Train in Slovenia

Eurail Adventure: Ljubljana to Zagreb

Derek Croatia, Slovenia 26 Comments

Train in Slovenia
As if walking twenty minutes across Ljubljana (basically from one end of the city to the other) at 7:30am, in temperatures that refused to rise above freezing, and with my backpack strapped to my back, wasn’t tough enough considering my strong dislike for waking up early, you can imagine how I felt when I soon found myself standing on Platform 6 at the Ljubljana train station, waiting for a train that simply was not arriving.

The official departure time had been 8:15am, but as 8:15am rolled around, as well as 8:30am and 8:45am, no train had appeared. And there I stood just staring at the ground, along with fifty other people whose bodies were frozen solid and who all appeared to be in the same state of indescribably horrific pain as a result of the strong wind blowing in our faces. All I could do was wonder how rare it must be for a train originating in such an efficient country as Austria (the train was coming from Innsbruck) to be so late.

Ljubljana Train Station

It was not until 9:20am that the train slowly pulled alongside the platform, at which time all fifty of us passengers jumped on board in a massive rush.

This was a small train of only five cars and so I simply opened the sliding door to the first compartment I came across that had an empty seat. Five minutes later the train began to move towards Zagreb, Croatia and I smiled at my fellow passengers in the compartment, which included an elderly Slovenian man and two young Slovenian women.

My friends, I must tell you how lucky I was to have chosen this compartment. For the next two and a half hours I would end up not only chatting with two lovely Slovenian women, but receiving a most thorough and eye-opening education about….the natural beauty and cosmetic product company known as “Lush”, which I’m sure many of you have heard of.

Yes, yes, yes. It turns out that these two women were both store managers of Lush locations in Slovenia and they were on their way to their annual, week-long company meeting/social get together that was taking place in Belgrade, Serbia.

And so, after introducing ourselves and getting to know each others brief personal story, I proceeded to sit in that train compartment in a state of complete fascination as I discovered an entirely new world, a world that consists of Fairy Jasmine Bath Bombs, Sex Bombs, Shimmy Shimmy Massage Bars and even Pow-Wow Lip Scrub, which is made from Pop Rocks candy and is meant to be licked off by one’s kissing partner. (No, they did not have any Pow-Wow with them for me to sample.)

In order to hold my attention as much as possible, these two women would often take a break from talking about sensual lotions and shower gels, and they would point out the window, giving me a basic, but interesting, description of the towns and villages we passed. Of particular note was the wine region of the Lower Sava Valley, a region I wished I had visited during my stay but which I will certainly reach the next time I’m in Slovenia.

Train Stop in Slovenia

As you might imagine, this constant conversation made the trip from Ljubljana to Zagreb pass quite quickly. And I must say that, overall, this certainly was another fantastic European train journey. The train car itself was surprisingly warm, the immigration procedures entering Croatia were super-easy as the officers board the train and check your passport without you ever leaving your seat and the combination of inspiring Southeastern European scenery and friendly fellow passengers once again reminded me why I enjoy traveling so much.

However, it must be said that by the time I arrived in Zagreb and had to say my goodbyes to the two Lush store managers, all I could really think about was finding a Lush shop in Croatia. I desperately wanted to purchase one of their Irresistible Bliss Solid Shampoo Bars (that supposedly lasts for 80 uses – can you imagine!) and, well, quite possibly a You Snap The Whip Body Butter, just in case I meet a special someone while on this trip.


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Comments 26

  1. sokol

    soon i have a training in slovenia ,but after read this story i will make a trip from ljubiana to zagreb to meet my friend over there, 😀
    any suggestment for the way what should i choose train bus or else sure who is cheaper 😀
    and better 🙂

  2. Gjoko

    Hi Earl, nice to hear that you have such a great expirience. Few months ago I had the same destination as you did, but I was traveling, early in the morning, and the train was delaying 15 min. The train was very fast, same as were the immigration formalities. I enjoyed starring at the landscape all the way down. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Gjoko – It is definitely a nice ride, even with the delay! But the trains really have been quite comfortable and so far, all of the train trips I’ve taken have been completely enjoyable.

  3. Leah Downs

    (@barebrancheshvn on Twitter). Your journey from Ljubljana sounds more colorful in many ways than ours…I mentioned on your Lake Bled post that we went from Ljub to Zagreb by car, so we didn’t meet the fascinating locals that you did (always makes a trip more interesting) and we missed being introduced to the colorful and sensual cosmetics you described. As a female, I would have REALLY appreciated that!. During our drive we encountered a nearly universal landscape of gray, concrete block apartment structures dotting the landscape along the highway. I know the color will come over time, but our impression was that the Soviets must not have encouraged diversity/color/beauty (in the architecture of the mass dwellings anyway). It is a beautiful country, and I’m sure that with freedom of government will come freedom to express beauty in art and architecture.

    If you’ve not made it yet, I highly recommend a trip along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia to Dubrovnik. It is entirely walled city that juts out into the Adriatic pressed up against mountains. Marble buildings, marble streets, red tiled rooftops, stunningly beautiful buildings…it’s a must see. The lore is (though I don’t know if it’s true) that Dubrovnik was considered such a “jewel” in Europe that both sides in WWII agreed it was off-limits to bombing. Unfortunately those engaged in the Balkan war did not have a similar agreement so it sustained a good deal of shelling (some of which is still visible), but they’ve gone to considerable effort to repair the damage.

    I’m going to enjoy your blog, because it feels like re-living many of my own memories, through a different lens! Thanks for sharing your experiences

    1. Earl

      Hey Leah – While I did not visit the Croatian coast on this trip, I did spend some time in Split, Dubrovnik and Cvtat a few years ago and Drubovnik really stands out as one of those truly remarkable places to visit on this planet. I really loved that town and could have spent a long , long time there!

  4. Nicole

    HAHA that is really funny. Lush is one of those stores when you walk in and the scent overwhelms you. Not in a bad way, necessarily, just an, overwhelming way. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Nicole – I have yet to have this overwhelming Lush experience but I am curious to check it out the next time I pass one of their stores!

  5. angela

    granted, i haven’t actually seen you in over 10 years (right?) and time does indeed have grand changing powers, but the derek, er, earl, i knew would have been hilariously adrift in the conversation you described. i’m still chuckling, several minutes after reading about your lush encounter.

    so glad i found your site. i look forward to these dispatches from the road and hope one day you’ll be writing about your trip to vermont… (or wherever i happen to be.)

    xo – ama

    1. Earl

      Hey Angela – I’m glad you found the site as well considering that it has been so long since we’ve been in touch! And I have no doubt that a post from Vermont will find it’s way onto this blog at some point, or at least from a place where we are finally able to meet up again 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Erik – So I guess you’re a Eurail expert! It is interesting to see the differences in the trains and systems as you go from one country to the next. And overall, I must say, I’ve been impressed by almost all of the trains so far!

  6. Greg Hayes

    an 80 use shampoo bar!? I may have to trek over to Eastern Europe to investigate. Once again your stories enlighten my day and make me all the more excited to begin my travels next summer. I wish I could go now, but I’m working on finishing college so my trips are summer or winter breaks, at least until I graduate.

    1. Earl

      Hey Greg – Well, you’re in luck. They sell those shampoo bars (which apparently weigh a mere 50 grams) in Lush stores all over the planet 🙂

      And that’s great that you’re finishing up college. Believe me, having a degree, any degree, does make it somewhat easier to obtain employment overseas if you do decide to take that route at some point. It’s worth the wait and of course, as you said, you still have school vacations to get some traveling in!

  7. Alex G

    funny coincidence! I also met the Budapest managers in Belgrade, they stayed at my hostel for the week and gave me some nice shampoo and the chewing tabs to brush your teeth with!

    1. Earl

      Hey Alex – Did you really meet them? That would be quite funny. They seemed like quite a fun group although now I want to know why I didn’t get any of that shampoo!

      1. Tina

        Hey stranger… you didn’t ask for a tasting of the Pow Wow lipscrub and you didn’t get any shampoo, because we didn’t have some with us on the way there, but if you come to Ljubljana again, i’ll make sure you get one, the shampoo i mean 🙂 Take care and enjoy Serbia. Greetings from ljubljana from your lovely copasssanger on the way Lj-ZG. 🙂
        P.s. if you are in Belgrade, on Skadarlija there is an 200 year old restaurant, that is amazing, it’s called Dva Jelena.

        1. Earl

          Hey Tina – Ok, fair enough, I did not ask for a tasting of the Pow Wow but I’m sure I would have asked if I didn’t get off the train in Zagreb! The best way to learn about something is to try it out for yourself 🙂

          And thank you for the recommendation of the restaurant in Belgrade. However, in the end, I loved Sarajevo so much that I only had 2 days to spend in Serbia and now I am in Romania already. But I guess I’ll need to come back to Serbia again at some point and of course combine that with another trip to Ljubljana!

  8. klas

    Ha ha, Earl. Absolutely hilarious. I am amazed that you actually remember all those brand names! Did you take notes or are you perhaps now actually a reseller yourself ? As always an enjoyable post, thanks.

    1. Earl

      Hey Klas – I only remembered those names because they were so absurd! And as soon as I arrived at my hostel in Zagreb I went online just to confirm I had the names right.

      And I’m not a reseller yet but I am certainly thinking about it 🙂

  9. Alice

    So…did you (find a Lush store in Croatia)? You can usually smell them for miles 😉 Needless to say, I sometimes love simply standing in one of the stores inhaling – until I get overwhelmed and have to GET OUT.

    This is surely one of the many stories you will remember and tell your grandchildren about, because they “once again reminded [you] why [you] enjoy traveling so much”.

    1. Earl

      Hey Alice – I did not find a Lush shop in Croatia unfortunately but whenever and wherever I do come across one, you can be sure I’ll pay a visit. Hopefully I won’t get addicted as you though and need to pay a visit in every town just to inhale a few breaths of Lush air 🙂

      1. Tomislav

        Too bad you didn’t find it.
        There is a Lush shop some 200 meters from the train station toward the center of the town.
        I wish you safe travels!

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