Vendor City Guide: Ljubljana

Interview by Jean Nikolič

Špela, 35, has been a vendor of Slovenian street paper Kralji Ulice for nine years. She sells in the underpass of the parking garage Trdinova in the centre of the city and helps trains new vendors.

Why I like living in Ljubljana

Ljubljana is our country’s capital and centre of all cultural happenings. Everywhere is very tidy and clean. Slovenia was the fifth cleanest country in the world in 2018 and Ljubljana was Europe’s greenest capital in 2016. In 2018, Slovenia was also declared the world’s most sustainable country. It’s nestled among emerald fields, the Adriatic sea, snowy peaks, and nearly 60 percent is covered in lush forests with more than 40 parks and reserves home to some 20,000 different plants and animals. I have to mention our cuisine as well. It’s exquisite. Visit Ljubljana, you won’t be sorry.

What I love about its history

Ljubljana is a beautiful city with lots of history and an old city centre. You never get bored living here. I love the city’s commitment to preserve historical sights, especially the ancient Roman ruins. At that time city was called Emona and it was on an important trade route. I went on a Roman Emona guided tour and loved it. Besides all the museums, there’s a city within the city called Metelkova. It is autonomous and is more of an alternative place. There’re many clubs and bars, even hostels. Craftsmen, painters and other artists reside there. Definately a place to visit.

My favourite park

It’s definately Tivoli park. Ljubljana got lots of green areas and Tivoli is one of the biggest parks in the city. It’s great for walks and relaxing. It’s very neat and doesn’t get crowded. You can almost forget about daily struggles. Surrounded by nature you can think in peace about your next steps in life.

What the people are like

I must say most of my customers are really friendly. My regular customers know me well and often stop to chat so I’m never bored. Still, you will encounter people who act superior or are bitter. They try to lower your self-esteem. It’s really important you don’t let yourself get bummed out by them. Since I’m retired due to invalidity I consider selling the streetpaper a job. Be positive.

The best time of year to visit

The best time to visit our city is in spring and summer. Besides all you can see in Ljubljana, you can also take a trip to the seaside or visit the Alps – both are within our hour’s car drive.

Not in the guidebooks

No tourist guide will show you Invisible Ljubljana. The street paper offers a tour around city’s hidden spots, mostly related to homelessness. I’m one of the guides showing the spots where I used to live. You are cordialy invited to take part if you find yourself in Ljubljana.

Originally published in The Big Issue (UK)

Read more #VendorCityGuides here.