Churches galore and the Radovna Cycle Path

There are a lot of churches in Slovenia, over 3,000 of them. They can be found everywhere – in cities, towns, villages and even atop remote hills and mountains. I’m far from religious and certainly not an expert in sacral architecture, but I do like to stop at churches when passing by on a walk, to admire the frescoes, artwork and intricate interior fittings.

Radovljica and it’s surrounding villages (collectively known as Radol’ca) has 18 churches. One of the most known churches in Slovenia, a national sanctuary and the Slovene pilgrimage centre, is the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Brezje, just a few kilometres from Radovljica. Pilgrims flock here in their thousands from all over Slovenia and elsewhere in Europe on the main pilgrimage days, 24th May and 15th August. The church even has its own Pilgrimage Office (Romarski urad), for those requiring further information – Brezje 72, BrezjeTel:+3864/5370700 E:info@romar.si www.romar.si

Brezje

Last weekend I went for a walk to the village of Crngrob, near Škofja Loka, which is home to the pilgrimage church, dedicated to the Annunciation of Maria. The church, one of the most beautiful medieval churches in Slovenia, is adorned with frescoes and has gothic and baroque features. I began my walk from the centre of Škofja Loka and continued through Stara Loka passing by the villages of Papirnica and Pevno before arriving in Crngrob. A leaflet entitled ‘Path to Crngrob’ is available which has further detailed information about the walk and the sights of interest along the way.

Crngrob 2

On Sunday I did another long bike ride – though not as long or as far as last weekend’s epic adventure! This time it was on the bike path through the Radovna Valley. There are lots of great places to cycle in Slovenia but unfortunately, in this area at least, not a huge number of traffic-free dedicated cycle paths so the Radovna Cycle Path is among my favourite rides.

The Radovna Valley is between the Mežakla and Pokljuka plateaus and is part of Triglav National Park. Though I usually encounter a few cars along the 16km cycle path, they are fortunately fairly few and far between as the road is mostly unmade and best explored by bike. I certainly hope it remains this way as cars travelling along the road create a lot of dust which is most unpleasant for cyclists and besides, there are more than enough roads elsewhere, leave this path to us cyclists! Along the route there are a number of places to stop, information boards and sights of interest such as the Psnak Mill, the burnout ruins of Radovna and the Napoleon Stone. According to tradition, the Emperor Napoleon’s initials were carved into the stone when his army was said to have marched though the valley at the beginning of the 19th century. I cycled from home and made it a circular route by continuing to Mojstrana and back through Jesenice.

This year in September, Slovenia is hosting the Eurobasket Championships, and now with less than 100 days to go, the countdown has begun. Tickets for the final have already sold out but tickets are still available for other games. Matches will be held at four venues across Slovenia – Jesenice, Ljubljana, Celje and Koper – http://www.eurobasket2013.org/en/default.asp

There are a lot of events coming up in the forthcoming week in Radovljica and the surrounding areas. It will be dificult to choose which ones to go to but I will certainly be going to some of the ones on the list below:

Fri 21st & Sat 22nd June – Potato and Sausage Festival – Sports Park, Šencur

Fri 21st June – Concert by the Triglav Lesce Choir, Radovljica Mansion House (entry free) – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/

Sat 22nd June – 11am Presentation of the new Memorial Park and opening of a memorial dedicated to the writer Mimi Malenšek, with guest speaker, Borut Pahor (President of Slovenia) – Podbrezje Memorial Park. For more information contact daca.perne@gmail.com

Sat 22nd June –3pm  Literary Gathering with the writer Boris Pahor – Pircev dom, Podbrezje.

Saturday 22nd June – Škofja Loka, Festival of History – A range of events, workshops, presentations, performances, culinary fair and more. For the full programme see – http://www.historial-skofjaloka.si/home.aspx

23-30 June – Kekec Days in Kranjska Gora – A festival based on the childrens book character Kekec with events for all the family including creative workshops, sports, concerts, theatre shows and more –http://www.kranjska-gora.si/The-Kekec-festival

Sunday 23rd June – Midsummer Eve Bonfire at Kamen Castle, Begunje. This tradition medieval event is held annually to celebrate midsummer’s eve and includes childrens activities, traditional food, music and an accompanying cultural programme.

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