(6 on the map)
The city of Celje (3rd-largest town in Slovenia) wasn’t originally on my itinerary, but I realized a few days prior that my train would go right through it on the way from Maribor to Ljubljana. It seemed an easy stop. I learned I could simply buy a train ticket to Ljubljana, get off in Celje, and have a ticket agent at the Celje station stamp my ticket, then get on a later train to Ljubljana. This is what I did, and then I left most of my bags in a locker at the train station (lockers near the ticket agents so it seemed very safe.).
The biggest attraction in Celje is probably the castle up on the hill above the town – the largest castle in Slovenia. It’s also a long 45 minute hike each way from the station – so I hailed a taxi. (It’s a tiny train station, more like a bus station – but taxis do come by.) The driver spoke no English, but I managed to point to the castle. The ride was only 3 Euro each way – very wroth it! I also managed to communicate to him to send another taxi back to get me in an hour.
The REAL attraction of the Celje Castle for me was the view down on the town: a great vantage point showing the town and the river and basically a 360 degree view around.
I had to wait for the clouds to move away from the sun to light up the town below, but with patience I got some good shots. The castle itself is probably interesting to the average tourist – but it was just a castle to me. Slovenia has many of them.
Back down in the old town of Celje, I grabbed a bag of McDonalds (since not much else was open), ate a quick burger and fry lunch, and toured the old city. Like Ptuj on Saturday, Celje on Sunday was another ghost town. But it is full of interesting buildings and churches.
Still, after an hour or two I had seen enough. To kill time before the next train on to Ljubljana, I took in a museum, the Museum of Recent History, which was…slightly interesting for a short diversion.
One potential train mishap: at the Celje train station, I got on a train headed toward Ljubljana, but I got on the wrong one! I was supposed to get on the faster train (arriving earlier). Realizing my mistake, I got off at the next connecting station and got on the correct train. The conductor still gave me a hard time because, I take it, my original ticket was for an inferior type of train (slower) compared to this one. I shrugged and played dumb tourist, and he let me go without much complaint.