Radovljica, Škofja Loka and Ptuj are home to the three best-preserved medieval old town centres in Slovenia – and I am fortunate enough to live in one of them! Every year, on the first Sunday in August, Radovljica hosts a Medieval Day which celebrates its history and recreates some of its medieval crafts and traditions. When I visited at around 2pm I thought it seemed unusually quiet, no doubt due to the searing heat, but then I realised everyone was sitting in the shade with an ice-cream and/or cold beer in hand whilst the bulk of the visitors choose the early morning or evening hours to visit. The event attracts both visitors from Slovenia and tourists who come to watch the displays, browse the market stalls and buy handicrafts, taste the local food and enjoy the medieval atmosphere.
Apart from one short but destructive storm this week, the weather has been absolutely perfect again all week – no complaints here! But it was one hell of a storm. It was on Monday afternoon and only lasted about 30 minutes but in the short time it took to sweep through the country, it wreaked havoc and caused millions of euros worth of damage. On my balcony, 3 large plants pots and their contents were smashed to pieces but that’s insignificant compared to the damage others suffered with roofs being blown off, falling trees etc. Then followed the eerie calm after the storm and the next morning it was as if nothing had ever happened and back to the heatwave.
Needless to say I have once again been taking full advantage of the weather and have been busy hiking and cycling, interspersed with just a little work here and there! I try to always remember, though not always successfully, to take my camera with me these days so I can show where I’ve been and give readers of my blog some ideas and inspiration for those thinking of visiting Slovenia. This week however, I had a hard time choosing from all the pictures I’d taken!
Temperature records were being broken all over the country this past weekend including temperatures of 38.3 degrees in the capital Ljubljana and 39.4 in Novo Mesto. However, the overall highest ever recorded temperature of 40.6 degrees, recorded in 1950 in Črnomelj in the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia, hasn’t yet been exceeded. So with these high temperatures, I’ve been planning my hiking trips carefully, leaving early and where possible staying in the forest and the shade as much as possible.
On Monday I hiked up to Babji Zob (1128m). Babji zob, which means Hag’s Tooth, is an unusual tooth shaped rock formation at the far northwestern edge of the forested Jelovica plateau. There is also a cave under the rock, thought to be the second oldest cave in Slovenia which can, upon prior arrangement, be explored with a guide – more information can be found here – http://bledbohinjskabela.wix.com/b However, the walk up to the rock can be done at any time but it is rather steep in places so good footwear is a must and I’d also suggest using walking poles.
On Tuesdsay I visited the Martuljek waterfalls and was also fortunate to stumble across the Charcoal Makers Day being held there where a charcoal pit, as seen below, was being recreated.
There are two waterfalls, the lower and upper falls. The first waterfall can be reached in about 30 minutes from the parking area whilst the upper falls requires a further 1 hour walking from there. The falls are a very popular attraction and are reasonably easily accessed. However, good footwear is a must as the path rises steeply in places through the forest and then descends on a somewhat rocky and in places treacherous path – do not attempt it in sandals. The source of the Martuljek stream, which cascades in three stages down a 110 metre high cliff forms the Upper Martuljek waterfall. The stream follows its path through a 500 metre long ravine dropping again over the 50 metres high rock face as the Lower Martuljek waterfall.
On Wednesday I made another long trip, this time starting a little further on from the reservoir in Završnica and hiking up to the mountain hut Koča pri Izviru Završnice, onwards to the Zelenica Ski Centre, then towards Vrtača. I had been on a similar route during the winter but had somehow failed to notice how stunning the views across to Lake Bled were – perhaps because during the winter I am constantly worrying about falling through the snow covered scrub hence I’m unable to appreciate the views!
Incidentally, a new trim trail has recently been created which begins at the Završnica reservoir and leads pleasantly beside the Završnica stream, at all times in the shade so perfect for these hot days. There is also a new children’s play area and a new bar, making a trip to Završnica now a worthwhile destination in itself.
The hugely popular Radovljica Music Festival begins this week and runs from the 10th – 25th August. The annual festival of old music, now in its 31st year, attracts musicians and audiences from far and wide and is notable for the high standard of music on offer performed by top-notch musicians from around the world and in the magnicient setting of the Radovljica Mansion. More information can be found here –– http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica-festival/