The Noisy and Colourful London Lunar New Year Parade 2024

Squeals of delight from the kids as the dragons made a point of swooping and interacting with the crowd!

Happy New Year! It is the year of the dragon and London has once again hosted a colourful and festive Lunar New Year parade. What a fun parade with beautiful multicoloured floats, traditional costumes and dancing, a few lion dances and many, many dragons of all shapes and sizes. This year’s parade was better than last year’s and seemed much more well attended.

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Super Slovenia – Lovely Ljubljana and Lake Bled


Ljubljana was a wonderful, pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s the absence of any pre-conceived notions of what a place might be like! Perhaps it’s the drop in temperature from unbearably hot to just perfect. Or maybe it’s the little things that make for a good trip like free tap water in restaurants and free public toilets. It felt very safe and was very clean. In contrast to France and Italy, there was no dog poo on the side walk and no smell of pee around every corner. I never saw ay homeless people and instead, there was lots of very eager, young backpackers with very large backpacks and lots of people eating and drinking by the riverside.

We visited the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana and also the picturesque Lake Bled. Ljubljana is delightful. It’s historical buildings are incredibly clean and well kept and the pretty Ljubljanica River flows down the centre of it. The Austrian influence on Slovenia from centuries of being under the Habsburg rule was very apparent.

The Slovenes are very proud of their country and this is lovely to see. They take recycling very seriously and there is not a speck of rubbish on their streets. I saw a rubbish collector clearing out the public bins. He took out the bin liner and emptied the contents into his rubbish truck and then carefully replaced the same bin liner into the bin to avoid unwarranted waste! How unexpected!

There was a few summer storms before and during our visit. The one that happened before we arrived littered the streets with small branches and leaves from overhead trees. One afternoon, the wind picked up and quite heavy rain started. This only lasted for about 30 minutes. Most unfortunately, as a result of the rain prediction on the Friday we were visiting, the famous Open Kitchen was cancelled. I was so looking forwards to this collection of street food stalls run by famous restaurants in and around the city.

Despite there being a lot of tourists in Ljubljana when we visited, it wasn’t too overwhelming and the city was not over-run and had not lost it’s charms. There were plenty of locals enjoying their beautiful city as well.

One of the dragons on Dragon Bridge! The people of Ljubljana are crazy about dragons. It’s on their city flag!
City Hall, Ljubljana
Ljubljanica River runs right by the old town. Romantic, alfresco restaurants line the riverside filled with people drinking beer or aperol spritz. Boat tours go up and down this river. We even saw a stand-up paddle board tour group head slowly up the river.
Daily central market in Ljubljana. Not the biggest market. To the side of the market square are a few vending machines. Most notable are the ones dispensing eggs and unpasteurized, fresh cows milk.
University of Ljubljana
Monument to Slovene national poet France Prešeren in Preseren Square, Ljubljana
Prešeren Square – the centre of Ljubjlana. In August, it is full of tourists enjoying the atmosphere.
Tivoli Park, Ljubljana
View from Nebotičnik skyscraper. You can go up to the top of this building for a 360 view of Ljubljana. Technically you have to be a customer of the cafe on the top floor but we had no issue popping up there, taking a few photos and then leaving. Check out the hill with the Ljubljana Castle on the top.

If you are heading Slovenia, you would have surely seen the picturesque photos of Lake Bled. The town of Bled itself is reminiscent of Switzerland or alpine Austria. Lake Bled itself is the most gorgeous colour of blue-green. It makes for a beautiful vista set against a mountain backdrop. The 6km walk around the lake is mostly on a well paved path and is easy and stunningly beautiful. The lake from every angle looks like a postcard picture. Finish your exercise by eating some of the famous Bled Cream Cake (Kremsnita) and just take in the beauty of it all.

Mountains around Bled
Boats ready to row people across to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. These only leave when full so early patrons have to wait as the boatmen tout for more business from passerbys. Alternatives to being rowed across to the island is to hire a rowboat and row over yourself. The final option is to swim, which is possible as the distance is not that great!
Lake Bled – you can do the 6km walk around it. It is picturesque from every angle
Lake Bled peeking through the trees
Bled Cream Cake (kremšnita) is a famous specialty of Bled. It is basically a slightly more upmarket Aussie vanilla slice.