising a very challenging but equally rewarding blogtrip to the charming capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

The concept was to bring six of the world’s top bloggers to Ljubljana and give them carte blanche to go wild in the city and the surroundings and pursue the most attractive aspects of the destination for them, with a particular focus on food and drink (as we’d heard that Slovenian cuisine has unfairly been overlooked in the past right up to present day). We baptised the blogtrip with the hashtag #TasteLjubljana and there’s already loads of great photos, mini-stories and tips on Twitter and Facebook, as each of us not only sank our teeth into lots of delicious local treats and eats, but also tasted the city’s cultural, hipster and nightlife scene, just for starters.

View from the castle

You might already be familiar with some of the fantastic personalities who descended on Ljubljana for this trip, but probably won’t be familiar with our team name… The Travel Mob. Do follow our collective Facebook and Twitter pages to keep in the loop about all the cool stories, videos and photos that we will publish soon. From attending the awesome Open Kitchen event, or testing the city’s nascent craft beer scene, to stand up paddling in the city centre on the Ljubljanica river we had so many great adventures which I think you’ll enjoy reading about, not only on Urban Travel Blog but on all of the members of The Travel Mob’s respective blogs. In other words stay very much tuned in.

If you simply can’t wait another second for some hot tips on Ljubljana, then I suggest you visit the excellent Visit Ljubljana website, which is packed full of tours, advice and events, or else find them on Facebook or Twitter.

Three Days in Venice

During my entire 36 years of existence never once, that I can recall, have I ever wished to go to Venice. It’s the kind of place that parents go to for 40th wedding anniversaries, or perhaps younger couples with too much money and little imagination. In fact I’m sure I never would have gone, but it seemed like the cheapest and fastest way to arrive to Ljubljana from Barcelona was via Ryanair flight from El Prat to Venice Treviso. Plus my travelling amigo for our #TasteLjubljana mission – Brian from The Travel Vlogger – had never been to Italy, so the die was very much cast.

View from a vaporetto

Despite my distinct lack of enthusiasm for the visit, pretty much from the beginning of our short trip, I was completely charmed. We took a vaporetto boat from the mainland to Guidecca – an island, or rather series of islands, just across the water from the central Venetian islands – and despite the fact that I was there with Brian Cox, and not Eva Green, the soft light of the afternoon sun reflecting over the water off the townhouses and church domes was quite a sight.

Later that night we boated onto the central islands and discovered that yes it was touristy as hell, but that the hype is completely justified. It’s a dreamy and unique place (more than once I expected to see Varys whispering to one of his little birds in some dark shadowy corner by a canal), and anyone who hasn’t spent a day or two at least wandering around with their camera over bridges and waterways, stopping occasionally for the odd surprisingly cheap spritz or gelato, is definitely missing out. My advice is to head down the narrowest and darkest alleys you can find and, you might just manage, like I did, to find a few quiet piazzas without a tourist in sight, even on a summery Sunday in peak season. You will also hit a lot of dead ends, but hey you’re not in a hurry right?

Dead end…

On the topic of Venice I’d like to thank very much our kind hosts at The Generator Hostel who gave us a chance to check out their rather swanky hostel for free. Set inside an wonderful old granary with huge modern bunk beds, great showers and a hostel bar that was so stylish that if it was in London, New York or Rome you probably wouldn’t be allowed in, it’s undoubtedly one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. It’s only potential drawback would be that if you’re on an extremely tight budget it’s location on Giudecca could be a pain… you can only arrive by Vaporetto boat (the city’s equivalent of a bus service) which is an inflated 7 euros a ride, or 35 euros for a 72 hour pass (shorter passes available), although they do at least run all day and night. On the plus side the island has lovely views back over to Venice and gives you a respite from cruise ship oldies blocking your path at every step, so it’s a case of weighing up the pros and cons.

I’ll leave you with two small tips from my stay, and that would be check out Campo Santa Margherita by night for cheap spritzes with locals and a smattering of Erasmus students, and on a sunny day take the boat out to Lido beach for a nice change of scene.

For a fuller flavour of Venice check out these photos I posted on the UTB Facebook page, for example this one:

One for the album

The Round Up…

So yes I’m back from Brazil, in case that’s not pretty damn obvious by now. It was expensive enough during February and March without a World Cup going on, so there was no way – even as a football fan – that I was hanging around for June/July on my Bohemian writer’s budget. On the subject of the World Cup, it seems like a lack of pressure on England didn’t make up for the fact that well, they’re just a bit crap really, and from a patriotic perspective it looked like I made the right decision to skip WC2014 with the three lions limping out with a whimper not a roar. Nonetheless I am enjoying very much writing up the stories from my time On The Road in Brazil, and I do hope the fact that you have to wait a fair bit in between updates isn’t deterring you from following the journey. My last post detailed two of the wonders of Recife, that you simply must check out if you ever head to the North East of this amazing country.

As always, since we last spoke, we’ve had some sterling contributions to Urban Travel Blog from our ever expanding team of writers and photographers… most ostensibly Michael Bailey’s amusing dalliance with the lost martial art of Bartitsu, Margherita Ragg and Nick Burn’s (of the Crowded Planet) photo essay on the decaying Bokor Hill Station resort in Cambodia and Suzi Dixon’s insider’s guide to Bournemouth, England. (Speaking of City Guides, don’t forget to check our list of expert guides whenever you travel as chances are we have got wherever you’re going covered!).

That’s it from me for now. Stories from southern Brazil, Ljubljana (of course!), Budapest and New York all on their way in the coming weeks. But I hardly need to tell you that because you’re one of the sassy urban travellers that already subscribe right? Until next time friends!

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