Leaving Zagreb was not a pleasant experience. Not because I was sad to leave but having to run off with my pack on the way to the train station to vomit in the botanic gardens is not one of my lifetime highlights. I had been up most of the night beforehand making good use of the hostel bathrooms. I will not be going near another cheese Burek in my lifetime! With my weak immune system from my recent sickness, I wasn’t a happy backpacker.
After a long wait at Zagreb train station for our train I gradually started to feel better. The train ride was a bit tedious as of course we were going back into the EU, which meant 2 passport checks on each side of the border and a customs check. However we managed to pass the time quite easily with a couple of games of last card. It took about an hour and a half to get to our first connection where we changed trains and had another hour and a half until we got to Maribor.
I have to admit it was nice to be in a small town again however it also meant that nothing was open so there would be no chance of a cheap supermarket dinner that night. I was very glad though as it was bloody freezing and all I wanted was some nice warm food.
Our hostel was about 20 minutes walk from the station. Uni Hostel is connected to Hotel Orel however it is used for student dorms during the semester. Our room was nice; 3 beds, TV, bath – by the way I got full use out of this. Bubble baths both nights!
We had a wander around the city in the late afternoon and also went and saw the one thing we went to Maribor for.
Along Vojasniska Street at number 8 you will find an old building with a grape vine winding its way up the front of the building. This vine is the oldest grape vine in the world according the Guinness Book of Records in 2004. The 400-year-old vine still bears fruit – the Zametovka or Blue Franconian grape, one of the oldest wine types in the country.
Inside the building you will find a museum, which is free to enter and aims to explain about the ‘Old Vine’ as it is called as well as teaching visitors about the wine culture of the Styrian region of Slovenia. Inside you will also find a vinotek with an extensive range of Styrian wines you can try on the premises or take home with you.
September is the annual grape harvest where the ‘Old Vine’ plays host to a festival in it’s own name and a certain amount of very special bottles of wine are made from the grapes picked from the vine. Approximately 100, 25cl bottles are produced each year, which the mayor of Maribor chooses who to gift them to.
So having already accomplished what we set out to see within the first few hours of arriving in Maribor we thought it was now time to get out of the cold and grab something warm to eat for dinner. We found what we thought was an authentic Mexican/Cuban restaurant for dinner however; buffalo chicken wings and a plateful of potato wedges later we weren’t too sure if that was true. However it was warm and that was all that mattered!
Our second day was pretty relaxed. I was up to watch the rugby live on the net at about 9:30am and by the time this finished we were off to get some breakfast. We got to the mall (only thing open in Maribor on a Sunday!) and with limited choices we ended up getting a McDonalds wrap for our combined lunch and breakfast. The mall was to close at 3pm so it had to be a pretty speedy trip. I popped into H&M to have a wee splurge on a beanie, gloves and tights as it was freezing!!!
We stopped by the supermarket, which was also to close at 3pm to grab some salads for dinner and buns and peanut butter for the 6-hour train ride the next day.